Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to be an Oxy employee to enroll my child?

No. Children of Oxy employees get priority for enrollment, and then all remaining spots are filled by children in families from the wider Community. We average about half Oxy employee children and half Community children.

Is there a part-time enrollment option? Is there any flexibility in the hours of attendance?

All children attend on a 5 full days per week enrollment plan. However, parents have flexibility regarding when they drop-off and pick up their child. Parents are welcome to drop their child off any time between 8:00 – 9:00 a.m. Children may be picked up any time throughout the afternoon, up to 5:30 p.m. Families are, of course, welcomed to keep their child home for a family day any time they wish.

Is it a year-round program?

Our program is open 12 months per year. We close for two weeks in the winter and one week in the summer. We close for several Holiday days per year, as well as 2 days per year for Parent-Teacher Conferences and 1 day per year for Staff Professional Development.

What are the ratios of students to teachers?

Hungry Caterpillars (2-3 yr olds) – 12 children with 2 Lead Teachers (1:6)

Busy Bees (3-4 yr olds) – class size varies from 15 with 2 Lead Teachers (1:7.5) up to 18 children with 2 Lead Teachers and an Associate Teacher (1:6)

Terrific Tigers (4-5 yr olds) – class size varied from 15 with 2 Lead Teachers (1:7.5) up to 18 children with 2 Lead Teachers and an Associate Teacher (1:6)

We also have a full-time Floater Teacher and several part-time Assistant Teachers who help in all groups, as needed.

What are the teachers’ qualifications?

“Lead Teachers” are required to have completed a minimum of 24 units in Child Development/Early Childhood Education and to have, at least, 2 years of classroom teaching experience. Many of our Lead Teachers have acquired an AA, BA or MA in Child Development/Early Childhood Education or a related field.

Teachers at the “Associate Teacher” level are required to have completed a minimum of 18 units in Child Development/Early Childhood Education and to have, at least, 1 year of classroom teaching experience. Some Teachers have acquired an AA or BA in Child Development/Early Childhood Education or a related field.

“Assistant Teachers” are required to have completed a minimum of 12 units in Child Development/Early Childhood Education and to have, at least, 6 months of teaching experience. Some Assistant Teachers have acquired an AA or BA in Child Development/Early Childhood Education or a related field.

Ongoing Professional Development is expected and promoted, both through several In-Service trainings held each year, as well as through subsidizing teachers’ ongoing education and training.

What are the teaching methods used? What curriculum is followed?

Young children learn best through developmentally-appropriate, hands-on, meaningful play experiences, and active engagement and interaction. We subscribe to the constructivist view of teaching and learning (Lev Vygotsky/Jean Piaget) and the concept that children construct their own learning and knowledge through their experiences and interactions. Children play an active role in the learning process, as they explore, experiment, and manipulate materials, ask questions, solve problems, and interact with peers and teachers. We view the teacher’s role as that facilitating and supporting children’s natural drive to discover and learn about the world around them.

Teachers provide nurturing and a sense of safety, so that children to feel free to explore their environment, get deeply engaged in activity, and take reasonable risks. Teachers treat children with respect and seek to empower them. Teachers engage in meaningful interactions with children, form close relationships with them, and encourage them to express their ideas and feelings. Peer social interaction plays a fundamental role in the process of children’s development, and we view children’s interactions with each other as learning opportunities that enable them to build necessary social and communication skills.

The curriculum is determined through our knowledge of age-appropriate educational experiences for young children, as well as through pursuing topics that are of interest to each particular group of children. A curriculum that follows children’s interests is known as an “emergent” or “child-driven” curriculum. Teachers listen to children’s interactions, observe their play, and pay close attention to what sparks children’s interests. By following children’s curiosity about a particular topic, teachers can capitalize on children’s intrinsic motivation to learn, resulting in interested, engaged and enthusiastic learners.

How is the curriculum in each classroom different?

