Frequently Asked Questions – Preschool & Child Care | Kidango

FAQs

Preschool & Infant/Toddler Care

Q. How many early learning centers do you have?
A. We have more than 50 child care centers across the East Bay, in Alameda, Contra Costa and Santa Clara counties.

Q. How can I find the nearest preschool center to me?
A. Visit our ‘Find a Center’ page and search using our map, or use the filters to search by center name, ZIP code and program type.

Q. How much do your programs cost?
A. Preschool and infant/toddler care programs are provided for free or at a reduced rate to income-eligible families.

Q. What is the classroom size and teacher to student ratio?
A. Our preschool classrooms have an average of 24 children, with a 1:8 teacher to student ratio. The ratio is 1:3 in our infant program, and 1:4 in our toddler programs.

Q. Do you offer full-day programs?
A. Our preschools offer part-day and full-day programs, depending on the center. All of our infant/toddler care programs are full-day.

Q. Are meals included? Do they cost extra?
A. All half and full-day programs include healthy meals and snacks at no extra cost. Infant/toddler care programs include healthy formula and baby food at no extra cost.

Q. Why should my child attend preschool?
A. Numerous studies have reported the positive impacts of preschool. A 2017 report by a pre-K task force found that all children benefit, with disadvantaged children making the most gains, and that dual-language learners also saw large benefits from attending preschool. In addition to the educational elements, preschool plays a vital role in the social and emotional development of a child, helping to ensure kindergarten readiness.

Q. Why should my child go to Kidango?
A. We are the Bay Area’s largest provider of preschool, with four decades of experience and a highly-skilled and passionate staff. Our holistic approach to child development means we take into account the needs and wants of every individual child, creating a fun, safe and educational environment. We’re proud to serve in our community and love to watch each child learn and grow!

Enrollment

Q. How can I enroll my child/children?
A. Our enrollment season is from April to August. During this time, visit our enrollment page and follow the five steps. They are:

  1. Complete our online enrollment request
  2. Find an enrollment event close to you
  3. Fill out the required forms in advance
  4. Use our checklist to make sure you have everything you’ll need
  5. Attend an enrollment event

If you complete an online enrollment request from September to March, we’ll contact you if we have an immediate opening to schedule an in-person appointment.

Q. Where can I find an enrollment event near me?
A. We host enrollment events from April – August. Check our calendar for a list of upcoming enrollment events, and other special community events.

Q. What forms do I need for enrollment?
A. Forms we require include health and dietary forms. Find the full list here.

Q. How long does an enrollment event take?
A. Wait time can take upwards of one hour. You can fill out forms while you wait, and use the checklist to make sure you have everything you need. We cannot complete enrollment if a required document is missing.

Q. How do you decide which children to enroll?
A. Children are enrolled on a first-come, first-served basis. If there is no space in your preferred program/center, we will add your child to the waiting list.

Q. Where can I get additional help with enrollment?
A. Please call 855-757-5437. Our hours of operation are 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday. If you contact us on a holiday, we’ll respond on the next work day.

Curriculum

Q. What does Kidango teach?
A. Our creative curriculum focuses on early language, literacy and math. We also use SEEDS of learning, a relationship-based professional development program that provides educators, parents and caregivers with strategies to build social, emotional, language and literacy skills in young children.

Q. What is Head Start?
A. Head Start is a program of the United States Department of Health and Human Services that provides comprehensive early childhood education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services to low-income children and their families.

Q. What services are included in Head Start?
A. Services include vision and dental screenings, nutrition assessments, growth assessments, and family workshops.

Q. How does a child qualify for Head Start?
A. Please call 510-897-6932 for information on qualification guidelines.

Q. What is early intervention?
A. Our early intervention services provide for the special needs of infants and toddlers ages birth to three years with developmental delays, while also providing support to families. Our expert team of infant development specialists spend time with each child individually to identify the unique needs of every infant and toddler served. Services are available at the family’s home and/or integrated into the classroom at selected Kidango centers.

