When should I start looking for child care?
Start looking for child care before you need it. We often have waiting lists for our programs so visit as early as possible. We accept appointments for visits but they’re not required. In fact, we don’t mind if you stop by unannounced…
What type of licensing & accreditation do you have?
Children’s Discovery is licensed by the state of MN. We’re accredited by NAEYC, a very reliable sign of a reputable center. We have a four-star (highest possible) Parent Aware rating. Parent Aware helps parents find quality programs using practices that best prepare children for kindergarten.
We’ve also been voted best day care (multiple times!) by local community organizations and we’ve been named Business of the Year by the Vadnais Heights Economic Development Corporation.
How long have you been in business?
Children’s Discovery has been educating & caring for young children since 1981.
Do you have any references?
Twice a year, we ask our current parents to submit reviews about the care we provide for their children. You can read CDA parent reviews here.
Does the director have a degree in a child-related field & has worked in child care for at least two years?
Julie is our Little Canada Director. She graduated from St. Paul College with her degree in Early Childhood Development. Julie has been working with Children’s Discovery Academy since 1998.
Andrea is our Vadnais Heights/White Bear Lake Director. She graduated from St. Paul College with her A.A.S. degree in Early Childhood Development and from Concordia University with her B.A. in Early Childhood Development . Andrea has been working with Children’s Discovery Academy since 2000.
What is the center’s licensed capacity?
We are licensed for 134 students at our Vadnais Heights location & 124 students at our Little Canada location.
How do I enroll my child?
We encourage you (and your child) to visit the Center before registering. During your visit, we’ll provide you with all materials necessary to enroll your child. You can also print enrollment forms here.
What are your hours?
We’re open Monday through Friday, from 6:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Are you ever closed?
Our school is closed only for the following holidays: New Years Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day & Christmas Day. Full tuition is charged for these days. In the event the holiday falls on a weekend, we will be closed on the closest weekday.
Do you ever close early?
We close early at 3:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve.
Are there late pick up fees?
The Center closes at 6:00 p.m. A late fee of $25.00 will be assessed for every 15 minute period or fraction thereof that a child is left beyond closing time. This charge is payable immediately & serves as a direct remuneration for employees working overtime.
Do I pay if my child is sick or we’re on vacation?
Absences of 60% or more of a child’s regularly scheduled weekly reservation qualifies for a one half reduction applied to the time not used.* For example, if you have reserved five full days per week & are absent three days (60% of five) or more, you will receive half of your money back for the absent days.
*Infant Program: Due to the licensing regulations of staffing in our Infant Program, WE CANNOT GIVE REFUNDS FOR THE DAYS YOUR CHILD IS ABSENT. THERE WILL BE NO MAKE UP DAYS FOR INFANTS DUE TO ILLNESS OR HOLIDAYS.
What is the weekly cost?
We’re happy to email our rates to you. Click here for our rates.
Do you supply diapers and wipes?
Parents are responsible for providing diapers & wipes for their child.
Do you provide meals & snacks?
Yes! In fact, we maintain a commercial kitchen & an on-site cook so we can prepare & serve nutritious, home-cooked meals & snacks for children. Our weekly menus are posted on our website and outside the kitchen.
What other things will I need to supply for my child?
Depending on your child’s age, you may need to bring in different items. Infants will require formula or breast milk until eating table foods. All children should have extra sets of clothes to keep at the Center. Older children will require a nap blanket & pillow and outdoor gear for the playground (jacket, hat, mittens, snow pants, boots, sunscreen, etc.)
Do you welcome parent involvement? Can I stop by unannounced?
The answer to both is a resounding, “YES!” Our school is a community that embraces the whole family. We host events throughout the year, including picnics and performances, to encourage families to be involved in their child’s experience. And if you’d like to get an inside look at your child at play or in the classroom, you can stop by anytime.
How do you communicate with parents?
Parents receive an electronic daily report that documents feedings, naps, other important notes, & photos of your child.
Twice a year we offer conferences to parents to discuss their child’s progress.