The Hungry Caterpillars classroom – 2-3 years old

Some of the main developmental focuses of the Hungry Caterpillars group include:

  • Autonomy/independence
  • Separation from parents/forming attachments with new, safe caregivers (teachers)
  • Exploring, trying new things, experimenting
  • Learning through the use of their senses and through manipulating materials
  • Learning to make age-appropriate choices for themselves
  • Beginning to build an identity as a unique individual
  • Exploring how much power and control they have
  • Simple interactions with peers, parallel play, beginnings of playing together with peers
  • Learning to function in a group of peers and teachers
  • Learning about basic social rules and learning how to share a space and materials with peers
  • Beginning to understand and label their emotions
  • Rapidly developing verbal/language skills and learning to express themselves
  • Rapidly expanding cognitive/intellectual abilities and growing awareness of the world around them 
  • Gross motor (physical) skills really take off at this age, as children become much more adept and coordinated, leading them to want to practice all of their new skills
  • Potty training is generally established during the course of the year in this age group

The Busy Bees classroom – 3-4 years old

Some of the main developmental focuses of the Busy Bees group include:

  • Rapid developmental leap forward in social development.
  • Truly play with peers in earnest, one-on-one or in small groups.  Peer interactions/peer relationships start to take the center stage.
  • Increased attention span and ability to sit and focus.
  • Able to engage more deeply and extensively in play and participate in more in-depth, back and forth conversations. 
  • They are able to listen to peers and wait for a turn more easily. 
  • Are learning to understand their emotions and use their words to express themselves.
  • Are becoming more independent and capable.
  • Have a growing interest in other people and their thoughts and feelings.
  • Are eager to expand their understanding of the world around them.

The Terrific Tigers classroom – 4-5 years old

Some of the main developmental focuses of the Terrific Tigers group include:

  • Have a growing interest in writing and reading
  • Social interactions are even more sophisticated and satisfying. 
  • Regularly play in a cooperative manner, working together to accomplish a common goal.
  • Have developed much greater independence and are capable of functioning quite autonomously. 
  • Enjoy age-appropriate “jobs” and feel competent and powerful when they are able to help grown ups, especially with tasks that have real meaning and make true contributions to others/the group. 
  • Are more aware of their feelings and those of others, as well as better able to deal with emotional upsets and disappointments. 
  • Are eager to learn more about things outside their immediate sphere – ready to learn about the greater world outside the walls of the school/home.

What is a typical daily schedule?

  • Each group’s morning schedule includes:
    • About an hour of indoor free play/work time
    • About an hour of outdoor free play/work
    • Group time
    • Snack
    • Music and movement
    • Story time
  • Lunch is served at 11:30 a.m. 
  • Rest/nap time is from 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. 
  • An afternoon snack is served after nap time. 
  • From 3:30 -5:30 p.m., all groups are merged together on the yard for an outdoor free play/work time.

What meals/snacks are included?

Tuition includes daily lunches, as well as morning snack and afternoon snack each day. 

Lunches are provided by Occidental College’s Campus Dining Department. The menu of options is the same varied menu that is offered to Occidental’s students. Each meal includes an entrée, a side, and fruits or vegetables. 

Daily snacks provided include either fresh fruit or fresh vegetables and one or two other items (e.g., crackers, string cheese, yogurt, etc.). Menus are posted for parents viewing each week (both hard copies and on our website).

How are food allergies handled?

The Oxy CDC is a peanut-free environment. When children have other life-threatening food allergies, we ensure that these foods are not served in the child’s group. If the child’s allergies are plentiful/severe enough that the child’s pediatrician believes that it is safest for the child to bring food from home, parents may opt out of our food plan and receive a tuition discount, as long as their pediatrician provides a letter to that effect.

Is it required that my child be potty trained?

No. Children’s time table for toilet training readiness varies. We work with each family to find the right timing and approach for helping their child achieve toilet training success. Until a child is fully potty trained (no more than one accident per month), a family pays a monthly fee of $125, to cover the extra time devoted to changing diapers/pullups throughout each day. If a child has achieved potty training while awake, but may still have pee accidents during nap time, and the child can independently change in and out of the pull-up, this can be considered fully potty trained. Any child who is still having poop accidents is not considered fully potty trained, since children cannot independently clean themselves up after poop accidents.

How is nap time handled? What if my child doesn’t/won’t nap?

Nap time is held from 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. each day.  Licensing regulations require us to provide children with the opportunity to nap each day and bar us from actively waking sleeping children. We strive to be responsive to each child’s unique sleep/nap needs, and work in collaboration with families to determine each child’s evolving sleep needs. Children rest on comfortable rest mats, and we provide the sheet and blanket for each child, which are laundered regularly.

Children who have outgrown their nap (determined in collaboration with the child’s family) will be asked to rest quietly on their mat for 30 minutes, after which they will be taken outside to play for the remainder of nap time. Children who are unable to rest quietly on their mats may be given a quiet activity to occupy them on their mats until 1:00 p.m. (or parents may be asked to provide a backpack with rest activities for their child).

