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 F.A.Q.'s

What is NCE Early Childcare Program?

The NCE Early Childcare Program (NCE 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 the families of the Town of Needham employees, as well as, residents of Needham. 

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 NCE ECP center is open 7:00am–4:00pm Monday through Friday. We operate on the Needham Public School district’s schedule thus, we open in late August and run through the last day of the school year in June. The center is closed for school holidays, vacations and summer break.  

What ages do you accept?
We serve infants (3 months–15 months), toddlers (15 months–33 months) and older children 34 months to those not yet eligible for Kindergarten.    

Can I enroll my child part time?
Yes. Although priority is given to full time enrollments, the option to attend 2, 3 or 4 full days is also available.   

How can I register my child?
Fill out the application form and submit it along with your $100.00 application fee to: 
NCE Early Childcare Program
Attn. Deb Tormey, NCE Bookkeeper
1330 Highland Ave. 
Needham, MA 02492   

Is the application fee refundable?
If the NCE ECP Director is able to guarantee you a space then the application fee is applied to your enrollment deposit. If the NCE ECP Director cannot offer a space then the application fee will be refunded in full.      

Is my deposit applied to my tuition?
Yes. Once your space has been guaranteed, a $500.00 non-refundable deposit (the $100 application fee plus an additional deposit of $400.00) is due within 14 days to hold your space. This deposit will be applied to your first term tuition.   

What are the tuition rates?
Our competitive tuition rates are based on program costs that fund this nonprofit childcare center. Please contact NCE ECP Director, Christa Kelleher, at [email protected] for current rates.     

How can I pay my tuition?
There are a few payment options: All tuition is due in advance. An initial payment is due by June 15th that will cover the first term, less your deposit. This payment can be made online, by check or through payroll deduction. 
For the remaining tuition due you may choose between: 
• 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 quarter. 

Do I have to pay for holidays, vacations or summers?
If your child is enrolled full time you do not pay for holidays, vacations or summer break. The operating schedule is based on the district calendar so you will not be charged for days that school was not scheduled on the school calendar. If you are 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 reach out to the NCE ECP Director 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?
We assign spaces within the parameters of the District priorities mentioned 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, Eliot, Broadmeadow, The Needham Preschool, High Rock and more, as part of our NCE ECP family. This group includes Becca Sparrell, the former Director of the Needham Preschool, who has also re-enrolled her son for next year. Together we are ready to blast off in Needham's newest educational adventure ... The NCE Early Childcare Program!  

Do you provide parent references?
Yes. Contact the NCE ECP Director, Christa Kelleher, at [email protected] for names and contact information for references.    

Can I visit the center before I make my decision?
Yes. We welcome visitors by appointment. Please contact the NCE ECP Director to make an appointment at [email protected]  

How can I get more information?
For additional information please email us at [email protected].

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