Frequently Asked Questions about ECDC Registration and the Program

Registration Process and Program

Select a question below for more information.

What are your COVID-19 policies?

The ECDC Administrative Team has been diligently researching and developing the COVID-19 policies and procedures. We have consulted with Saint Mary’s College, the University of Notre Dame, the local health department, our accreditation body, NAEYC, our licensing body, OECSEL, and early childhood campus programs across the country. We have also incorporated information from the CDC. These practices focus on the safety of children and employees first and foremost. ECDC’s plan is subject to change based on our evolving understanding of COVID-19 and its impact, as well as licensing requirements/recommendations and ND/SMC requirements/recommendations. Check our COVID-19 Policies and Procedures page often for the latest information.  The content found on this page overrides the ECDC Family Handbook until further notice.

What are the 2022 Summer & 2022-23 School Year Program dates?

2022 Summer Day Camp Program (9 week program)
(Program Dates: June 6, 2022 – August 5, 2022)
Registration form due: 2/1/22
2022-23 School Year Kindergarten Registration
(Program Dates: August 22, 2022 – May 31, 2023)
Registration form due:  1/15/22
2022-23 School Year Preschool Registration (ages 2 through 5)
(Program Dates: August 22, 2022 – May 31, 2023)
Registration form due: 2/15/22

Current Family Registration is due January 15th.

Optional Extended Summer (ESU) Program – In addition to the above summer program dates, ECDC offers an optional extended summer program which is one week after the summer program ends, August 8 – 12, 2022. Some ECDC families use this optional enrollment period for family vacations or for a short break. ESU is designed for families enrolled in the ECDC summer program only. ESU is held at ECDC-ND for children currently enrolled in the ECDC-SMC and ECDC-ND programs. Combining the children for the optional extended program provides ECDC-SMC teachers and program staff with vacation time. Only parents who elect enrollment pay tuition for this optional week.

How do I register for the upcoming 2022 Summer Program and the 2022-2023 SY - Dates and Submission Process

How to submit ECDC Registration Forms –

1. Campus Mail
2. Postal Mail
3. Drop it by an ECDC program site between 7:00am and 5:30pm
4. Families currently living outside of the U.S. – please fax your registration forms(s) to 574-631-7808 or attach it to an email sending it to kalford@saintmarys.edu. The registration fee(s) will be collected when you join the ND/SMC/South Bend community.

Mailing Addresses:

ECDC-SMC
Saint Mary’s College, Havican Hall
Notre Dame, IN 46556

ECDC-ND
10 Child Care Center
Notre Dame, IN 46556

Registration fees can be paid by check or cash – checks should be made payable to ECDC. If submitting cash, please submit the registration form to an ECDC office and you will be provided with a receipt. ECDC doesn’t accept credit or debit card payments for registration fees.

Registration for the 9 week 2022 Summer Program takes place during January with a registration due date of February 1 to be included in the initial registration process. After February 1, registration takes place on a first come, first served roll in application basis. Parents will be informed by March 1 about their child’s summer enrollment.

The Summer Program Registration Form is available each year on the ECDC website in early November. The summer registration form requires a nonrefundable $50 registration fee. Families can reduce their summer enrollment schedule or withdraw from the summer program through April 15. If a family withdraws or reduces their enrollment schedule after April 15, they are responsible for the entire summer program tuition, unless another child is enrolled to take their child’s enrollment schedule.

Summer enrollment for the full 9 week summer program is required.

Registration for the 2022-23 School Year Preschool Program takes place during January & February with a registration due date of February 15, to be included in the initial registration process. After February 15, registration takes place on a first come, first served roll in application basis. Parents will be informed by March 15 regarding their child’s school year enrollment.

The School Year Registration Form is available each year on the ECDC website in early November. The school year registration form requires a nonrefundable $50 registration fee for preschool age children. Families can reduce their school year enrollment schedule or withdraw from the school year program through May 1st. If a family withdraws or reduces their enrollment schedule after May 1st, they are responsible for the entire fall semester program tuition through December, unless another child is enrolled to take their child’s school year enrollment schedule.

