What is the admissions process?

Registration begins in January of each year.  The registration forms can be found on the website.  Each child, including current students, needs a completed registration form.  This registration form must be filled out completely and submitted to the preschool office along with the $100 registration fee.  These forms may be submitted in person or by mail.

What is the wait list process?

The only wait list that we carry is a wait list for the school year that we are currently in. The Full Day program runs from September to the end of August. The Half Day Programs run from September to the end of May.

How long is the wait list?

The longevity of the wait list is dependent on the class.

How is priority determined for the wait list?

Priority is determined by the following:
Current re-enrolling families
Church Members of Columbia Baptist Church
Alumni Families
New Enrolling Families

What is the typical wait time for a child on the waitlist?

The wait list time varies from year to year. It also is different from program to program. The wait list also varies depending on the age level of the class.

If my child is waitlisted and is not offered a spot during this calendar year, do I need to resubmit my application along with the application fee to keep my child on the waitlist? And, will the original wait list date be applied?

If your child is waitlisted for the current school and does not receive a spot during that school year you will need to re-register and pay another $100 registration fee if you want to register your child for the upcoming school year. (Ex. If you registered for the 2016-17 school and were wait listed and were not offered a spot for that calendar year, but you want them to attend in 2017-18 school year then you would have to fill out a registration form and pay another registration fee for the 2017-18 school year.)


My child misses the cut-off date of September 30 by a few weeks – does this mean my child will be placed in a younger class?

We follow the public schools age cut off. If your child does not make the September 30th cut off date they will be placed in the class of the age that they are by September 30th.

If my child is enrolled, will she/he be moved to an older class later in the school year?

Your child will end the school year in the same class that they began the school year.

Do you offer academic or play-based early childhood learning?

We are constantly reading the most up to date research regarding best practices in early childhood education. Experts in the field constantly stress the importance of play-based learning and engagement with the outdoors. Our approach can be described as playful, project based learning with an emphasis on outdoor explorations. Please see our Philosophy of Education statement.

Do you follow a specific curriculum?

The CDC is a Reggio Emilia inspired center that uses children's ideas and interests as curriculum drivers. Children and teachers plan learning activities and projects together. The children offer their ideas, questions and perspective with the teacher tapping into his or her knowledge base, experiences and research skills to scaffold and support children's learning. Teachers use observational data, video clips and photographs to capture evidence of children's learning and to more deeply understand where each child is in the learning process. These data are used for child and teacher reflection as children and teachers consider where to go next with learning explorations and projects. Every day, the program offers one-on-one adult attention, promises children that they can choose interesting things to do, and gives children a sense of control over themselves and their surroundings. Our teachers plan experiences for children that encourage independent thinking, initiative (the ability to make and follow through on a plan), and creativity. Young children's capabilities develop quickly when they can act on their own ideas, use materials freely, and exercise their imaginations. We also encourage curiosity, decision making, cooperation, persistence (staying with their ideas), and problem solving. Children also extend their conceptual knowledge of literacy, math, science, and other academic areas that will be further developed in elementary and secondary school.

Please also read the CDC's Philosophy of Education

Is your program faith-based?

Yes we do have a faith based component that is woven into the children's daily routine.

Are children from different faiths accepted?


How often will my child have chapel?

Chapel is held twice a month in the Sanctuary. Each class is assigned a specific day and time to attend Chapel. Chapel includes, prayer, singing, and a Bible Story.

What is the teacher/student class ratio?

Our student to teacher ratios meet or are better than the VA State recommendations for child care centers. The teacher to student ratio depends upon the age of the children.


18 month olds - 1 teacher/4 children

2 year olds - 1 teacher/6 children

2 1/2 year olds - 1 teacher/8 children

3 year olds - 1 teacher/10 children

4 year olds - 1 teacher/10 children

Jr. K. - 1 teacher/10 children

How many children are in the classes?

Class sizes vary from age to age.

Are the classes equally balanced between girls and boys?

We try to balance our classes equally with boys and girls.

What are your hours?

Full Day: 7:30 am - 6:00 pm

Half Day Morning: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

Bilingual Afternoons: 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Do you offer tours?

Yes. We offer tours on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month at 10:00 am.

Is lunch offered for Half Day students?

Children in the morning and afternoon preschool classes have the option to participate in our Lunch Bunch program, offered Monday through Friday. Program includes lunch as appropriate & additional play time.

Schedule & Fees

Morning Program

12:00- 2:00 pm $20 per session


Afternoon Program

12:00-1:00 pm $10 per session

Parents may purchase a non-refundable 10 day pass at a 10% discount. Lunch Bunch is limited to first come first serve with 20 spots available. Sign ups will be posted at the beginning of the week. Lunch Bunch fees must be paid in full on a monthly basis.

Do you provide breakfast?

No, we do not provide a breakfast. We do allow those child who are dropped off early (between 7:30 - 8:15 am) to bring in a breakfast to eat. We ask that any food products brought in is nut free.

Are snacks provided?

The Columbia Child Development Center follows the licensing guidelines for nutritional content and serving size to ensure that all students are served appropriate amounts for their dietary needs. All food is cooked on-site.

Students enrolled in the morning or full day program receive a morning snack.
Allstudents enrolled for the full day program receive lunch. If your child has food allergies, an alternative will be provided.
Students enrolled in the afternoon or full day program receive an afternoon snack.

May I send a lunch with my preschooler?

