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University Community Childcare

100 University Village
Ames, IA 50010

(515) 294-9838

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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

  Play- based mostly teacher led not formally in curriculum conducive environment
Language       more

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  • Tracing paper and other writing instruments
  • A well-stocked bookcase
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

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  • Puzzles
Time & space more

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  • Parquetry blocks, pegboards, and mosaic toys
  • Building blocks
Sci. reasoning/physical world more

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  • A place for science activities such as growing plants
Music more

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  • Musical instruments
Visual arts more

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  • Materials such as paint, ink, paintbrushes, crayons, markers, chalk, paper, etc.
  • Art work on the walls
Physical activity more

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  • A playground with climbing equipment
  • Bean bags, balls, and other objects that children can throw, kick, and play
  • Tricycles
  • Enough room for children to move around and play and a suitable indoor alternative to the outdoor playground on rainy days
  • Sandboxes and/or water stations for play
Other subjects taught

From the Director:

The Creative Curriculum for Infants, Toddlers & Twos and The Creative Curriculum for Preschool and the Creative Curriculum Developmental Continuum Assessment System for infant through preschool age children are used to guide the center staff in assessing children’s development and plan the daily curriculum to support children’s future growth and development. The curriculum includes goals and objectives for children’s learning in all areas of development: social/emotional, physical, cognitive, and language. Each curriculum guide is linked to the respective developmental continuum assessment system, which helps staff to identify and respond to children’s changing needs and interests. The continuum is based on the basic goals and objectives of child development and shows a typical sequence of development for each objective. Teaching staff will use on-going observation, collect artifacts for individual portfolios and analyze the information collected using the developmental continuum. This allows them to thoughtfully and responsively plan the daily and weekly curriculum for the children in their care.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

In our center, we commit to ensuring that children have opportunities to be involved in self-directed activities guided by an observant teacher. Children's needs come first – children are important enough to gain attention just by their presence, not by having to ask or use inappropriate behavior. Our guidance should revolve around building a child's self- esteem while teaching skills for self-discipline. Children need to be greeted and sent home with a smile!

Children's activities must be age-appropriate, planned, stimulating, and executed in a fun and safe manner. As teachers, our mission is to show love and respect in a caring, encouraging, and friendly manner.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

University Community Childcare (UCC) is a non-profit child care center whose purpose is to provide a developmentally appropriate early care and education program to families with children, particularly those families with student and/or working parents.

UCC’s goal is to provide children with a warm, nurturing environment in which they can live, learn and develop to their fullest potential, allowing their parents to attend school or work knowing their children are well cared for and happy throughout the day.

University Community Childcare considers the total child and his/her social, emotional, physical and intellectual growth. The Center provides services for the child, family and community. The Center's goal is to add to and strengthen, but not replace, the care, guidance and culture provided in the home.

Provide a physically and emotionally safe and healthy environment for children.

Create an environment which promotes the development of self-confidence and a positive self-concept.

Consider the overall development of the child, specifically their physical, cognitive, social and emotional development when planning the learning environment. Teaching staff assess children’s progress through observation, collection of artifacts and information shared by families to plan for their future growth and development.

Promote pro-social behavior, nonviolence and conflict resolution.

Respect cultural diversity and gender equality.

Work in partnership with parents, communicating regularly to bring greater consistency between the family and center teaching staff.

Provide nutritious meals and snacks throughout the day.

Provide services to parents at a reasonable cost so that they may complete their education, be employed, receive job training or achieve their family goals.

A Typical Day

Daily Routine

7:00 am Infant, Toddler, Full-Time preschool & School-age programs open with planned activities; developmentally appropriate for each age range/program

8:00 am Breakfast

8:30 am Flex-care Preschool and Morning Only Preschool program opens

10:00 am A.M. snack

10:00 - 11:45am Planned activities/outdoor time

11:45 - 12:00 noon Lunch (begins at different times in each room; lunch time lasts approximately 20-30 minutes)

12:30 p.m. Morning Only Preschool Program closes

12:30 - 2:30 pm Nap time (quiet activities are available for non-nappers)

2:45 - 3:00 pm P.M. snack

3:15 pm Planned activities/outdoor time

5:00 pm Flex-care Preschool program closes

5:30 pm Infant, Toddler, Full-day Preschool, and School-age programs close

This schedule is a basic outline for a day at the Center. Any major schedule changes will be posted (re: early snack to accommodate field trip). Infant feeding schedules are based on individual needs.

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

Parent/Staff Communication
Parents provide input to UCC staff through daily conversations, conferences, and annual program evaluations. Parents are always welcome to share information about their child with UCC staff. Parents are asked to share information about changes in routine that might affect the child’s care with UCC staff.
Center staff members are available on a daily basis to inform parents of their child’s activities at UCC. Staff members in each program also post the daily activities in the parent centers. Parents with a child in the infant or toddler programs receive information sheets about their child’s activities each day.

Parent Information Centers
Each room has an area for parent information. The daily sign-in sheet is posted here as well as menus and special announcements from the staff. Parents are asked to check the parent area daily.

Every month teaching staff from each program contribute specific information about their program to the parent e-newsletter. This e-newsletter lists upcoming meetings and events at UCC and is also a good source of information on various developmental skills, topics of interest, etc. Individual program coordinators will also help parents keep current by sending e-mail updates with information about new children and staff, special projects they’ve been working on, upcoming events and special requests.

Visiting the Center
In addition to joining children for meals and participating during field trips, parents are encouraged to spend as much time at the Center as their schedule permits. Parents will be supervised by teaching staff and will not be left alone with children. Teaching staff will be in proximity to visiting parents and will be available to intervene in situations between children and between the parent and children.

Resource center and community information
A resource library, located in the Center’s conference room, has many books for parents to browse through and borrow. The Center also keeps a community resource binder of information that may be of interest to families, both for recreation activities and professional services. In addition, the Center receives a variety of e-mail notices from community programs that may be of interest and will forward these to families. Program Coordinators can assist parents in finding information on particular topics.

Program Evaluation
Every year parents are asked to complete a program evaluation form. This review gives parents a chance to evaluate the Center’s performance and gives both the board and staff members a chance to obtain feedback and to better accommodate needs.

Parent Meetings
Semi-annual parent meetings will be held in accordance with the constitution of the Center. These meetings serve as a time to elect board members and update parents on the latest Center business. They will be held in the fall and spring of each year. Notice of the actual dates will be posted in the parent centers, forwarded via e-mail and in monthly newsletters.

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • Sit on the board of trustees
  • Hold social events at the school to build community
  • Fundraise
  • Are able to visit the school anytime we want
  • Go on field trips
  • Volunteer in the classroom
  • Receive newsletters

Modes of Communication

  • Notes
  • Phone Calls
  • Voice Mail
  • Email
  • Special Meetings
  • Two or More Regular Conferences
  • Drop-Off
  • Pick-Up
  • Regular newsletter/printed updates circulated to the whole school


Separation is Handled through:

  • Pre-entry meetings with parents at school

Handling Separation: From the Director

Parents are asked to bring their child into their program room each day. Parents and children have the opportunity to greet the child's teachers and find out what activities are available each day. Parents are welcome to stay as long as they'd like with their children. Parents are asked to say good-bye to their child before leaving and teachers will hold children and help them engage in play as needed. Most rooms have big windows with visual access to the parent parking lot and children can see their parents wave good-bye one last time as they go to work or school.