Registration for the 2022-23 SY Kindergarten takes place in December/January with a registration due date of January 15 to be included in the initial registration process. Children who turn 5 years old by Sept. 1st are eligible for the ECDC kindergarten program. After January 15, registration takes place on a first come, first served roll-in application basis. Parents are informed by February 15 regarding their child’s kindergarten enrollment.

The SY Kindergarten Registration Form is available on the ECDC website in early November. The kindergarten registration form requires a nonrefundable $65 registration fee. Families can reduce their kindergarten enrollment schedule or withdraw through May 1. If a family reduces their schedule or withdraws from kindergarten after May 1, they are responsible for the entire fall semester program tuition through December, unless another child is enrolled to take their child’s school year enrollment schedule.

Who is eligible to enroll in the ECDC program?

ECDC-SMC is open to members of the Saint Mary’s College and Notre Dame communities (e.g., faculty, staff, students, administration, alumni/alumnae, and employees of Holy Cross Order institutions) as well as the public and offers four preschool age groups/classrooms during the school year: 3’s, 3/4’s, 4’s, and 4/5’s.  The summer program enrolls children ages 3 through 10.  Full time and part time enrollment schedules are available during the school year and the summer.  ECDC-SMC is the only ECDC program that enrolls families who aren’t affiliated to ND or SMC, families who are from the Michiana community.

ECDC-ND is open to members of the University of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s College communities (e.g., faculty, staff, students, administration, alumni/alumnae).  ECDC-ND is NOT open to the public.  ECDC-ND offers six early childhood age groups/classrooms during the school year: 2’s, 3’s, 3/4’s, 4’s, 4/5’s, and Kindergarten.  The summer program enrolls children ages 2.5 through 10.  Full time and part time enrollment schedules are available during the school year and the summer.  Typically there is only enrollment space for families affiliated to ND; most SMC and community families are placed on the wait list and enroll with ECDC-SMC.

What Enrollment Schedules are offered?

ECDC offers both full time and part time schedules. Full time is a Monday – Friday schedule – ECDC is open 7:45 a.m. – 5:15 p.m. Breakfast is served until 8:30 a.m. each day. Part time enrollment options include: MWF mornings, afternoons or all day; TTH mornings, afternoons or all day, M-F mornings or afternoons. About 50% of the children enrolled attend with full time schedules and 50% of the children attend with part time preschool schedules.

During the summer day camp program, only full day schedules are available for school age children (children who have completed kindergarten and older): M-F all day, MWF all day, TTH all day. Please see the Tuition Schedule located on the ECDC website registration page for details about the various enrollment schedules and corresponding tuition.

Are atypical or inconsistent schedules offered, such as TTHF or MTTH or different days every other week?

ECDC only offers M through F, MWF or TTH schedules due to class schedules at ND and SMC.

Is there an enrollment schedule that we should list on the Registration Form that would help us be more successful with registration (help us get in)?

The only age group that receives an enrollment schedule priority during the registration process is Kindergarten. First priority is given to full time schedules for the school year kindergarten program. Second priority is giving to half day schedules.

Preschool Groups – parents should list their first choice schedule, their second choice schedule and if they have any flexibility they should list “any” under third choice. It will not help or hurt to list full time first except for application to Kindergarten. If a family only can accept one schedule, they should only list that one schedule. Please do not list “any” if you don’t have some flexibility.

School Age Groups- During the summer day camp program, only full day schedules are available for school age children (children who have completed kindergarten and older): M-F all day, MWF all day, TTH all day.

If I am on the waiting list, do I need to re-apply for Spring Semester or for Summer or the next School Year?

The SY and Summer waiting lists are for that program period only. Families on the waiting list must re-apply for upcoming programs (e.g., the next SY or next Summer). Families on the SY waiting list during fall semester do not need to re-apply for spring semester, it is part of the SY program.

My child is only an infant, however, I've heard there is a long waiting list. How do I get on it?

The SY and Summer waiting lists are for that specific year/time period only. Families register for the program for which their child is age eligible. Early registration of children younger than the ages served by ECDC isn’t possible. We are happy to add families to our mailing list and they will receive information about upcoming registration periods.

