Frequently Asked Questions


Below please find information on the ‘nuts and bolts’ that support our play-based, developmentally-appropriate curriculum and our teaching philosophy that is built on respect for, and attention to, the individual needs of each child.  

NCE Early Childcare Program FAQs

What is NCE Early Childcare Program?

The NCE Early Childcare Program (ECP), home of the Little Rockets, is a play-based, early childhood development center for infants, toddlers, and older children, located in The Needham Congregational Church. The program serves the families of Needham Public Schools faculty and staff. If space allows, the program also opens enrollment to families of the Town of Needham employees and Needham residents. 

What will my child gain?
Your child will be exposed to a rich environment filled with language arts, dramatic play, science, math concepts, social studies, art, and music. All of these learning experiences will also be great opportunities to socialize and grow. There will be a mix of emergent, teacher-directed and child-directed activities to meet the individual needs of each child.  

Who are the staff?
We hire teachers and assistant teachers that meet the Department of Early Education and Care qualifications. We employ caring, creative individuals who love working with children and foster a sense of wonder through developmentally-appropriate curriculum and play-based learning environments.

What does the daily schedule look like?
Each day is a mix of organized activities, free play opportunities, small and large group options, as well as individual playtime. There is a mix of gross motor and fine motor activities, quiet moments and rambunctious celebrations both in the classroom and outdoors. Feeding, napping, and diapering/personal care that follow the child’s schedule are also part of each day.

What are the hours of the center?
The ECP center is open 7:00am–4:00pm Monday through Friday. We follow the Needham Public Schools' district calendar and open in late August and run through the last day of school in June. The center is closed for school holidays, vacations, and summer break.  

What ages do you accept?
Our program serves infants (3 months) through Pre-K (5 yrs):
 - Infants: 3mos-15mos
 - Toddlers: 15mos-2yrs 9mos
 - Preschoolers: 2yrs 9mos-4yrs
 - Pre-K: 4yrs-5yrs

Can I enroll my child part time?
Yes. The option to attend 2, 3, or 4 full days is available. Please note that priority is given to full-time enrollments.

How can I apply?
Please use this link to submit your application. 

What are the tuition rates?
Our competitive tuition rates are based on program costs that fund this nonprofit childcare center. Please email us at [email protected] for current rates. 

How can I pay my tuition?
An initial tuition payment that will cover the first term, less your deposit, is due by June 15th. This payment can be made online, by check, or through NPS employee payroll deduction. 

For the remaining tuition payments, you may choose from the following options: 
  • Automatic Payroll Deduction: NPS employees have the option of 24 equal payments
     beginning with the first pay period in June and continuing for 23 additional payments
     through the following May.
  • Personal Check or Online Payment: Tuition is due, in advance, quarterly.
  • Installment Plan by Check or Online Payment: Advanced quarterly tuition can be broken up
     into monthly installments that satisfy the full quarterly amount, by the due date of that

Do I have to pay for holidays, vacations, or summers?
If your child is enrolled full time, you do not pay for holidays, school vacations, or summer break. The operating schedule is based on the NPS district calendar so you will not be charged for days that school was not scheduled on the school calendar.
If your child is enrolled part-time, holidays that fall on your scheduled day will be billed but you will not be charged for any vacations or summers.  

Do I have to pay for snow days?
You will not be refunded for a snow day, or other day that the Needham Public Schools close unexpectedly, under normal circumstances, but you will not be charged for any corresponding make-up days later in the year.   

Do I have to pay for days that my child is sick?
Yes. Our staffing ratios are based on your child’s schedule so you will be billed for absences. If there is an extended medical leave, please email Christa Kelleher, Director of the Early Childcare Program, to see if alternate arrangements can be made.          

If my child attends this year does he/she have a space for next year?
First priority is given to returning NPS District families. New NPS District families will then be considered before space is made available to returning or new community families. Once community spaces are available, returning community families have priority over new community families. 

How will you decide who gets a slot?
As noted above, we assign spaces within the parameters of the District priorities as noted in the section above (If my child attends this year does he/she have a space for next year?). If after fulfilling these priorities we have more applications than the remaining availability, we will fill those spaces focusing on the order in which we received the applications and implementing a lottery system if need be.  

Are most families returning?
Yes. We are excited to welcome back the Little Rockets of many of your colleagues. We are thrilled to have faculty from Needham High School, Sunita Williams, Pollard, High Rock, Eliot, Broadmeadow, and more, as part of our Little Rockets family.

Do you provide parent references?
Yes. Please email Christa Kelleher, Director of the Early Childcare Program, for names and contact information for references.

Can I visit the center before I make my decision?
Yes! We welcome visitors to the center. If you wish to schedule a visit, please email us at [email protected] to schedule a tour.

How can I get more information?
If you have additional questions, please email us at [email protected].

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