If you wish to enroll your child in either program, you can download an application form or you can call one of the centers to request one. Please return the completed application form to the address listed below. A waiting list is maintained for the Bennett Family Center and the Child Care Center at Hort Woods.
Requests for enrollment are processed on an age-eligibility and date-of-application basis with the following priorities:
- Families already affiliated with the centers
- Families from the University community (faculty members, staff members, students)
- Families from the wider community
We also attempt to achieve an age and gender balance in each classroom. Enrollment requests that cannot be honored immediately will be kept on a waiting list.
It is the responsibility of the applicant to assure that all application information is kept current.
When we can offer you an appropriate space for your child, a tour of the facility will be arranged. Please feel free to call 814-863-0267 with any questions you may have regarding the Childcare Center at Hort Woods and 814-865-4057 with questions regarding the Bennett Family Center.
Please return completed form to:
Interim Director, Bennett Family Center
123 Bennett Family Center
University Park, PA 16802
Director, Hort Woods
Child Care Center at Hort Woods
101 Corner of Allen Road & Park Avenue
University Park, PA 16802
Getting Placed on the Waiting List
A waiting list is maintained for both programs. Parents/guardians wishing to enroll their child/children in either the Bennett Family Center or The CCC at Hort Woods complete an application and return it to the address on the form. Enrollment requests which cannot be honored immediately are kept on a waiting list. It is the responsibility of the applicant to assure that all application information is kept current.
When we receive a completed application we stamp it with the date received and enter the information in our waiting list database. Applications are entered using date the application is received with the following priorities:
- Families already affiliated with the centers (e.g., family of a child already enrolled, staff employed at the centers) and families of children with special needs*
- Families from the University community (faculty, staff, and students with no distinction made among the three)
- Families from the wider community
We also attempt to achieve an age and gender balance in each classroom.
The wait for enrollment can be long, particularly for infants and toddlers, therefore, we strongly recommend that parents/guardians move forward with other arrangements while they wait for a space in our programs.
*Each classroom has a maximum of 25% of children who have identified special needs. Children with special needs are defined as those who have a professional diagnosis and a current IEP (Individualized Education Program) or IFSP (Individualized Family Services Program). If this 25% threshold has not been met, children with special needs are given priority. We offer this priority because of our commitment to inclusive early childhood education, an important aspect of being model early childhood programs.
How We Utilize the Waiting List
When a space becomes available in one of the centers, our Assistant Director(s) identifies the best fit for programs with the following information:
- Age of child needed (e.g., infant, young toddler, older toddler, preschooler).
- Preferred gender if there is a substantial gender imbalance in the classroom.
- Balance the number of families within levels of the sliding fee scale
The Enrollment Coordinator use the database search tools to automatically select the next child who meets the selection criteria utilizing the priorities listed above. Because we use a database we are able to easily sort applications by age of child and date of application. An administrative team member then contacts families, starting with the one with highest priority, to offer the space.
Staying on the Waiting List
Families can remain on the waiting list until such time as a space becomes available for them. If a family is offered a space in the program(s) to which they have applied and declines, their name can remain on the list if requested. Each year we contact all families on the waiting list to determine if they will remain active on our list. It is the parent/guardian’s responsibility to provide any updates/changes to the information on the waiting list (address, phone, etc.).
Why Does it Take So Long to Get In to the Programs?
The Penn State community is a large one with a large number of families with young children who need child care. There are approximately 45,000 students and 13,000 employees at the University Park campus, but only about 335 spaces in the combined programs. While not all students and employees have children 0-5 years old, the size of our waiting list suggests that the number is much higher than the number of spaces we have available.
Why We Can’t Tell You Exactly Where You Stand on the Waiting List
Many parents want to know exactly what number they are on our waiting list. We do not provide a number because it has very limited meaning.
Family circumstances sometimes change making it such that they are no longer waiting to get into our programs. However, parents seldom notify us of these changes. As a result, we never know exactly who is active on our lists. An available space in the program may be filled by the first name on the list, or we may call many families before finding one still interested in the space. Changes
Changes in family circumstances may include:
- A family made other child care arrangements with which they are satisfied.
- A family moved from the area.
- The employment or student status of a family changed making it such that they no longer need child care.
The number of families with first priority can change. Families already affiliated with the programs may get a child into the programs ahead of someone who applies earlier because of their “in-house” priority. For example, children of Center staff may receive priority over a family who may have applied earlier. The same is true for parents of a child already enrolled in the program who wish to enroll a second child in the program, and for families returning from a leave of absence from the programs. This shifting priority happens mainly for the youngest age groups since pregnancies and adoptions can be unpredictable and parents may wait to notify us of the addition to their families. Many of these “priority” families still have to wait to get their children into the programs.
Children keep getting older. Because children get older, the age composition of children in the program is constantly changing. In addition, we have different numbers of spaces for children of different ages (more spaces as children get older). This means that the ages of children we need to fill our programs in an age-balanced way are constantly changing as well.
We expect parents to take the time to visit, observe and ask questions before making a decision on enrollment. We also encourage a visiting period for your child. When you decide to enroll your child in one of the Penn State Childcare Programs, we suggest that you arrange to transition your child into the center with some short visits.
Please inform the center staff if you require assistance translating forms, contracts, policies or procedures.
The following forms are necessary to complete your child’s file at the Centers. Some forms will be provided ahead of time while others will be completed at the intake meeting. Failure to provide this information, including timely updates, may result in termination of care.
Children’s records must contain the following information:
- Health Appraisal - your child must have an appointment for a health appraisal within 30 days of enrollment. The parent is responsible for keeping the child’s immunizations and screenings up to date.
- Application - we should have this on file from your original date of application.
- Consent Form (Research, Field Trip, Photograph/video, topical creams/sunscreen)
- Fee Agreement Form
- Emergency Contact Form - you must supply the Children’s Programs with emergency contacts for your child. Parents are the first contact in the event of any emergency, but you are required to provide two additional contact persons with phone numbers and addresses, in the event that you cannot be reached.
- Developmental History - This form takes time and thought but is very helpful to our staff in helping to acquaint us with your family and particularly your child.
- Health Consent - This form indicates that you are aware of our medication dispensing guidelines.
- CACFP Form – In order for the Children’s Programs to participate in the CACFP (Child and Adult Care Food Program, U.S. Department of Agriculture) we must have completed forms from all families.
- ListServ Form – Assists in collection of data for our database files.
- Family Directory Form – Assists in collection of data for our database files
- Demographics Form – Assists in collection of data for our database files to better inform possible research.