We provide a weekly newsletter to share learning lessons, news, & event information.
We encourage you to speak daily with your child’s teacher during pick up or drop off. You’re always welcome to call or email your child’s teacher, too.
What is your children-to-teacher ratio?
Are children of different ages grouped together?
No. For the safety & comfort of your child, we group children according to their age in individual classrooms. In this way, we can guarantee age-appropriate activities & play.
On average, how long have your teachers been teaching?
We take education seriously, so we employ only experienced educators. Our teachers & administrative staff have a combined total of 227+ years of experience in education & child care.
Do you have a high teacher turnover rate?
No. Our teacher turnover rate is very low. We create a positive environment not only for our children but also for our teachers. We currently have multiple teachers who have been employed with us for 10 and 20+ years!
How many staff members are CPR & first aid certified?
We require all of our staff to maintain a current certification in pediatric CPR & first aid. We also train all of our staff in the areas of Sudden Unexplained Infant Death, Abusive Head Trauma, Allergies, & Blood Bourne Pathogens.
Do you perform background checks?
We submit background checks on all employees working for Children’s Discovery Academy.
How often do you clean the rooms & toys?
All of our facilities (including toys) are cleaned at least once a day. The changing tables are disinfected after each diaper change & classroom tables are disinfected before & after each meal.
How large is your playground?
We have two spacious, well-equipped playgrounds, one for toddlers & one for preschool students, so children are only exposed to age-appropriate activities & equipment. The entire play yard is fenced-in for security.
Will my child have any screen time at the Center?
We do not have televisions in any of our classrooms. iPads are used for educational purposes & screen time is limited.
What type of curriculum do you use?
At Children’s Discovery Academy, we celebrate the fact that we do not teach from a boxed curriculum but instead employ caring, qualified educators to write a curriculum which meets all of the Early Childhood Indicators of Progress. This way, we can ensure we are meeting the individual needs of your child. Our daily schedule is structured, academically focused and fun! Weekly lessons and activities focus on a curriculum rich in exploration, structured and unstructured play, active and physical play, music and movement, quiet activities, intellectual development, reading, math, science, art, sensory, dramatic play & imaginative play.
How do you discipline children?
Our teachers are dedicated to searching out the positive aspects of all children. If a problem develops in a particular situation, we will continue to search out positive, clear, consistent, and fair methods to bring the child back to appropriate behavior. Personal relations that develop between teacher & child will normally lead to positive actions. If the child’s behavior remains disruptive, the child may be removed from the class activity for a brief period. If our teachers cannot resolve the situation along with the help of the parent and outside resources, we may recommend that the parent find alternate care for the child. Children are never physically or mentally abused by any member of our staff within the Center.
Must children be immunized to attend the Center?
When a child is enrolled in the Center, we must obtain documentation of current immunizations or a medical exemption. Children’s Discovery Academy does not enroll children who are not vaccinated because of a conscientious exemption. If a vaccine-preventable illness from the current required child vaccine schedule (AAP) occurs in our program, children who are under-immunized against that particular illness will be excluded from care until the Minnesota Department of Health advises attendance can resume.
What is your sick policy?
Knowing when a child is too ill to be at Children’s Discovery Academy, or needs to be removed, has always been a challenging part of our job. We all want to keep as much illness out of Children’s Discovery as possible but also respect a parent’s need to be at work. We met with a local pediatrician to set up specific guidelines we all can follow concerning illness. Click here to review our medical and illness policies.
If a child needs to be removed from our care, we will first call the parents to pick up their child. If parents are unavailable, we will contact emergency contacts assigned by the parents.
Do caregivers wash their hands after changing diapers and before feeding the children?
Our staff are required to wash their hands with soap and water after changing a child’s diaper, after using toilet facilities, and before handling food or eating.
Are children taught/required to wash their hands after using the potty?
Each child’s hands will be washed with soap and water after a diaper change, after use of a toilet or toilet training chair, & before eating a meal or snack. Staff monitor hand washing and assist a child who needs help. The use of a common basin or a hand sink filled with standing water is prohibited.