My child doesn't turn two until October; can I still register him/her for ECDC-ND?

Families register for the program for which their child is age eligible. Children who are turning 2 within the first two weeks of the school year are age eligible for the ECDC-ND SY program. Children who are 2 years and 6 months (2.5 years old) are age eligible for the summer program. Children younger than 2.5 years old are not age eligible for the ECDC-ND summer program.

Why doesn’t ECDC serve children younger than age 2 at ECDC-ND and younger than age 3 at ECDC-SMC?

The ECDC facilities are limited with both space and required licensing components, therefore, unable to enroll children younger than age 2 at ECDC-ND and unable to enroll children younger than age 3 at ECDC-SMC.

Do you have suggestions to early childhood programs serving children younger than age 2? Or, suggestions to other early childhood programs serving preschoolers?

We don’t provide recommendations to other programs; however, we are glad to share a link to brighterfuturesindiana.org where you can connect with the local child care resource & referral agency for the county you live in.

Suggestions for other Early Childhood Programs serving children younger than age 2 or preschoolers~
Early Childhood and Child Care Options in the South Bend/Mishawaka area where ECDC families have indicated they have been satisfied while waiting for a opening at ECDC. Please note: This list is not a recommendation or a referral to the programs listed, rather this list is designed to assist families as they explore early care and education programs in our community when ECDC is fully enrolled. ECDC staff does not visit, monitor or evaluate these programs.

Can enrollment begin during the current SY or Summer Program?

If enrollment space is available, children may enroll mid-program. Contact ECDC-ND at (574) 631-3344 or ECDC-SMC at (574) 284-4693 to inquire about mid-year enrollment

Can my child be enrolled in an older group due to his/her intellectual abilities, language development, maturity or the available enrollment space, etc.?

Due to licensing regulations and accreditation standards regarding group sizes and ratios for specific age groups, ECDC is unable to provide multi-age groups beyond what is currently offered.

What is the ECDC tuition and when is ECDC tuition due?

The ECDC tuition schedule is located on the ECDC Website Registration page: ECDC Tuition

ECDC invoices families for the full semester. Parents may pay for the full semester when invoiced (e.g., fall, spring and summer) or may elect to pay tuition on a monthly, bi-monthly or weekly basis. Tuition is due in advance of the service. If paying monthly, tuition is due on the 1st of the month. If paying twice per month tuition is due on the 1st and the 15th.

ECDC accepts check, cash or credit card payments. ECDC is dependent upon parent tuition to meet its financial obligations (e.g., payroll, food costs, etc.); timeliness with tuition payments is necessary. Please see tuition schedule for more information.

Do you offer multiple child discounts?

In order to provide a quality early childhood program, ECDC is unable to offer multiple child discounts. Parents pay the same tuition rate, regardless of how many children they have enrolled at ECDC.

When is ECDC closed for Holidays and Breaks?

The ECDC calendar is located here.

ECDC-SMC and ECDC-ND do not operate on the following dates~

*Families are not charged tuition for the days that ECDC is closed.

  • Thanksgiving:  Wed, Thurs and Fri
  • Winter: Two weeks around the winter break and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • Spring:    Good Friday and Easter Monday
  • Spring/Summer: Memorial Day and 4th of July
  • The Friday before the summer program begins – teachers and program staff are involved in changing the SY program into the summer program
  • The week before the school year begins in August – teachers and program staff are involved in required professional development activities and are preparing the classrooms for the new school year
  • Please note – ECDC is open and in session on Labor Day at both program sites

Do I pay for days when my child is ill and unable to attend or when we are on vacation?

Parents pay for their enrollment schedule regardless of their child’s attendance. ECDC does offer a 3-week period in May/June and a one-week period in August that are optional enrollment periods. If families do not enroll in the optional school year (3 week program) and/or optional summer program (1 week), they are not required to pay for the tuition. Parents do not pay for days that ECDC is closed, such as Memorial Day, July 4th, Thanksgiving Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 2 weeks at the winter break, Good Friday and Easter Monday. Parents pay tuition for any days when ECDC has an unexpected emergency closure due to a weather emergency or facility issue.

