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If you have very young children who are too young for school and both parents are away during the day, you will need to enroll them in a day care center. Day care can be very expensive, with fees running to hundreds of dollars a week. When selecting a day care facility, it is important to ask whether the day care facility is licensed and monitored by the state. Visit during the day, and check whether the children are well-cared for, clean and happy. Count the number of children and the number of adult supervisors. Ask whether employees are screened for criminal records.

School-aged children

Public Conventional Schools

In most public schools, education including textbooks and bus service is free (schools in some States charge book rental and registration fees). Boys and girls attend classes together, Monday through Friday, seven hours a day. Hot lunches are usually available for purchase or your child may bring a lunch from home. You may enroll your child in the English as a Second Language program if he/she has shown a need on the English Enrollment Test.

To enroll your child in the school, visit the school with your child and complete the registration forms. You must bring a birth certificate and proof of immunization against certain diseases. It is also a good idea to bring your child's previous educational records (translated if necessary).

The city may also offer specialized programs for students with special interests, talents, or needs. For example, there may be special schools for students in the arts or students with disabilities. Special procedures must be followed for admission to these programs. Some of the programs will have a competitive entrance examination.

Mandatory English language instruction is provided to all children who are not native speakers of English.

Parochial Schools

These schools are church affiliated and partially subsidized by the church and partially by the family. Children learn the same basic subjects as in conventional public schools but may also study religion. Sometimes children are required to wear uniforms and may be subject to more rigid guidelines. Some parochial schools separate the girls from the boys, but this is not usually the case. Hot lunches are provided at the school and you may be asked to volunteer with various school activities. In order to enroll and/or learn more information about the schools available to you, look under schools in the yellow pages.

Private Schools

These schools are fully funded by families and outside donations. The philosophy of the schools varies greatly so parents should visit the school and read about its philosophy before enrolling children. Tuition can run to several thousand dollars a year -- as much as a college tuition.