How often are the toys cleaned and replaced?
Toys and equipment that are likely to be mouthed by infants & toddlers are made of materials that can be disinfected when mouthed or soiled and are disinfected at least daily. Toys are replaced when they are no longer in good repair.
Are indoor and outdoor play areas childproofed and escape-proof?
We have two spacious, well-equipped playgrounds, one for toddlers & one for preschool & school-age students, so children are only exposed to age-appropriate activities & equipment. The entire play yard is fenced in for security.
How often is your play equipment inspected?
We inspect our play equipment monthly to ensure your child’s safety.
Are the children ever left unattended?
Children are never left unattended in our care. We are careful to make sure all children are within sight and sound at all times.
Do you have a sign-in & sign-out procedure? Are the doors secure so strangers can’t just walk in?
Parents are required to check their children in and out each day. The only way a child can be checked in or out is with their parent’s fingerprint. Teachers also record attendance in the classroom. The doors are always locked so unauthorized strangers cannot enter & security cameras record everyone entering and exiting the building.
What if someone other than my spouse/partner or me has to pick up my child?
In order to protect your child, we require that you provide the names of any individual who has permission to pick up your child. We require advance notice from you when someone other than a parent will be picking up your child & will check identification. If we have any questions or concerns, we ask that you are available via cell phone to provide confirmation.
Do you have procedures for handling fires, tornadoes, & other emergencies? Are the staff well trained for these situations?
We perform monthly fire drills and lock-down drills. Tornado drills are practiced April-October, & teachers are well-trained for other emergencies annually. You will find evacuation plans hanging throughout the building in case of an emergency.
How do you keep track of all the children?
Not only do we count the children but we do a face-to-name count when we leave a location and when we arrive.
Do you provide breakfast, lunch, and/or snack?
Yes! In fact, we maintain a commercial kitchen & an on-site cook so we can prepare & serve nutritious, home-cooked meals & snacks for children. Our weekly menus are posted on our website.
Do you have a refrigerator for storing bottles of breast milk or formula?
A refrigerator is available in our infant classroom for storing breast milk & formula.
Do you feed babies on demand or on a schedule?
You will let our infant teacher know what to feed, how to feed, & when to feed your baby. Whether your baby is fed on demand or on a schedule, we can accommodate your requests.
What is the nap schedule?
Infants are on a parent-directed nap schedule. Toddlers and preschool students are offered a nap daily after lunch for 2 hours.
Where do the children sleep?
Babies sleep in a quiet nap room separated from active babies. Your baby will have a restful sleep in our softly lit nap room filled with gentle lullabies. The room is monitored continuously. Your baby will have his/her own designated crib and fitted sheet provided by us. To add the comfort of home, you are welcome to bring in your baby’s pacifier & sleep sack for use during nap times.
Older children sleep on cots in their classroom. They are welcome to have a sheet, blanket, pillow, & stuffed animal during nap time.
Do you place babies on their back to sleep and follow other safe sleeping practices to reduce the risk of SUIDS?
Yes, babies are always put to sleep on their backs. All staff are trained on practices to reduce the risk of SUIDS annually.
What makes you different from other area centers?
We are LOCALLY owned, with the owners working on-site! We have the flexibility to change our classrooms & curriculum to meet the individual needs of the children in our care. Also, we have a fantastic long-term staff!
How are you different than just taking my child to a babysitter or nanny?
We are teachers & educators. Your child will be in an educational classroom setting with convenient hours for working parents.
How can I come in for a tour?
Why is it important to invest in a quality early childhood program for your child?
Statistics show that a good early childhood education sets the foundation for academic success in the elementary years. Children’s Discovery is a wonderful investment in your child’s future!
What if I am not happy after my child is attending?
We understand that you might change your mind. We’ve built our reputation on happy families & one way we do that is by offering a complete refund if you or your child is not satisfied within one month of attending Children’s Discovery Academy. We believe that any child care center or preschool should be willing to offer this same guarantee!