Is ECDC a child care center or a preschool? What is the ECDC curriculum?

ECDC is an early care and education program licensed through the State of Indiana’s Department of Early Childhood Learning and is NAEYC Accredited. Less than 8% of all early childhood programs in the United States are NAEYC Accredited.

Teacher Qualifications: Each activity room is staffed with two co-lead teachers and many classrooms also have an associate or assistant teacher. Lead and Co-Lead Teachers have a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree in either Early Childhood Education or a related field and experience with young children. Several ECDC Lead/Co-Lead Teachers have Master’s Degrees in Education that include a concentration in early childhood education. All ECDC staff participate in more than 20 hours of professional development annually and receive Pediatric First Aid and CPR training.

ECDC is a preschool program that provides both full day enrollment schedules for families working or studying full time and also provides typical part time preschool schedules. Regardless of a child’s schedule of full time or a part time preschool type schedule, the child is involved in activities that foster social, emotional, physical, cognitive and creative development.

Is ECDC a Montessori school?

ECDC is not a Montessori school. We do have many children who attend Montessori schools and come to ECDC during the summer and some children who go to Montessori schools after completing preschool at ECDC. There are some similarities in our philosophies. We both have our education foundation based on constructivism, which focuses on learning skills through active participation with materials and the environment. Both approaches emphasize the importance of a prepared learning environment and use high quality materials to support learning. Self help skills and independence are emphasized within both approaches. In addition, both approaches value individual children’s work. Differences between ECDC and the Montessori approach include ECDC’s focus on the whole child and the belief that social and emotional development is a critically important aspect of the young child’s development. Social and emotional development is supported within the ECDC program through the prepared learning environment, curriculum, and daily schedule. All of the ECDC activity rooms have a dramatic play area and pretend play is encouraged. Each day, large group “circle activities” are planned by teachers to promote community. Stories, songs, creative dramatics, games, class meetings, project planning, etc. occur during group times.

Do children need to be potty trained before they begin at ECDC?

Children do not need to be potty trained to attend either ECDC site. Teachers work with children and families when they observe signs of readiness to begin the process (e.g., staying dry for long periods of time, ability to manage his/her own clothing, willingness to sit on the toilet and occasionally going on the toilet, etc.). Families provide pull-ups or diapers. Children’s pull-ups or diapers are checked and changed by their teachers every two hours or as needed. Regular trips to the bathroom, seeing peers use the bathroom, and encouragement by the teachers help the process of potty training. Once children are wearing underwear, we encourage families to bring several changes of clothing to be stored in their child’s individual locker because potty accidents are a natural occurrence during the process.

Do children enrolled with part time schedules still have the opportunity for field trips and special activities?

Field trips and special activities are scheduled across all enrollment schedules so that children who are only enrolled part time will have the opportunity for field trips and special activities.

Which groups go on offsite field trips and where do they go?

During the school year, the 4’s and 4/5’s groups at Saint Mary’s and the 4’s, 4/5’s, and Kindergarten at Notre Dame go on offsite field trips. The 4/5’s, 5/6’s, and 7/8/9’s groups at Saint Mary’s and the 4/5’s, 5/6’s, 6/7’s, and 8/9/10’s groups at Notre Dame go on offsite field trips during the summer. These trips may include visits to nature centers, the Farmers’ Market, Love Creek Park, free swims during the summer, ice skating lessons during the school year, Fernwood, the Potawatomi Zoo, museums & art galleries, the Curious Kids Museum, Potawatomi Park.

Frequency of Field Trips – During the school year, field trips are scheduled so that children enrolled with part time/half day schedules will enjoy at least one field trip per semester. Children enrolled with full day schedules (MWF or TTH all day) will enjoy 2 field trips per semester and children enrolled full time (full day M – F) will enjoy 3 to 4 field trips per semester.

