When do daycares accept new kids?

Hi All, we have a 15 month old and have been starting to look into daycares (have visited two with vacancies coming up) as we think our son will enjoy the social aspects.

I'm just wondering how hard is it really around here to find good options for a child that age? Should we be trying to get him in now as it's the end of Summer or do daycares take kids at all times through the year? In some ways it might suit us better to wait just a little longer and look for something starting in November... But we'd like to have a few options when we do look and we realise now might be the time to get him in somewhere. 

Any and all thoughts on this topic would be helpful! We are new to the Bay Area and first time parents as well.

Parent Replies

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It depends. Some, like our school (The Model School in Berkeley, with openings btw) have rolling admissions and enroll all year long, others admit all new students at the same time (often Sept 1). Most people tour preschools between now and the end of the year, with notifications going out around March and April. Good luck! 

I believe most daycares have rolling admissions. The challenge will be getting on a waitlist.

The way we've seen it work in the past is that we'll get on the waitlist with an intended start month. The daycare will try to process their waitlist to align with children "graduating" to the next level up. So for example, we may get on a waitlist to join in June, there is a kid in the class scheduled to move into the next older kid class in July, it'll leave a space open in the younger class, so we'll get a start date of July.

At 15 months, your choices are a bit more limited. At 18 months your options open up quite a bit; I think it has to do with licensing. You might actually end up only looking at places that accept 18 months and older just by virtue of what the wait lists look like. For reference, both of our kids started at about 3 months at one facility. One transferred at 18 months and the other will go to the same place when she's 18 months. We were on the waitlist for their final preschool for over a year for each.

If you're considering starting in November, try to get on a waitlist ASAP.