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Enrollment FAQs

Waitlist & Priority System

Can you explain how the enrollment process works?

Please see the Enrollment Process page for a detailed explanation.


No, you can apply as soon as your child is born.

When should I apply?

As early as possible. You will not receive a short list space offer email until 4-5 weeks prior to your desired entry date.

What will be the quickest way to get a space?

To ensure that you receive chances at all future spaces, under days required list "Any" and choose "Flexible" on which days, if possible. Keep us informed if there are any changes to your information by emailing Please not submit a new waiting application form.

Can you estimate when a space will come open?

No. A guess will not be comparable to last month or even last year’s enrollment at the same time. This is because space availability is dependent upon the lives, schedules, needs and timetables of over 400 different families.

Typically, we cannot estimate space availability more than 30 days in advance. This is due to the fact that parents are only required to give 45 days notice when withdrawing their child from SFU Childcare. We tend to have more spaces available in September than any other months of the year as more children move into school age care or leave the childcare all together. Although there are no guarantees, this may provide more opportunities to offer spaces to community families, providing we have accommodated those in the University, Alumni and UniverCity priority groupings first.

My original waitlist application was for the Infant and Toddler Age group and I have yet to be offered a space.  My child is now 30 months old.  What happens now?

If you have not been offered an infant and toddler space by the time your child turn 30 months, he/she will be moved up to our 3 to 5 year old waiting list. The Provincial Child Care Licensing Regulations stipulate that when a child turns three in an Infant and Toddler program, they must move out of this program one month following their third birthday.  At SFU Childcare, we are not able to consistently move children turning three who are already in an Infant and Toddler program, so we do not enroll children close to turning three. Another limiting factor is that the same provincial regulations only allow two children under the age of three to be enrolled in a 3 to 5 year old program. If we are in a position to enroll under three year olds, priority is given to those toddlers currently enrolled who are over 30 months. Therefore, there will probably be a period of the time when you won’t receive a shortlist space offer email until closer to your child’s third birthday.  

Is the same criteria followed if my child is on the 3 to 5 year old waiting list and is 4.5 years old?

Yes, if you have not been offered a space in a 3 to 5 year old program by the time your child turn 4.5, he/she is moved to the 5-8 year old waiting list. 

Why don’t you provide a number for me on the waitlist?

Providing a number for each parent would not give an indication of when they will get a space. There are many criteria that are necessary to follow before a child gets an offer for a space. What their priority status is, how soon they want a space, do they have a sibling attending SFU Childcare, child's age, etc.

Do you have only one list for all children?

Yes. Once on the list, it can be sorted by the different age groups and priority status.

Why can’t I get a space that I know is coming open?

SFU Childcare has a waitlist that is based on date of application and priority status; someone on the list may have a date of application that is prior to yours, or may be in a different priorty group.

Why can’t my second child take a space that was filled by their sibling?

Although siblings of children already enrolled have a higher priority, we do work off a waitlist that is based on date of application and priority status; someone on the list who also has a sibling enrolled may have a date of application that is prior to yours.

Do students get priority over staff?

The first priority status for both the east and west sides of  campus are Students, Staff and Faculty of SFU and SFUCCS Employees (in no particular order, but based on date of application). The second priority status is SFU Alumni. The third priority is UniverCity Residents and the fourth priority status includes anyone that does not meet any of the above criteria. (Community status)

Why can’t I put my child under my sister's/brother's/cousin's University status?

University status is restricted to the Parent/Guardian.

is part time care AVAILABLE?

Occasionally, we may be able to accommodate part time children in our Infant and Toddler and 3-5 year old programs. Our preference is to enroll children full time. Our School Age programs offer full time spaces only. 

if part time care is available , can i choose the days that i need?

No. Two part time children share a space to make up a fulltime equivalent space. These two children need to attend on different days (one 2 days, one 3 days). We find that having children attend on consecutive days is more beneficial to their wellbeing. The preferred day combinations for 2x a week are Mon/Tues or Thurs/Fri. 3x a week would be Mon/Tues/Wed or Wed/Thurs/Fri. No 1/2 days are available. You can come for fewer hours, but you will be billed for a full day. 

What is the turnaround time that I have to accept or decline a space?

You will have 24 hours to respond, or you will be advised upon receiving the offer what time limitations there are.

If you offer a space to us and we accept it, can we postpone it for a couple of months?

If you want to pay for keeping the space that is possible, but if you do not want to pay for the space for these months we would offer it to the next person on the waitlist.

Why do we have to sign our Parent Agreement right away?

A copy of the signed Parent Agreement is sent to the program which initiates the orientation process, and informs staff of a new arrival. If a parent changes their mind about accepting a space, the entire procedure must be repeated again and can delay the eventual start date.

While in Care

Do I have to participate in orientation?

If you want your child to attend SFU Childcare Society, you must attend the orientation and gradual entry required for your age group even if your child has completed orientation in a different program here or at any other organization.

When is my first payment due?

Your payment by cheque, cash or direct debit is due upon first day of attendance. Please note the direct debit from your account will typically be processed 3 -5 days prior to the 1st of each month. It will come out of your account on the 1st or the next business day.

