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Childcare at SIL-UND
When asked what information parents and kids ought to know before coming to SIL in the summer, many parents wrote that “kids love childcare!”
The SIL-UND childcare program resembles a summer camp more than a day care program. Activities include arts and crafts, singing, indoor and outdoor games, learning activities (especially about other countries and cultures), field trips and swimming. Older children visit the Grand Forks Public Library's wonderful children's library once a week to check out books and attend story time.
The childcare facilities are in the same residence hall where most students and faculty live, and children eat all meals with their parents. The program is also available to student and staff families who are living outside the SIL dormitory.
All children thirteen and under who are living in the dormitory must be supervised at all times. While parents are in classes, this is normally done by enrolling them in the childcare program. If you are considering other arrangements, please discuss them with the SIL-UND Director before you arrive.
Older children must also be adequately supervised, but this doesn't require constant attention. Teens age 16 and above may be able to work in the childcare program; contact the SIL-UND Director for more information.
Childcare operates during most class hours (weekdays 8:00-11:00 and 1:00-4:00), allowing both parents to enroll in a full schedule of classes if they wish. When there are academic activities outside of childcare hours, parents are encouraged to work out private arrangements with each other or with resident teens.
For current charges, see the information on costs.
Important informational meeting
We will have an information/orientation meeting for parents before the childcare program begins, on the Sunday evening before registration day (see dates). At that time you can learn about expectations of children living in the residence hall, meet the childcare staff who will be working with your children and fill out necessary paperwork. At least one parent from each family that has children living in the residence hall or participating in the childcare program should plan to attend.
SIL-UND cares deeply about children and wants them to have a positive, warm, and safe experience. The emotional climate is family-friendly, with lots of opportunities to develop healthy relationships with adults. We are particularly concerned to keep children safe from sexual exploitation, but are concerned about all aspects of child safety. In order to promote safety in our environment, we (in cooperation with UND) pre-screen all students and staff, and all SIL participants are required to attend a training session (about 1 hour) at the beginning of the summer which focuses on child safety issues in the SIL-UND context and expectations about appropriate behavior with children. Childcare workers receive extra screening and training, and are assigned in such a way that children are always supervised by at least two non-related workers.
Items to bring
- Immunization records.
- Passport or official copy of birth certificate for each child.
- Any special sleeping equipment (cribs are not provided except in the nursery during childcare hours).
- Swim suit and play clothes for swimming, painting, arts and crafts, playing in the sand (in the volleyball court—a HUGE sandbox!), outdoor sports, playing in the gym, camping, etc.
- If you have camping gear (sleeping bags, tent) and have room to bring it, please do. The older childcare groups sometimes camp out overnight and will appreciate a sleeping bag and tent. Some gear may be rented from the student union.
- Many children bring bikes, trikes, etc. to ride in the courtyard of the dormitory (well away from traffic). Some parents allow their older children to ride bikes around campus.
- Occasionally, childcare groups will be able to view videos. If you have appropriate children's videos that you would like to bring to share, please do.
Children are divided into groups by age. Typically, there are separate groups for babies, toddlers, preschool, early elementary, and older elementary. Exact groupings are determined once we know who all is coming and are sometimes adjusted during the summer to better fit the needs of the children.
Babies and toddlers
Parents of young children may choose to take a reduced course load (father or mother or both), and to have their children with them during some childcare hours; this can be arranged with the childcare staff. Feel free to talk with the SIL-UND Director about any concerns you have about workload and your family's well-being.
Families with babies and toddlers often are assigned to bedrooms near their childcare groups. When this is possible, the children may be able to nap in their own beds during childcare hours.
Please try to make schedule adjustments (feeding and naps) before you come to SIL. It makes it much easier for your child to adjust. Regular classes are held in the morning and begin on the hour, starting at 8:00. Most people eat lunch at 12:00.
Disposable diapers are required during childcare hours.
For feeding, a bottle or cup is helpful; we are also supportive of breast-feeding. Mothers of infants sometimes choose to care for and feed their children in class; this is permitted (even encouraged) as long as it is not disruptive.
Health and special needs
Please do not allow your children to be exposed to chicken pox or other “childhood diseases” during the month preceding the beginning of the course. If they are exposed, please notify us in writing before you arrive so that we can help you prevent exposing other children and adults.
Please advise us of any special needs your children may have. We can often accomodate them but we are more likely to be able to do so if we have plenty of advanced notice.
Any further questions?
If you have any questions or concerns about the childcare program or family life in general at SIL-UND, please contact the SIL-UND Director.