We set the stage for rest/sleep by turning off the lights in the classroom and playing soothing music. We keep talking to a minimum, and when we do talk, we use whispering voices and ask the children to do the same. We try to create a calm, restful environment in the classroom, which promotes rest and sleep.  We can provide physical comforting (e.g. rub a child’s back, stroke a child’s hair, etc.) to help a child relax and go to sleep.

What is the program’s illness policy?

An illness policy is necessary to help reduce the spread of disease at the Center – to limit spreading illness to both children and teachers (teachers who are sick need to stay home, too). While we cannot prevent all illness, we may be able to reduce its incidence and severity. Parents are asked to err on the side of caution when evaluating whether their child is well enough to attend school.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, our illness policy has had two wings: 1) our General Illness Policy, 2) our COVID-19 Illness Policy.

General Illness Policy  →]

COVID-19 Illness Policy  →]

What is the vaccination and masking policy?

The State of California requires that all children be up-to-date on their childhood immunizations, in order to attend a child care program (unless their pediatrician has completed the online medical exemption process).

There is no requirement that children or parents be vaccinated for COVID-19, though nearly all parents and most children who are currently part of the program are fully vaccinated.

Occidental College requires that all employees be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 (unless a medical or religious exemption has been granted).  100% of Oxy CDC teachers have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

Our masking policy changes, as COVID-19 conditions in Los Angeles evolve. Currently, masking is optional for children, parents, teachers, and student workers, except when a person has been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19, is exiting isolation early after contractive COVID-19, or is returning from any illness with lingering symptoms.  Anyone who has been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 must mask indoors for a full 10 days after last exposure, and anyone exiting isolation prior to day 11 after contracting COVID-19, must mask through the 10th full day after onset of symptoms or positive test result.  Children and teachers who are well enough to return after an illness but who have mild, lingering symptoms (e.g., congestion, runny nose, cough) should mask indoors until symptoms are resolved.

What safety measures are in place?

The facility is fenced in all around, and the entrances to our facility are gated with security gates that require an entry code.  Occidental College’s Campus Safety Department is only a few hundred yards from us, and they are on call 24/7 to assist us, at a moment’s notice. We practice monthly fire drills and regular earthquake drills. Teachers have been trained in Active Threat/Lockdown procedures. We pay for teachers to receive CPR/First Aid training every 2 years and keep their certifications up to date. All teachers are required to keep their Mandated Reporter Training up to date, as well.

How can parents be involved in the program?

Busy Bees and Terrific Tigers parents are enthusiastically welcomed to be involved in the classroom. (Children in the Hungry Caterpillars class may find it too difficult to have parents at school during the period when they are solidifying their separation and learning to be at school without parents). Parents can, for example, do a cooking project, read a story, plan an art project, share a hobby or interest with their child’s group. We welcome you to share any cultural traditions, foods, etc. that are important to your family. Please feel free to make a plan with your child’s teachers to come in and participate in the classroom.

Parents are also invited to participate through being on various committees (Parent Advisory Committee, Social Committee, Fundraising Committee, Teacher Appreciation Committee) and through lending a hand during our Parent Workdays.

We also hold multiple social functions each year, to bring families in the community together for fun and connection.

How much diversity is there the school community?

The demographics of our population varies from year to year. On average, our population looks something like this: 55-65% Caucasian, 10-20% Latinx, 10-20% Asian/Pacific Islander, 2-5% African American, 2-10% Other ethnicities.

What parenting support is offered?

Supporting parents in the extremely challenging job of parenting is a priority at the Oxy CDC. Monthly Parenting Support Sessions are offered. One to three times per year, we offer Parenting Talks. Parenting resources, such as articles, are shared with parents on a regular basis. Parents can reach out to the Director or their child’s teachers whenever they need support. Parent-Teacher Conferences are held twice each year, and additional meetings can be scheduled, as needed.

Are there scholarships provided?

At this time, no scholarships are offered. Oxy employee families receive a substantial discount on tuition, but apart from that, no financial assistance is offered.

Can I take a tour of the program?

The way that tours are handled is that we offer a family a private tour of our program when it looks like we will be able to offer their child a spot in our program.

How does the wait list work? When will I hear from you?

Children can be placed on the wait list as early as week 27 of the pregnancy.  To get on the wait list, submit a Wait List Application through our website. Once your child is officially placed on the wait list, you will receive an email confirming this. After this, we will not reach out to you unless we have a spot for your child. We have to wait to finalize enrollment for the coming year until we hear that Oxy has completed their hiring processes for the coming year, which is generally in late April. You are welcome to reach out to check in prior to April, but we won’t have full information about enrollment for the coming year before we hear from Oxy that hiring is completed.