Do I have to pay for the full month even if I will not be here for the first few days?

The fee is for the entire month. If you have accepted a space, you are responsible for paying for the entire month.

Why do I have to make my direct debit payable on the 1st of each month?

A flat fee is charged to SFU Childcare by the bank to process direct debit payments, along with a per-item fee. Each time we process payments, we are charged this flat fee. For cost savings, we only do this once per month. If you are not able to have the payment deducted on the 1st of each month, we suggest that you continue to pay by cheque. It is also not possible to submit your direct debit form on (for example) January 31st for February payment. The process of direct debit takes about a week, so all payments for February are usually processed on January 24th.

Can I split my child's days between two programs ?

A child cannot attend two different age groups at one time. It would be very difficult for a child to cope and schedules and staffing ratio may not make this possible.

Why can’t I bring my child before 8:00 (7:30 School Age) to their Program?

Staff members are paid to start from 8:00 (7:30 School Age) onwards. If they are in the program before that time, it is on their own time as they prepare themselves to be ready to start at 8:00

How do I renew my parking pass?

The staff in your child’s program can provide this to you.

If I start one program can I transfer to another program of the same age?

Typically moving from one program to another of the same age group is only done under very extreme circumstances and must be done in consultation with your program’s Senior, Program Director and/or Executive Director. Moving to a different program of the same age group is not done to accommodate enrollment needs.

What if I get in and need more or less days?

An Enrollment Change Request form is available on the Parent Resources page. Or you may make this request via email: A decrease or increase of days is not automatic; it will depend on space availability and must be requested through the Childcare Office. It may take several months to accommodate your request depending on what time of year you request the change, what age group you are in, and whether or not your child is in a part time centre. We do not break up full time spaces.

Why can it take so long to go from a full time space to a part time space?

Programs typically have 4 spaces that are allotted for part time care. You must apply for one of these spaces if you require part time care. We do not break up full time spaces. Sometimes enrollment can remain stable for longer periods of time, for example during school sessions. Part time care is more costly to operate and sometimes harder to fill and is therefore limited in each program.

Why do we need to give 45 days notice when we withdraw from a program?

When a space becomes vacant 45 days notice is the minimum that allows us to:

a) Give the next children on the list the opportunity to give notice, make plans and prepare for this change

b) Allows adequate time should an in-complex child need to be moved up, or for the 2nd or 3rd spaces to be filled

If the demand for childcare is so great why can’t you just build more Programs?

There are several reasons why this does not happen. A few reasons are: that money is needed for capital projects and space for additional buildings must also be available. Most importantly consideration needs to be given to the financial cost of running and staffing that program, as not all programs are self-sustaining financially. Finding qualified staff can also be problematic.

Changing Age Groups

When should I apply for the next age group?

You only need to apply one time. You remain on the list for all age groups.

My toddler needs to move to a 3-5 age program,what does this mean?

Toddlers are required to move out of their space at the end of the month in which they turn 3. This is a requirement from provincial licensing. The only time that we are able to keep a child for an extra few months in this age group is when:

a) Both staff and parents feel the child is not developmentally ready to move up to the next age group

b) We can guarantee that there will be a space available for this child at a designated time (usually a few months from when they must leave). SFU Childcare Society must apply, along with parents and program staff, to licensing for this type of exception. There is not always an automatic approval for this type of retention in a toddler program.

When will I hear about my child moving up to the next age group?

Toddlers and children in 3-5 can expect to hear of spaces becoming available at the beginning of each month.

Can my child move up to a 3-5 program without being toilet trained?

We expect you will work with staff to help your child be prepared when they move to a 3-5 program. However, setbacks can occur when any change happens. This is normal and staff is ready work with the child and parent to resolve this.

How do you determine if a child is ready with their toileting to go to a 3-5 year old program?

Based on our experience, there are a number of behaviors and indicators that indicate toileting readiness for a 3-5 program. These include: long periods of dryness. Interest in other people's toileting habits. Willingness to sit on the toilet/potty on their own. Awareness of being wet. Verbalizing urine and bowel movements on the toilet/potty. Urinating or having a bowel movement on the toilet/potty. Being emotionally, cognitively and physically ready to understand what is taking place. Using regular underwear (not diapers or pull ups) during the day. Can pull up or down their own pants. Will use or let adults know they need to use the bathroom. Are able to use the child-sized toilets. Can turn on and off taps to wash their face and hands.


When did Sapperton open?

November 1, 2022

What are the hours of operation? 

The Infant/Toddler and 3-5 programs will be opened from 8:00 am to 5:30 pm

The School Age programs will be opened from 7:30 am to 6:00 pm

When will we be hearing whether we will have a space in one of the programs?

Once we have a definite date for opening the programs we will be in contact to confirm spaces. Please check our enrollment page for priority status.

School Age Childcare over Christmas, spring and summer break

Full-day care is available during winter and spring breaks and on non-instructional days for both schools.

Transportation for School Age Children

Children attending Armstrong Elementary will walk to school with an educator from the program.

Those children attending Seaforth Elementary will be transported by bus to the school.