During the summer, there is a balance of on-site special activities (recreational games, tennis, yoga, soccer) and off site field trips and activities (swim lessons, trips throughout the community to museums, zoo, parks, nature centers, gardens. The balance of these special activities and excursions are thoughtfully planned and scheduled so that children enrolled in various schedules experience the diverse summer program.

Is there an extra fee for field trips or lessons (e.g., swim, ice skating)?

There are no extra fees for summer or school year field trips, summer swim lessons, summer soccer, summer tennis and yoga and other summer activities, ice skating lessons, or special activities. The student activity fee invoiced with summer tuition and each semester (fall and spring) is applied towards summer and school field trips and special activities.

The School Year student activity fee is $120 for children in the 4’s, 4/5’s or Kindergarten and $60 for children in the 2’s, 3’s, and 3/4’s during the school year, and $150 for full time schedules and all school agers and $100 for part time schedules for the summer program (June/July/Aug).

Enrichment Activities offered during the SY – parents may elect to enroll their children in enrichment activities – Dance with Miss Bonnie and Gymnasts in Motion. Parents enroll their children in these activities and pay additional fees for these two enrichment activities. The tuition is outlined on the specific enrichment activity registration forms.

What special activities are available for the younger groups during the summer?

Children in the summer 2/3’s, 3/4’s, and 4’s at Notre Dame and the 3/4’s at Saint Mary’s do not go on offsite field trips. They will however still participate in special activities at ECDC. These may include storytelling, puppetry, gymnastics, campus nature walks, nature activities, art, music, creative dramatics, gardening and play.

Is the ECDC yoga program religious?

The ECDC yoga program is non-secular. It is designed to introduce the children enrolled in the ECDC summer program to calming exercises by combining picture books and yoga poses that are fun and easy for children.

Do older school aged children interact with the younger children during the Summer Program?

The school aged children (children in the 6/7’s and 8/9/10’s groups at Notre Dame and 7/8/9’s group at Saint Mary’s) do spend some time with the younger groups. They will read to them, as well as helping with pop-up surprises. They are never in charge of younger children; rather they enrich the summer program for the younger groups.

How does ECDC communicate with families?

Families are encouraged to talk with their child’s teachers at drop off and pick up times. Teachers send out daily emails that include a summary of the day’s events in addition to ways parents can support development and learning at home. Through email, the teachers share the early childhood foundations (early childhood standards) they are focusing on for the current week. There are also more formal times of communication with families, thirty minute parent teacher conferences, scheduled twice per school year once during fall semester and once during spring semester. Parents are welcome to request a parent teacher conference in addition to the two regularly scheduled fall and spring semester conferences by calling an ECDC office or talking with their child’s teacher.

How will we be notified in the event of a facility or weather emergency that requires ECDC to close?

In the event of an emergency closing or other urgent information, ECDC families are notified via email
message, text message, announcements on WNDU radio and television, and postings on the ECDC Facebook
page. The text message program ECDC uses is called REMIND. Please update your phone number or email address when any changes occur so we can ensure emergency notifications reach you.

Is ECDC regulated and by whom?

ECDC is licensed and accredited by two major sources as well as participates in Indiana’s early childhood quality rating system. Both ECDC programs are licensed by the State of Indiana’s Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning and are inspected (unannounced) multiple times per year for licensing purposes. ECDC-SMC is licensed for 90 children ages of 3 – 10. ECDC-ND is licensed for 165 children ages of 2 – 10.

ECDC has also voluntarily chosen to seek accreditation through the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). NAEYC is the largest early childhood professional organization with only 8% of early childhood programs in the United States accredited through NAEYC’s rigorous and prestigious accreditation. The accreditation process consists of an internal self-study in addition to an external review to verify compliance with the NAEYC criteria for High-Quality Early Childhood Programs.

ECDC-ND and ECDC SMC have both received the highest level (level 4) in Indiana’s Paths to Quality Rating System. This level of PTQ quality indicates to families and the community that ECDC provides a healthy and safe environment for the children, and also delivers a planned and appropriate curriculum that supports children’s learning and guides their development and school readiness. ECDC is inspected two times per year for Indiana’s Paths to Quality.