Q. What is the cost of early intervention services?
A. Services are free.

Q. How does a child qualify for early intervention?
A. Children must be referred by Regional Centers. Click here for information on the Regional Center in your county, as well as what to expect regarding the referral process.

Q. Where can I get more information about early intervention?
A. To learn more about our early intervention services, please contact Mashall Hamidi at mhamidi@kidango.org.

Q. What is behavioral health?
A. Effective behavioral health programs have reverberating impacts throughout the community. When a single child’s needs are met, classrooms become a more productive learning space for all children. When parents are given the tools they need, the home environment becomes more harmonious for the entire family.

Our highly skilled behavioral health specialists are able to identify and diagnose children at the most crucial time in their development. Our holistic approach provides in-home visitations, trainings with parent/caregivers and teachers, parent-child therapy, developmental screenings and assessment services, and behavioral intervention. We also offer support services for teachers and families.

Q. What are indicators that a child needs behavioral health services?
A. Indicators include:

  • Having trouble getting along with his or her peers
  • Experiencing challenges separating from parents or other adults
  • Hurting himself or herself
  • Hurting others
  • Feeling afraid easily

Q. What is the cost of behavioral health services?
A. Services are free.

Q. How does a child qualify for behavioral health services?
A. Children must be referred by the county in which they are seeking services. For more information on qualifying criteria and county contact information, click here.

Nutrition

Q. Are meals included in your programs? Do they cost extra?
A. All half and full-day programs include healthy meals and snacks at no extra cost. Infant/toddler care programs include healthy formula and baby food at no extra cost.

Q. How many meals do you serve?
A. Children in full-day programs receive three breakfast, lunch and snacks. Children in part-day programs receive breakfast or lunch, plus a snack.

Q. What food do you serve?
A. We utilize locally sourced produce, flash-frozen vegetables, and simple homemade recipes with whole foods. We never add salt or sugar to our recipes, and don’t serve any fried foods.

Q. Do you cater for dietary restrictions and food allergies?
A. Yes. We serve vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options, and cater for any food allergies.

Q. How are meals served?
A. All meals at Kidango are served family-style with children and teachers seated together around one table. Students play a role in setting the table, passing dishes, serving others, and pouring drinks. Conversation is practiced by everyone, and teachers lead discussion on various foods’ texture, color, size shape, and aroma. By partaking in daily meals around a table, children learn lifelong social skills and are encouraged to utilize their table etiquette during mealtime in their own homes.

Q. Who makes and delivers food?
A. We prepare food in-house at our state-of-the-art kitchen, which gives us flexibility and creativity in our menu. Meals are delivered every day by our Kidango Nutrition Fleet to all Kidango centers. We also prepare and deliver vended meals to local partners.

Q. Does your kitchen adhere to state guidelines?
A. Our Kitchen is licensed through the Alameda County Health Department and Environmental Health. All staff hold ServSafe Manager Certifications and California Food Handler permits. USDA food safety guidelines are strictly adhered to.

Research & Advocacy

Q. What do you research?
A. We study the impact of various programs, such as SEEDS, and measure different indicators of kindergarten readiness. See some of our research here.

Q. Why do you conduct research?
A. The insights we gain from our research help us adapt our programs and ensure that we are providing the best possible services to children and their families. We also share our research with other organizations so they can adapt if necessary.

Q. What do you advocate for?
A. We advocate for policies that will positively impact young children across California. In 2017 we successfully passed legislation in California that introduced a strict protocol for preschools to follow before they could expel a child. In 2018 we sponsored a bill that increased funding for preschools to hire early childhood mental health consultants. Find out more about our advocacy here.

Q. How do you advocate?
A. We sponsor legislation with lawmakers who share our passion for early childhood education. Throughout the process of a bill, we engage with politicians, policymakers, parents and advocates to keep our bill front-of-mind.

Q. What regions do you advocate in?
A. We primarily focus on policies at the state level; we hope that some of our policies will be replicated in other states.

Q. Can I get involved in advocacy?
A. Yes! Join our growing group of advocates by emailing advocacy@kidango.org. We’ll keep you updated with all of our advocacy efforts and will call on you from time-to-time when we need your voice.

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