Waiting Lists

Nate McCallisterArticles, Feature, Featured Quick Tip, General

When no openings in one of our early learning child care programs are available we often offer parents a spot on the waiting list. It’s free to signup for the waitlist. We just take your contact info and contact you when there’s an opening. Simple enough right? Maybe, but let’s clarify two important considerations: 1) the only way to secure a spot is to register for the program by completing a registration form and paying the nonrefundable registration fee, 2) others may be prioritized ahead of you on the waitlist if you do not register.

It’s common for the next opening in the infant program to be a year out. If you go on the wait-list and do not signup for that spot then the next opening for your child will continue to be about one year out. For example, you could come in in October to inquire about openings. You find out that the next opening is in about one year. So you decide to go on the waiting list and then start your child in one year when there is an opening. You call back six months later to inquire about the October spot but now the next opening is in April. You decide to signup (this requires a nonrefundable registration fee and paperwork) for the April spot, stay on the waitlist and hope to get a call before April. That’s where the prioritization of the list comes in.

Several factors create the priorities on the list. Staff children go to the top of the list simply because it’s easier to run an organization when that’s covered for your staff. Families with siblings currently enrolled go next and finally those who are currently enrolled but hoping to start at an earlier date are considered. After those priorities we go to the top of the list.

We do have openings from people leaving fairly often. It’s not unheard of. The most common reason people leave the center is location. Some are on a waitlist at a center near their home or work, some move or take a new job in a different location.

So, if you definitely want your child at SonShine at some point, schedule a tour and signup. If you’re thinking that you’ll just wait until something opens up, that works too. It’s likely that your child would start in the toddler program after they are 16 months old if you just do the waitlist. Either choice is excellent. Every family is different and we support whatever you choose to do.

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About the Author

Nate McCallister

Nate McCallister started with SonShine Learning Center in 2003 as a preschool teacher. Today, he works as the organization's director of operations and is the site director at the Luther location. He earned a bachelor's degree in technical communication and professional writing from Metropolitan State University and studied early childhood education at St. Paul College.