The center provides a hot and healthy lunch each day for the children.

What if my child has a food allergy?

Due to an increased need for Epi-Pens, we are aware of the severity of allergies in our center. While the CDC is an allergen alert center, Columbia's kitchen is used for many purposes including weddings, funerals and outside catering which may prepare foods that contain nuts. Our kitchen is thoroughly cleaned and while no nuts are served to CDC children, nuts may have been prepared in our facility. The Classroom teacher will post a photo of the child listing the allergens in order for any adult or teacher providing food to be aware.

Does the staff have emergency training?

95% of our teaching staff are First Aid/CPR trained. We also have several staff members that are either PMAT or MAT trained. All members of the Director/Office Team are MAT Certified.

My child may need his/her inhaler during the day - can that be administered?

Yes we have several members of our teaching staff that are MAT certified, as well as all members of the CDC Director Team.

Are children required to nap?

According to VA State Licensing Regulations there is a required 30 minute rest time for children who attend for 5 hours or more. During this 30 minutes the children are required to lay on their cot/mat quietly. If after the 30 minute required time the child is not asleep he/she will be given a quiet activity to do on their cot/mat.

My child is not yet fully potty trained - can s/he enroll in your preschool?

Yes. We do not require children to be potty trained but expect that all 4 year old children are already potty trained. We would like to know in advance if your 4 year old is not yet potty trained.

Should I stay in the classroom to get my child settled when s/he first starts preschool?

Most children find a goodbye routine to be helpful that includes a clear goodbye from a parent. Leaving an object that belongs to a parent such as a bracelet, scarf or t-shirt is often comforting for children. Lingering for long periods of time can actually heighten children's separation anxiety. Teachers and parents can work together to identify separation strategies that work well for each child.

Are parent/teacher conferences held?

Yes. We hold parent teacher conferences twice during the school year. These conferences are usually held in November and April of the current school year. The center is closed during parent teacher conference day. You will also receive an end of the year report from your child's teacher usually the end of May or beginning of June.

Do the preschoolers wear uniforms?

Here at Columbia children do not wear uniforms. We ask they wear weather appropriate clothes as they will be outside several times a day. We also ask that they wear closed toed shoes.

How can I keep up with what's going on in my child's class?

Your child's teachers will communicate with you directly in regards to the happenings in their class. They use many different forms of communication, such as email, personal phone calls, What We Did Today's (usually posted outside of the classroom), and many other ways. Each classroom varies to how they communicate with parents.

The office sends out communication to families as well. These communications are usually for center wide happenings. The office will send out a monthly newsletter and emails.

What schedule do you follow regarding holidays?

The CDC follows the Federal Government for all school closings/delays, and holidays. We are closed the Friday after Thanksgiving but are open on Veterans Day.

Must my child be immunized to attend?

Yes we require that all children who attend our center have or are on a schedule to have the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended immunizations.

How much is tuition?

Tuition is collected through SMART Tuition Management Company. This is a monthly direct debit system from your bank account. For tuition rates please visit the Tuition tab on the website.

Do you offer sibling discounts?

Yes we offer a 10% sibling discount.

Do I pay tuition when we are on vacation?

Yes tuition is paid on a monthly basis even if your child does not attend a week.

What if I need to pull my child out of school before the end of the year?

Parents are to provide written notification a minimum of 30 days in advance of a child's withdrawal from the school. Withdrawal of a child prior to the end of the school term without 30 days' notice will result in the forfeiture of the enrollment deposit. (For example, your child's withdrawal is scheduled for April 15. Written notification must be given by March 15 in order to not lose your tuition deposit. At the time of your withdrawal notification, you would pay March tuition and any outstanding fees. Your April tuition would be covered by the deposit, regardless if your child only attends a portion of the month). Subsequent re-enrollment will require the payment of the registration fee and enrollment deposit, and is subject to availability of classroom space.

The Full Day Program is a year round program with promotion to the next age level taking place each year the Tuesday following Labor Day. Families are not permitted to withdraw their child from the program for the summer and return in the fall. In order to maintain your child's enrollment, tuition must be paid for each month, even if your child will not attend.

Where is the entrance to the CDC?

The main entrance to the CDC is labeled Entrance 1. This is the entrance with the portico overhang.

Is summer camp available?

Yes we offer several options for summer camp. The summer camp term is from June to August each year.

Grade School Camp
9:00am - 4:00pm, Monday through Friday with optional before (7:30-9:00) and after (4:00-6:00) care hours.
Completed Kindergarten-2nd Grade and 3rd-6th Grade

Preschool Day Camp
Half Day Option: 9am-1pm, Monday through Friday, for children ages 3-5 years old and potty trained.

Does my child need to know Spanish to participate in the Bilingual Program?

No, children will develop a familiarity with the language as they are regularly exposed to it.

Will the exposure to a second language jeopardize my child's English language acquisition?

"Studies have demonstrated that knowing more than one language does not delay the acquisition or impede academic achievement in English when both languages are supported. Research on Children who learn English after their home language has been established- usually around 3 years of age- has also shown that most young children are capable of adding a second language and that this dual language ability confers long-term cognitive, cultural and economic advantages. The early childhood years are critical for developing mastery of the sounds, structure and functions of language and thus an ideal time to expose children to the benefits of two languages." (Challenging Common Myths About Young Dual Language Learners: an Update to the Seminal 2008 Report excerpt)