Frequently Asked Questions about the Early Childhood Center




How is the Early Childhood Center different from other preschools and nursery schools?

–There are many attributes that set the Early Childhood Center apart from other programs:

  • The Early Childhood Center is a Sarah Lawrence College laboratory school.
  • Our location on the Sarah Lawrence College campus gives us a wonderful backdrop to explore, and a natural extension to the classrooms. ECC children and families have access to the Sports Center, greenhouse, theatre facilities, and science buildings, as well as the College’s sprawling grounds.
  • Our idea of school readiness differs a bit from other programs. It involves children working hard wherever they are, mastering that stage, and taking the next steps with patience and the encouragement of the adults in the classroom. These are the “readiness” skills that can’t be taught. They must be modeled and practiced and experienced over and over. Children who accomplish these skills are truly ready for whatever comes next. Read more about our progressive education approach»

Simply put, the Early Childhood Center is a place where children can be children.

How involved will I be with my child’s life at the Early Childhood Center?

The ECC has a Parent’s Association (PA), which each family belongs to as part of the ECC community. Parents can choose to be as active as they are comfortable. 

The PA sponsors events such as music concerts for the children, storytelling, family picnics, and an annual fundraising event, as well as community awareness events such as food pantry collections and clothing drives. Parents are also welcome to visit the classrooms, but it is with the individual child’s interest in mind.

Does my child have to start at the Early Childhood Center at age 2?

Children can start the ECC at any age, although starting earlier gives children priority placement for subsequent classes.

What is the class structure like at the Early Childhood Center?

The ECC provides a varied pattern of morning and afternoon classes. Younger children attend two or three half-days per week, and older children attend five times per week.

A master teacher of early childhood education, a graduate student assistant teacher, and several student assistants teach each class.

Classes are in session from early September to mid-May, in accordance with the College's academic calendar. A separate summer session is also offered. The ECC is closed during the College breaks.

For more information, meet our team and review our programs and schedules.

What is the academic calendar for the Early Childhood Center?

The ECC follows the Sarah Lawrence College academic calendar; in addition, the ECC is also closed on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Because the classroom relies so much on our college students, running the program when the College is not in session is not an option for us. The ECC has an extended winter break and a spring break in March.

What is the tuition for the Early Childhood Center?

For detailed information, please see the tuition page.

Can I tour the facilities or observe a classroom prior to applying?

Due to COVID protocols, we are conducting virtual tours and meetings on Zoom. During your virtual tour, the ECC Director will walk you through our buildings and grounds, alive with the work of children.  She will then meet with each family individually to discuss our pedagogy and curriculum, as well as answer any questions. 

We ask that parents attend the visit without their children.

Learn more about scheduling a visit and applying»

What are the criteria for acceptance to the Early Childhood Center?

The Early Childhood Center welcomes families from all socioeconomic, racial, and cultural backgrounds. The ECC aims to reflect the world community and is committed to diversity among staff, teachers, and students. 

The most important criteria for acceptance are that the applicants feel comfortable with the learning environment of the ECC and that our pedagogy is a good match for the child.

When is the deadline to apply?

Our regular application period ends December 15. Letters of acceptance are sent out in early January. At that time, if spaces are still available, the application process continues. 

It is recommended that you call to inquire about availability at any point of the year. The ECC always welcomes visits and inquiries after December 15. 

Learn more about how to apply»