It may be difficult to find care for babies and toddlers (ages 0–3), but for preschoolers (ages 3–5) there are several options.
A preschool or nursery school provide academic and social preparation for elementary school. Most preschools accept children between the ages of three and five, but some may accept younger children. A preschool usually has classes for only two or three hours a day, but some preschools may also provide day care. The University of Kansas has a preschool. To get information about this program, call the Edna A. Hill Child Development Center.
A day care center is a place that keeps children while their parents are working or studying. Most centers are open from approximately 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., but times may vary from center to center. Many day care centers take children between the ages of two and five, and some centers may accept younger children. Some centers even take babies under one year of age. Some apartment complexes have a child care program. Day care centers may or may not provide academic and social programs to prepare children for school.
A babysitter is a person who takes care of your child either in your home or in the sitter’s home. A babysitter may take a child of any age for a short time or all day. A babysitter does not usually provide any kind of training for the child.
Child care providers in the Lawrence area must be licensed or registered if they provide services outside the child’s home, such as at a center, school, or in the provider’s own home. Providers who work in your home are not licensed or registered. The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department has a list of licensed or registered day care providers that you can pick up.
There are also two free referral services that will send you more information about these licensed or registered day care providers. The Douglas County Child Development Association and the KU Dependent Care Referral Service have lists of potential care providers, including the hours they are open and the ages accepted. The KU Dependent Care Referral Service has more information about each provider and can tell you which provider has current openings for the age level you need. They also have a suggestion sheet for finding care givers who come to the child’s home. You can also look in the Yellow Pages of the telephone directory under Child Care Facilities. The KU Information Center keeps a list of available babysitters.
In Kansas, children can begin public school at age five. The child’s fifth birthday must be on or before September 1. The Lawrence School District requires proof (in English) of the day, month and year of birth. The first year of school is called kindergarten and most meet only a half-day, either morning or afternoon. All children between the ages of six and sixteen are required by law to attend school. Some immunizations (vaccinations) are required for students attending schools. All immunizations must be completed within 90 days after the child begins school. Immunizations are available at the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department or from any private doctor.
To find out about the public schools in Lawrence, please contact the Lawrence Unified School District office. To enroll your child in the public schools, you should have your child’s birth certificate, health and immunization records, and school records. If your child is sick or will be absent for any other reason, you should call the school. Parents receive four written reports each year of their child’s progress in school. Once in October and once in March, parents are asked to meet with teachers to talk about their child’s work. Other meetings may be requested by the teacher or parent.
There is a special program in the public schools to help international children learn English quickly. This special English instruction and the regular class work will help the children adjust to their new town.