Enrollment FAQs


Frequently Asked Questions, Including Enrollment Questions

  1. What is the composition of the children’s population at BlueSkies?
  2. How many hours are most children enrolled at BlueSkies?
  3. When can I apply to enroll an infant?
  4. When should I apply to enroll a toddler or preschooler?
  5. What does it mean to be in the waiting pool?
  6. Is it possible to enroll on a school-year schedule?
  7. What is the illness policy at BlueSkies?
  8. What is the composition of the staff at BlueSkies?
  9. What are the qualifications of BlueSkies staff?
  10. What is turnover like among the teaching staff?
  11. Does BlueSkies for Children provide any meals?

1. What is the composition of the children’s population at BlueSkies?

BlueSkies values and celebrates diversity by creating a community with families of varying racial and cultural groups, religious beliefs, physical abilities, socioeconomic situations, and alternative configurations. BlueSkies honors peaceful coexistence and inclusion as a natural part of daily life.

  • More than half of the children are children of color, most from multicultural families.
  • Alternative families include children who live with grandparents, with same-sex parents, or with a single parent.
  • Most classrooms include children with special developmental needs.
  • Children whose families require assistance to pay tuition are welcome.

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2. How many hours are most children enrolled at BlueSkies?

The minimum enrollment is four days per week, Monday-Thursday, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Maximum enrollment is Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Average enrollment is about 40 hours per week; the pace of the program is based on the needs of children who will be enrolled for a full day of care.

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3. When can I apply to enroll an infant?

To be assured of a space, it is best to submit an application as soon as a due date can be estimated. Currently, space in the Infant group is being committed nearly a year ahead. For example, January 2015 applications approved were for infants due to be born in August 2015 and enroll in January 2016.

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4. When should I apply to enroll a toddler or preschooler?

Applications are accepted year round, and children are admitted whenever we have space available. Usually space becomes available when another child is leaving the program, with one month’s notice, and the space is filled out of the waiting pool. It is rare to have an opening that exactly matches your ideal start date, so it is best if you can be flexible about enrollment dates. We generally recommend that you submit an application 3-6 months before your ideal enrollment date.

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5. What does it mean to be in the waiting pool?

Generally a person in the waiting pool is waiting for a space to open up in a class group that is already fully enrolled. Sometimes there is still room in the group but not for that particular birth month. Each year’s class group is defined by birth dates between September 1 and August 31 (e.g., children born 9/1/2014 – 8/31/2015 compose the 2015 birth year group).

Applications in the waiting pool are maintained by birth year group, so as the group moves through the school the application continues to be considered for any openings in that group. Because waiting pool applications may be on file for months or years before a space opens up, calling every 3 or 4 months lets us know parents are still interested in remaining in the pool. Applicants who do not call for a year will be dropped from the waiting pool.

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6. Is it possible to enroll on a school-year schedule?

Founded to serve working families who often only have 2 weeks vacation per year, BlueSkies is open year-round. To meet its budget, tuition must be paid for each space all year, as the staff is paid year-round. The child’s space must be relinquished to another child if the family does not want to pay summer tuition.

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7. What is the illness policy at Blueskies?

BlueSkies teachers take every reasonable precaution to keep illness from spreading from child to child, always seeking the delicate balance between serving the working parents of an individual family and the needs of the entire classroom of children. Teachers will not admit sick children (exception for colds, as long as energy level is normal), and children who become ill at school will be sent home. Good hygiene is practiced by the staff, and even the youngest children are taught to wash hands before eating and after toileting. Children entering group care are quite susceptible to new viruses in their first 6-12 months of enrollment; after that time they generally stay fairly healthy as the “germ pool” stabilizes. Parents whose children are enrolled in group care must have a plan for sick child care.

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8. What is the composition of the staff at BlueSkies?

About 40 people work at BlueSkies, two thirds full-time, including teachers, administrative, and housekeeping staff. Seventeen staff members have been at BlueSkies 5 years or longer. A third of the staff holds B.A. or M.A. degrees. As in the children’s program, diversity is desired and sought—half of the staff speak English as a second language, three quarters of the staff are people of color, two teachers are men, and 30% of the staff are over age 55.

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9. What are the qualifications of BlueSkies staff?

All staff on site at BlueSkies must meet Community Care Licensing regulations, including a fingerprint clearance. Staff qualifications range from Program Directors and Head Teachers with B.A. or M.A. degrees to entry-level aides and housekeepers with little education or experience. All classrooms are staffed with a Head Teacher and Teacher (minimum 12 college units in Early Childhood Education); the Infant and Toddler classrooms with very low child-teacher ratios include additional Teachers and/or aides. All teaching staff participates in weekly staff meetings, semiannual staff in-service days, and ongoing professional growth activities.

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10. What is turnover like among the teaching staff?

About 20% of the teaching staff changes each year; this compares to a national average of 40%. BlueSkies teachers’ wages are consistent with the average in Alameda County nonprofit childcare centers, and they also receive medical benefits and paid vacation/sick leave. Most childcare teachers can find other fields of employment that pay more for easier work, however, particularly those with B.A. degrees.

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11. Does BlueSkies for Children provide any meals?

BlueSkies prepares and serves breakfast, lunch, and two snacks daily.  The staff works with breastfeeding mothers to safely store and prepare breast milk for the babies, and the program provides commonly used formulas for those babies who need it.

Multiple menus are cooked from healthy ingredients.

Much, but not all of the food served at BlueSkies for Children is organic. Menus for each group are available on request.

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Copyright © 2010-2014 BlueSkies for Children, NAEYC-Accredited Oakland Childcare Center. Lic#'s 010209844, 010213219. All Rights Reserved.