General FAQ

How do I get information about DPNS programs and apply for admission? Applications and written information about our preschool and playgroup programs are updated annually and are located at our central Davis site, 426 W. 8th Street or available for download from the website (see Application Info page). If neither of these options works for you, contact one of our Registrars to arrange for mail delivery. DPNS programs follow the Davis Joint Unified School District calendar, late August to mid-June. Admission to our programs is for the entire school year. Open enrollment for the following Fall occurs every year during the month of March with a firm application postmark deadline of April 1st. Applying during the open enrollment period offers you the best opportunity for admission. However, after April 1st, we will continue to accept applications on a first-come-first-served basis.

How do I visit the school? We host a spring Open House at both of our school sites in March. This is a great opportunity to check out our facilities, meet our Directors, and chat with current DPNS families. To preserve the quality of our programs, we cannot accommodate drop-in visitors. If you are unable to make the Open House or are enrolling mid-year, you may visit the school accompanied by one of the Registrars. Please contact our Registrars at for further information or visit Our Programs page.

The moment my child is born, do I need to get them on a waitlist? No, no, no, and no. We do not maintain a perpetual waitlist. We only accept applications for students who are age-eligible for our programs (as of August 31st). Each year, everyone who wants to attend DPNS has to apply or re-apply during the spring open enrollment period. This includes everyone: continuing students, new families, and families waitlisted during the previous year.

If we are a family new to DPNS, is it hard to be admitted? Every year, many new families are enrolled in DPNS. You may not get in to your first-choice session when class lists are posted on May 1st, but your chances of getting your first or second choice by the end of the summer are excellent. Your chances of enrollment are greatest if you apply by the Open Enrollment deadline of April 1st (for the following Fall) and list more than one session choice on your application. Even during the year, we sometimes have spots available in sessions with shorter waitlists. Please contact a Registrar at, or if you have questions about enrollment in a specific session visit our Program Info page.

Do the Directors get to pick who is in their session? No. The Registrars will review the preliminary class lists with the Directors as a group. The only information the Directors will see is enrollment status (e.g., continuing student versus continuing family), age and gender. If a Director is not happy with the age or gender balance, they may ask us for the ages and genders of the first 5 children on the waitlist (within a priority group), and may propose changes to the class list. Any change has to be considered by all Directors, since a change in one session might adversely affect another.

When will I know if I got in? We hope to have class lists posted internally by May 1st. Around the same time, we will notify waitlisted families by email or regular mail. If you did not get your first choice, don’t lose heart! You will automatically be added to all applicable waitlists, and there is always some movement over the summer. We will not be able to tell you your precise spot on the waitlist, but can give you a general idea.

Is there a secret strategy to ranking my preschool session choices on the application? No, honesty is the best policy and flexibility is to your benefit. We fill each session independently and, at the end of the process, we will offer you a spot in your highest ranked session that we have been able to place you in. If you did not get into your first choice session, your name will remain on the waitlist for that session until we have been able to offer you a spot. The more choices you give us, the greater chance we have of placing you. In our process, we try very hard not to penalize people who offer us several ranked choices.

As a continuing student that is accepted, can I forget about my remaining participation requirements? (Don’t worry. No one has actually asked this) No. No. No. Just prior to forming our preliminary class lists, we will check with Directors and auction organizers to see if any families are not on track to fulfill their participation requirements and/or are delinquent in paying tuition. Based on this information, some families may be offered “provisional” enrollment. If they don’t end the year in good standing, they will lose their spot in the session.

Open Enrollment FAQ

Do I really need to put a 2nd or 3rd session choice? YES! Even for high- priority applicants, placement in your first- choice session is not guaranteed. If you are placed in your second or third-choice session, you remain on the waitlist for your first choice and a registrar will contact you should a space become available.

What does “child’s current status” mean? The registrars determine enrollment in each session based on the priority group status of your child and/or family. Although priority group status qualifiers are not cumulative, it is important to check all that apply so that the registrars make sure to place your child in the highest priority group applicable.

How do the registrars create the class lists?

After April 1, the registrars will review all applications received and pull those postmarked by April 1. The rest are put on a secondary waitlist for placement only after we have attempted to place all on-time applicants. Applications are sorted by first session choice; the registrars then work session by session to fill each class.

Within each particular session, applications are further sorted by the registrars by priority group status. The priority groups are outlined in the DPNS Handbook under “Policies and Procedures.” The registrars place students in each class in order of priority, starting with the “a” group. Each student fits into only one priority group.

If an entire priority group will not fit in the available class spaces, registrars will lottery the entire priority group.

Starting with the lowest lottery number, students are placed in the session until it is full. The remaining students begin the waitlist for that class.

Sessions can fill before placing all of the continuing students in their first-choice session. This is why it is so important to enter a SECOND CHOICE on your application. The registrars lottery all remaining priority status groups in order to organize the waitlist in order of priority and lottery number.

After this process is complete, the class list may still change in order for us to fulfill our obligation to keep the classes balanced by age. If the registrars see that the class has ages that are not distributed across the age range, or that an individual child does not have a peer within a few months of their age, we may have to enroll a child with a higher lottery number to keep the class balanced in accordance with DPNS policy and California child care licensing guidelines.

Once the class lists are finalized, they are posted at each site and families are notified via email of their child’s placement. All waitlists remain confidential.

What happens if my child doesn’t get in?

The registrars fill each session independently and, at the end of the process, they will offer you a spot in the highest- ranked session that they have been able to place you in. If you did not get into your first-choice session, your name will remain on the waitlist for your first choice until the registrars can offer you a spot. The more choices you give, the greater chance you have of being placed in a session.

What if my child is not age eligible for the session I want?

Each application has attached to it an Age Range Exception Form. Please fill out the Age Range Exception Form to apply for an age exception for your child. The Director of the program you are applying to will review the information and make an executive decision based on the child’s developmental and social needs. The program Director may request a meeting with you and your child to assess placement in the program.

How can I find out exactly where I am on the waitlist?

You can’t. Waitlists remain confidential after they are created because of our need to balance sessions by age . The applicant at the top of the waitlist may not be offered the first open spot if their enrollment would jeopardize the age balancing of the class. The registrars can, however, give you a good idea of your waitlist placement. Call or email a registrar and they will tell you what tier you are in on the waitlist. (Tier 1 = 1–5, Tier 2 = 6–10, Tier 3 = 11–15, etc.)

When will I hear back about my application status?

The registrars create the class lists; they are then approved by the directors to ensure age balancing. Once confirmed, the registrars will notify all applicants of their status via email. This entire process takes a week or two.

If I have any other questions, whom can I ask?

A registrar, of course! Please contact Erin Phister ( or Katie Magid ( if you have any questions or concerns about how the enrollment process works.