Schools & Childcare

Schools for Children

South Bend-Mishawaka-Granger community offers many options for elementary and high school education, both public and private.

Generally speaking, public schools are free to all children between the ages of 5 and 18, though parents may be required to pay a modest book and activity fee. Breakfast and lunch are served at school for an additional cost or you may qualify for financial assistance. Depending on where you live, your child may also take advantage of transportation provided by the school district to and from school and school-related activities. English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction is usually available, although your children may be assigned to a particular school in order to participate.

For more Information about the public schools in the area, please see the following websites:

You may also choose to send your child to one of the many private schools in the community. There may be further requirements for enrollment and a significant increase in tuition and fees, though you may qualify for financial assistance based on economic need or academic merit. A complete list of private schools can be found in the South Bend phone book under “Schools-Academic”.

Public School Enrollment for Children

Children entering school for the first time must be 5 years old before June 1st of the current year.

For first-time students, parents must furnish an official copy of the birth certificate and a record of immunizations (see the following note).

Children attending any Indiana School must meet immunization requirements. A complete record includes the date (month, day, year) of each immunization, along with the name of the physician or clinic that administered each of the following:

  • 3 DPT (Diptheria, Pertussis, Tetanus) vaccines, the last after age 4
  • 3 Polio vaccines, the last after age 4
  • 1 MMR (Measles, Mumps Rubella) after the age of 15 months
  • 1 MMR Booster at least 30 days after the original MMR vaccination

If further immunizations or boosters are required, you may make an appointment with the Immunization Clinic of the St. Joseph County Health Department, which offers immunizations either free or for a very small fee. If children have previously attended school, you must provide a transcript in addition to the immunization records.

Child Care Options

American Cultural Expectations for Child Care and Safety

Since child-raising customs differ from culture to culture, it is important to understand that in the United States, while the adults of a community take an interest in the well-being of each child, it is considered primarily the responsibility of a child’s parent, legal guardian, or designated care provider to ensure that a child’s physical, emotional, and educational needs are adequately met.

It is natural that one will take into account a child’s age, maturity, and health when making decisions about how best to provide for the above needs, but it is important to note a few basic concerns.

  • Infants and very young children should never be left unattended, even for a short time, on playgrounds, in cars, or at public buildings. If you must leave your home for any reason, take your child with you or have another responsible person stay with your child while you are away.
  • School-age children who return home after school are sometimes left alone until an adult returns later in the afternoon. Only children who are able to remain in the home safely should be left unattended.
  • A child should know at all times how to contact a parent or other responsible adult in case of emergency. In most cases, children who are home after school without adult supervision should remain in the home until an adult returns.
For a variety of information regarding child care and safety, visit:

Selecting a Child Care Provider

The following site offers information about how to wisely select a child care provider: Remember that international spouses in F-2 status are not legally eligible to receive compensation in exchange for providing child care services.

Child Care Provider-Daytime

The University of Notre Dame and St. Mary’s College sponsor two daycare centers known as Early Childhood Development Centers (ECDC).

The centers are open to children between the ages of two years and five years. The fee is based upon gross family income. Space is limited, so you must apply according to an enrollment schedule and according to a priority established for each center. You will find more information and an online application form at the ECDC link above.

The Office of Human Resources also provides information about local childcare providers on its website.

Child Care Providers - Evenings and Special Events

If you are away regularly in the evenings, you may want to consider making arrangements with a child care center or other licensed child care provider. Not all daycare centers and child care ministries provide evening hours.

For occasional hours, day or evening, parents often work out a cooperative arrangement with other parents or hire a “babysitter”. Babysitters are frequently young and unlicensed child care providers whom you hire by the hour. Wages range from 5-20 dollars an hour depending upon a number of factors. Adult child care providers, who bring considerable skills and knowledge to bear, should be compensated at higher levels.