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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do you have any openings? Is there a waiting list?
    Currently, all of our classrooms are full. For all ages, our waiting list is at least a year out, and in some cases, it could be longer. There are very few openings that come available during the school year. For infant care (children under 12 months old), we don't anticipate openings before Fall 2025. The best way to request additional information is via email, Please include the age of child needing care. School age care for summer 2024 is full.
  • What ages of children does Lakes Early Learning Center provide care for?
    Lakes ELC provides care for children ages 6 weeks through 5th grade. We offer before and after school care and summer care for school age children. Lakes ELC has 7 classrooms, so children will be in an age and developmentally appropriate class.
  • What are the hours of operation?
    Monday – Friday from 6:30 am – 5:45 pm
  • What days is Lakes Early Learning Center closed?
    We are closed on the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. Lakes ELC will close at noon on New Year’s Eve. If the holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, it will be observed on either the preceding Friday or following Monday. In addition to the holiday closures, we dedicate two days a year to staff development – a day in the spring and a day in the fall. At least 8 weeks notice will be provided so families are able to make alternate arrangements for care for their children. Each year, Lakes Early Learning Center wants to show appreciation to our staff by hosting a staff holiday party. In order to allow all staff to be able to attend, Lakes Early Learning Center will close at 5:00 pm on one Friday in January. The date will be announced no later than December 1st to allow families time to plan for the early closure.
  • Does Lakes ELC close due to inclement weather?
    We understand that many parents still must work, even if there’s inclement weather. Lakes ELC will do our best to remain open and continue providing care.
  • Does Lakes Early Learning offer part-time care?
    Yes, Lakes ELC provides part-time care options for either 3 or 4 days per week. The days will need to be set days. Occasionally, we can provide part-time care for less than 3 days per week or drop-in care based on enrollment.
  • What is the weekly tuition?
    Weekly tuition is based on the child’s age and the number of days per week the child attends. Please reach out to us, and we’d be happy to share more information regarding tuition.
  • What is included in the weekly tuition?
    Lakes Early Learning Center provides several unique benefits that are included in the weekly tuition. We understand families are busy, so we want to help make life a bit easier for you. For your convenience, the following are included in the weekly tuition: personal care items (diapers, wipes, toothbrush, and sunscreen) nap items (cot/crib sheet & sleep sack or blanket) School age before & after school tuition includeds late starts, early dismissals, and no school days (including breaks). No additional charges will be billed for days off, including unscheduled days, during the school year. Lakes Early Learning Center hosts family events throughout the year that we invite parents & siblings to participate in. Outdoor classroom and nature exploration area These benefits are all included in addition to the normal benefits that you would expect be provided with your tuition, such as learning materials, healthy snacks & meals, daily updates, convenient parent app, and engaging activities & lessons.
  • Does Lakes Early Learning Center offer vacation days?
    Yes, Lakes Early Learning Center offers 10 vacation days annually for children that attend full-time after one year of enrollment.
  • Are meals and snacks provided?
    A morning snack, lunch, and afternoon snack are served each day. All meals and snacks are nutritious and filling, and they are cooked on-site in our kitchen according to the USDA’s Children and Adult Food Care Program standards. When possible, we strive to use fresh ingredients. Children will have opportunities to help prepare their own meals/snacks and learn about food and nutrition.
  • How are allergies supported?
    At Lakes Early Learning Center, management, classroom teachers, and the cook partner with families to ensure the child’s allergy plan is followed to create a safe environment for the child.
  • How often do the children play outside?
    At Lakes Early Learning Center, our classrooms extend beyond the physical walls. Polk City is a City of all seasons, and we truly believe that. Time spent outside provides endless opportunities for play & exploration, and it’s a great time to expand on learning that takes place inside the classroom. The outdoor space features an outdoor classroom and nature exploration area. We are fortunate to have somuch nature in our own background. In addition to our own outdoor classroom and play area, we are fortunate to have access to so many outdoor options that are “right in our backyard” – Saylorville Lake & Recreation Areas, Big Creek State Park, Jester Park, and of course, all of the parks & trails within Polk City. All children will have the opportunity to spend time outside year-round. Most of our classes will go outside at least twice per day, dependent on the weather. When outside play is not feasible due to weather, gross motor opportunities will be provided inside
  • What kind of activities will my child do during the day?
    Your child’s day will be a balance of large group, small group, and individual activities that promote and enhance the development of his/her physical, communication, social emotional, and intellectual skills. We encourage learning through play. To many, it may just look like play. However, while the children are having fun playing, they are learning valuable skills such as problem solving, sharing, & counting. Each classroom prepares weekly lesson plans, and the lesson plans are shared with families. Lakes Early Learning Center’s curriculum provides the teachers with guidance to ensure the activities are developmentally appropriate for their class.
  • Is there an open-door policy?
    Family visitors are welcome at any time. In fact, we encourage & love family involvement! There are opportunities throughout the year for adults to help in their child’s classroom such as class parties or field trips. We also invite family members to join their child for lunch, read a story to the class, or spend some time playing. Mothers are welcome to breastfeed their infants at the center.
  • Are there opportunities to connect with other families?
    Throughout the year, Lakes Early Learning Center offers several opportunities for families to participate in and to connect with other families beyond just in passing in the classroom or hallways.
  • How can we communicate with our child’s teacher?
    Strong and positive communication is key! We encourage families and teachers to communicate in person. Our teachers are scheduled so that families can connect with their child’s teacher multiple times during the week at drop off and/or pick up. In addition to face-to-face communication, Lakes Early Learning Center invites families to utilize our center app to stay up to date on their children’s day. Families are also welcomed to call the center to speak to their child’s teacher.
  • Do you provide transportation to + from school?
    Yes, we provide transportation to North Polk elementary schools for transitional kindergarten through 5th grade. We also provide transportation to the PM session of 4 year old preschool.
  • Do families have to sign their children in and out?
    Yes, we do require families to sign their children in and out each day. There are sign in/out kiosks in the entryway. Safety is our top priority, and it is vital that we have accurate records of who is in the center at any given time. If we must evacuate the building, this will help us to ensure that all children are safe and accounted for. We ask families to partner with us to make sure our attendance records are accurate and ensure the safest environment for the children.
  • Is your program accredited?
    Lakes Early Learning Center strives to provide top quality care. We are in the process of applying for the Iowa Quality for Kids (IQ4K), the State of Iowa’s Quality Rating System (QRS). Participation in Iowa’s QRS is voluntary, but we believe it is important to go above and beyond the standards set by Iowa’s Department of Human Services. We anticipate receiving our Level 3 (out of 5) Quality Rating Summer of 2024.
  • Can we tour the center?
    Yes. Tours typically are best between 9:00 - 11:00 am to allow you to see as many of the classrooms in action as possible. However, we are able to accommodate other times if needed.
  • How can I get more information about Lakes Early Learning Center?
    We are excited that you are interested in learning more about Lakes ELC. The best way to request information is via email. Please email Please be sure to include the age of child needing care. We look forward to sharing more information with you about our program.
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