1) How does the waitlist work? How long is it?
We are currently enrolling in several of our classrooms, please call to find out about specific openings! However, if a classroom is fully enrolled we maintain a list of families who have submitted an application. Families give us some basic information including their contact information, age of their child, the date they would like to enroll, and their anticipated tuition tier. We also request a $40 Enrollment Fee (it may be waived due to financial hardship) per family to help cover administrative costs associated with the enrollment process. When accepted into our program, the Enrollment Fee is applied to your first month’s tuition cost. We contact families on the wait list as spaces become available. If the opening is a good fit for the family, we begin the enrollment process. If the family asks us to do so, we keep them on our list for future openings.
Currently enrolled children and siblings of currently enrolled children have priority status when it comes to enrollment openings. Before we look at the waitlist for candidates for our openings, we offer days to our current families to ensure all of our currently enrolled families are satisfied with their schedules.
The length of the list varies with the age group. Typically it is more difficult to find enrollment spots for younger children due to limited programming for infants and toddlers.
2) Do you accept DHS?
Yes, we happily accept DHS payments. We ask that all families pay the co-payment as outlined by their case worker; based on the availability of financial aid, families do not typically pay any additional tuition beyond their co-payment.
3) If I start my child part-time, would I be able to add more days as they get older?
We do our best to accommodate our part-time families as spots open. If you are interested in adding a day or two, please let us know and we will certainly enroll your child for more days as they become available.
4) What are your group sizes, and ratios of adults to children?
Our ratios and class sizes depend on the age of the children in each classroom:
- Younger Infants (Ages 6 weeks – 12 Months): Capacity: 6; child-to-teacher ratio: 3:1
- Older Infants (Ages 12-24 Months): Capacity: 8; child-to-teacher ratio: 4:1
- Toddlers (Ages 24 – 36 Months): Capacity: 10; child-to-teacher ratio: 5:1
- Preschoolers (Ages 3 – 5 Years); Capacity: 16-18; child-to-teacher ratio: 8:1 or 9:1
5) Does Wild Lilac follow a certain curriculum?
Current research demonstrates that children learn best through play and exploration in supportive and engaging environments. We provide hands-on, social experiences to explore, build, create and experiment together each day. At Wild Lilac, curriculum is emergent, which means that teachers plan experiences and activities for their classrooms based on the themes of interest that emerge from the children’s play. Wild Lilac teachers use a project approach in planning curriculum. In working collaboratively on projects that relate to what they are most curious about, children develop foundational academic skills in relevant contexts in order to best support their cognitive, physical and social-emotional development.
6) Wild Lilac calls itself an “inclusive preschool,” but what does that mean?
We have the same hopes and goals for all of our children – those with or without special needs – and their families:
- a sense of belonging and membership,
- positive social relationships and friendships,
- development and learning to reach their full potential.
At Wild Lilac, we follow the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. We do not exclude a child and/or family based on special needs, unless the modifications necessary would fundamentally alter the nature of our services. We collaborate with Multnomah Early Childhood Program to create individualized plans to best support children with special needs in our classrooms. Research supports our belief that inclusive classrooms optimally support both children with special needs and typically developing children by offering group environments where all children’s unique abilities, paces, strengths and challenges are accommodated and honored. To review the joint position statement on Inclusion by the Division for Early Childhood (DEC) and the National Association for the Education for Young Children (NAEYC), please view their Inclusion Position Statement online.
7) What do you do about biting/hitting/aggression? What is your discipline policy?
At Wild Lilac, it is our goal to support children’s emerging self-regulation, self-esteem, and respect for others. We focus on acknowledging children’s positive behaviors in order to encourage self-confidence, collaboration, and problem solving. Teachers communicate developmentally appropriate classroom expectations and set clear, fair and consistent limits for children’s behavior. Wild Lilac teachers model respect by treating children with gentleness, positive regard and consistency at all times. Under no circumstances do Wild Lilac teachers use intimidation, threats or shame as guidance strategies. We invite you to read more about our Guidance Policy; supporting children’s social-emotional development is a cornerstone of our approach to early childhood education.
8) Do you accept children in diapers in all of your classrooms? How do you address potty training? Do you begin potty training at a specific age or do you wait until a child is ready?
We accept children in diapers in all of our classrooms. We believe that children reach the developmental milestone of toilet-readiness differently depending on their unique development. At Wild Lilac, teachers see and support signs of toilet-readiness as they develop. We trust the children to be in control of their own bodies in the transition between using diapers and using the toilet. To learn more about the diaper to toilet transition at Wild Lilac, please see our toilet transition guide.
9) Do you prepare meals and snacks for the children or do we bring our own? If you make the food, can you accommodate a special diet?
Wild Lilac has a wonderful kitchen and garden that supports our food program. We provide the children with healthy, vegetarian food to honor their growing bodies. The children have many opportunities to help grow and make the food they eat. We find the experience of helping with planting, tending, and harvesting from the garden –as well as helping to bake or cook–creates a connection to food that supports their health, nutrition, and understanding of the natural world. When possible, we buy locally grown produce to support local growers and reduce the environmental impacts associated with transporting food. We also eat seasonally to honor the relationship between the rhythm of our bodies and the rhythm of the natural world.
If children have special diets for any reason – allergies, family preferences, religious beliefs, etc. – we may ask families to provide food items needed to substitute for our regular menu items. In many cases, the kitchen staff can work with families whose children have common dietary restrictions (such as dairy or wheat allergies) by making some simple substitutions to fit the child’s needs.
We are a nut-free program and we ask that families do not bring foods with nut ingredients into our school.
10) Are children required to arrive at school right when school opens?
While each classroom has its own Daily Rhythm, children typically arrive between 8:30 and 9:00 am. After the open transition to the day, classrooms often begin with whole group time–a story circle, a morning meeting, or breakfast–which is essential in building classroom communities. That said, we do value easy, not-rushed mornings so if you have the luxury of not needing to race out the door, by all means, take it, and we’ll see you when you arrive.
11) Do you offer aftercare later than 5:30 pm?
Unfortunately, we do not offer aftercare after 5:30 pm, except for specific parent events as noted on our calendar.
12) Would it be okay to stay with my child for a while as they transition to staying at school alone? What do you recommend/allow in the way of helping children feel comfortable in this new environment?
Parents are always welcome to come spend time with their child at school whenever they want. Each child transitions differently and parents are the experts about their own children so we really value parents’ perspectives on how to best integrate their children into our environment. For more information about transitioning your child into Wild Lilac please see our transition guide.
13 Does Wild Lilac have any pets?
Yes, Wild Lilac has three fish that live in a big aquarium in our front entryway named Mango, Goldie, and Veronica. We also have three chickens–Pikachu, Shiba, and Jenny–who live in our garden. In our natural science studio, children will discover hermit crabs, snails, walking sticks, gerbils, a bearded dragon, a tarantula, an axolotl, giant cockroaches and more amazing creatures all the time!
14) Can I be reimbursed or pay less when my child is absent or on vacation?
In order to develop a stable budget with which to pay our teachers and operate our program, we must charge parents for care whether or not their child attends each and every day. However, we do have a “make-up day” policy that allows children to schedule make-up days for any days they miss due to illness or vacation.
15) What are your current immunization rates?