Frequently Asked Questions
What are your hours?
- 9:30AM — 12PM for AM Bears, Owls, Frogs and Foxes
- 12:30PM – 3PM for PM Bears
Please note that on days when you are the helping parent, you arrive 1/2 hour before class to help set up, and leave 1/2 hour after class ends.
What are your class sizes?
- Bears: 8
- Owls: 12
- Frogs: 14
- Foxes: 14
All of these are well below the maximum allowed by state licensing. We choose to keep our classes small in order to provide more individualized attention and have our community small and intimate by design.
What is the maximum child-adult ratio of each class at Dulin?
- Bears: 4:1
- Owls: 6:1
- Frogs: 7:1
- Foxes: 7:1
State licensing’s ratios are considerably higher. Through our 40+ years of operation, we have found that these smaller class sizes are the most beneficial for our families and our staff.
What are the age cut-offs?
Children must reach the appropriate age (i.e., Bears must turn 2) by September 30 of the calendar year in which the child is enrolled. There are no exceptions to these age cut-offs, even if your child “misses by one day” or “can keep up with the older group.”
How much is tuition?
Parental involvement keeps our tuition rates low, while allowing us to pay our teachers a professional salary.
What is your potty-training policy?
At Dulin, we recognize that potty proficiency is a developmental milestone that varies widely among children, and accidents can (and do!) happen. As much as parents would like for toilet training to happen on their schedule, it can only happen on the child’s timetable.
Children in our Bears classes are not required to be potty-trained.
Children in our Owls, Frogs, and Foxes classes should be potty-trained — or at least be actively working on it.
Do parents teach the classes?
No, our certified, professional teachers teach. Parents only assist the teacher. Our teachers undergo required training throughout the year and are paid a professional salary.
Do you require background checks for teachers and co-oping adults?
Yes, two formal state background checks (Virginia State Police and Child Protective Services/Department of Social Services), plus personal references, a negative TB test, and four hours of required training annually for every member of our staff — and yes, that includes any parent or caregiver who desires to work in the classroom. We are extremely solicitous about the safety and well-being of our children.
Dulin Preschool will pay for background checks for up to two adults per family; if you choose to have more than two adults certified to work in the classroom, you will have to cover the background costs for those extra individuals yourself. TB test costs are the responsibility of the helping adults as well.
How do parent volunteers obtain the required training hours each year?
Our Parent Education chair brings in speakers on a variety of topics throughout the school year. You are welcome to suggest topics you’d like to see covered. Attendance at our mandatory Orientation and Membership meetings, both of which feature parent speakers, also go toward the required hours. If you are unable to attend any Dulin-sponsored training opportunities, we also accept proof of having attended a parenting class. The Parent Ed chair can help you determine what events qualify as appropriate for your Dulin training requirement.
Does Dulin Preschool include religious instruction?
No, as a parent-run co-op, our curriculum is entirely secular, except for saying a simple nondenominational grace before snacktime. Classes may explore holiday traditions of any faith — for example, during the winter, children may learn about the secular aspects of Christmas, Hanukkah, Diwali and Kwanzaa.
Is there a full-day or extended-care option?
Can my child be enrolled in more than one class — for example, both the AM and PM Bears?
Do children in the PM Bears adjust to the afternoon timeframe?
They do. Some parents are hesitant to even consider an afternoon class, but we urge those families to take another look before dismissing the possibility outright. We have found that most children do very well in the afternoon class. We know the afternoon nap is sacred during toddlerhood, but consider where your child will be developmentally by September. Is she ready for more social experiences? Does he love learning?
Having a slightly different schedule two days out of seven is usually not a big deal, and the children are so engaged and excited about being in school that sleep is often the last thing on their minds! If you are still unsure about the timeframe, let us know how we can address your questions. There are plenty of satisfied Dulin families who can speak first-hand about how they made the afternoon class work for their children.
How do you accommodate gifted children?
At Dulin, all children are gifted! Children of all abilities thrive in our play-based curriculum.
If your curriculum is play-based, does that mean there are no academics?
Age-appropriate academics are included in every class, but the focus is on learning through experience and play, not through a lot of seat work. Children learn at their own pace, and the focus is on play and socialization. Academics emerge via experiential play, crafts, activities, role-playing, and taking part in a variety of activities in the course of every school day.
What is the role of the Teacher/Director?
The Teacher/Director is in charge of the day-to-day operation of the preschool. Under the direction of the Executive Board, the Teacher/Director administers the educational program, collaborates with the teaching staff and oversees the use and maintenance of the facilities and equipment. She ensures the consistency, quality and implementation of our play-based curriculum, and works with the teachers to provide a developmentally appropriate environment that reflects our school’s philosophy. She consults with teachers about all students, conducts student observations as needed, addresses needs or concerns regarding individual students, and responds to parent concerns. In addition, she works with the administration of Dulin United Methodist Church to ensure a smooth, cooperative relationship between the Church and the preschool. She is also a non-voting member of the Executive Board.
What is the role of the Administrative Director?
Can a working parent or family participate?
Yes, we have many families who make room in their schedules for participating in a co-op despite busy schedules — whether they work outside the home or not. As a rule, working parents should have a certain amount of flexibility in their schedules so they can meet the co-op and committee responsibilities. However, Dulin Preschool can’t take the place of daycare; we have no extended-day option for those needing full-time care.
How often will I work in the classroom?
With full enrollment, you can expect to be scheduled to co-op once or twice a month. Occasionally you may find yourself working more or fewer days in a given month, depending on scheduling issues in your child’s class (e.g., vacations, pregnancy/birth), but it all evens out by the end of the year. Our Participation Chair carefully tracks days worked and swaps.
How do I know when I’m going to co-op?
Can siblings be brought into the classroom on co-op days?
No, state licensing does not permit siblings of any age to be in the classroom. You are responsible for finding childcare for siblings on the days you work in the classroom. If you do not have a regular sitter, we can sometimes help you set up a baby-swap with another Dulin family. Many Dulin families have handled child-care this way, and they have found the swap not only solves a child-care issue, but can result in wonderful new friendships!
May I “buy out” of my co-op responsibilities?
We firmly believe that co-oping is an integral part of our preschool philosophy. All families are expected to co-op equally.
What will my classroom responsibilities be?
All Dulin Preschool families are required to work in their child(ren)’s classroom(s) on a rotating basis. Parents assist the professional teacher with activities and provide a healthy snack.
Please see A Day at Dulin as the “Helping Parent”.
Are you a member of NAEYC?
National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accreditation is a very common question on preschool-search checklists.
Dulin Preschool fully meets the criteria of NAEYC accreditation (the criteria is almost identical to Virginia state licensing, and we undergo unannounced licensing checks throughout the school year). However, the actual NAEYC accreditation process is very expensive (running into the thousands of dollars) and time-consuming. As a non-profit preschool with low tuition — not to mention a volunteer board of directors without the time or resources to work full-time on the accreditation process — we prefer to put our money into school operations instead of a professional designation. We will gladly address specific points of NAEYC standards (available on the NAEYC Web site) and how Dulin Preschool meets or exceeds them.