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Top Questions

What is Bright Horizons' process on checking the background of their employees?

Bright Horizons conducts a comprehensive background check on all prospective employees and frequent visitors. The background check consists of a county criminal record check for the past seven years performed in all counties that a person has lived, worked or attended school. In addition to the county criminal search , a sex offender search, OFAC search and a social security verification trace are also conducted. For all location employees, program licensing background checks required by the state are also performed.

Why a Vermeer & Bright Horizons collaboration?

The Vermeer-Bright Horizons collaboration brings together two organizations that share a strong commitment to high-quality care and a desire to meet the needs of working families.  This enables lower staff/child ratios and group sizes, and increased teacher compensation and benefits resulting in more qualified teachers.  Further, the arrangement ensures that the program meets the working needs of Vermeer team members.  Bright Horizons will secure the license to operate the center and will employ the staff.

What is NAEYC accreditation?

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has developed standards to define and recognize quality child care programs. In order to be accredited, a child care program must meet a variety of strict criteria, including having a well-trained faculty, good staff-child ratios and group sizes, and a comprehensive curriculum, as well as meet stringent health and safety standards. The program must also provide meaningful opportunities for family involvement.  Eighty percent of Bright Horizons centers are NAEYC accredited; the Yellow Iron Academy will also apply for accreditation, which can take three years from the time of opening.

Where can I learn more about other Bright Horizons locations?

Bright Horizons operates almost 600 child care and early education programs on behalf of employers across the U.S.  Of these, seven are located in Iowa, including:
Eagle's Loft Child Care Center - Ames, IA
ISU Child Care Center @ Veterinary Medicine - Ames, IA
Mercy Child Development Center - Des Moines, IA
University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Early Education Center - Iowa City, IA
Uncle Sam's Federal Child Care Center - Des Moines, IA
Principal Child Development Center - Des Moines, IA
Bright Horizons at the Downtown School - Des Moines, IA

No two Bright Horizons-managed centers are alike; each center is customized to reflect the values, cultures, traditions and heritage of their communities and the business goals of their sponsoring employers.  Although each center is unique, they all operate under the same high-quality care and commimtment to excellence.

To find other locations, please visit

Is there a multi-child discount?

There is not a multi-child discount at this time.

Can I visit my child at the center anytime I’d like to?

Absolutely!  Parents are an integral part of our program, and we welcome their visits.  Whether they are coming to nurse an infant, eat lunch with their toddler, or read a story to their preschooler, they are always welcome. 

Are all staff trained in CPR and First Aid?

Yes, all Bright Horizons staff are trained regularly in these areas, in addition to Universal Precautions and Mandatory Reporter.  You can feel confident that your child is safe and receiving the best care possible at our center.  In addition, teachers are required to take 20 contact hours of training in their first year of employment.

What are examples of logical and natural consequences?

  • Have age appropriate expectations of the child (toddlers can't wait),
  • Do not be judgmental (focus on the behavior itself, not the child or family),
  • Be consistent in limit-setting (follow-through on limit every time),
  • Do not make threats (don't threaten to call Mom),
  • Do make realistic consequences and follow-through on them (consequences should be age appropriate for the child to understand and should not belittle or humiliate the child).

How are the staff members selected?

A Bright Horizon's recruiter is assigned to help with locating, screening, and hiring staff.  We conduct required criminal background checks, as well as a comprehensive screening and interview process.  Employees are hired according to their ability to meet the educational and experience requirements for the position.  We will take into account how the candidate's philosophy of early childhood education agrees with that of Bright Horizons.

What is Bright Horizons' discipline philosophy?

Our philosophy is to promote self-control and to build self-esteem in the children in our care.  We use positive methods to encourage development of these behaviors.  We do not believe in nor do we practice corporal punishment or any other methods that would frighten or humiliate a child.  Positive reinforcement, conflict resolution and redirection are our primary methods of discipline.

Does Bright Horizons have a policy on use of time-out?

We do not use time-out as a discipline strategy.  Some children may need to be removed from the group if they are endangering others or themselves.  This is done with the teacher to help calm them down, talk things over or redirect the behavior, not by themselves such as traditional methods of sitting in time out alone.  Children can be redirected, however, to an other area or activity.

Who is eligible to attend Yellow Iron Academy?

The center is open to everyone!  Children and grandchildren of Vermeer employees have priority, and pay a lower rate.  Reference the rate sheets on the For Our Parents section to find both Vermeer and Community rates.  Full time schedules also have priority over part time schedules.  The center capacity for Infants-KPrep is 112 children, with 24 School Age spaces also available.

Does using the Academy impact our preschool decision?

Due to the educational focus at Yellow Iron Academy, you may choose to talk to Bright Horizons about how the program already contributes to your child's kindergarten readiness.  However, you are welcome to use the Academy, and still use local preschool and pre-K options.

How does Bright Horizons help prepare my child for school?

Bright Horizons regularly conducts systematic studies to assess children's preparedness for entering elementary school as perceived by the children's parents and elementary school teachers.  Through child-directed (emergent) and teacher-guided choices, the emphasis is on reading, writing, math, science, art, social skills and creative movement.  The program helps children approach school and academics with skills, confidence and the drive for excellence.  Key findings from the recent study include:

  • Bright Horizons graduates met or exceeded their expectations for school readiness.  Teachers 93% and Parents 97%
  • Bright Horizons graduates enter elementary school with a strong enthusiasm for learning.  Teachers 90% and Parents 99%
  • Bright Horizons graduates were well prepared with the reading and math skills needed for academic success.  Teachers 90% and Parents 90%.

Is transportation available to and from the local programs?

We do provide transportation to and from the Pella Community and Pella Christian school districts for the preschool and pre-k programs as well as transport our school aged kids to and from Yellow Iron before and after school. We are currently looking into transportation to and from other local programs but at this time do not have a system in place.  Please contact for more information.

Why is Vermeer making this investment?

There are several reasons.  Vermeer has always focused on doing for our people, based on the Vermeer 4P Philosophy, and is very committed to education.  This is an exciting way to give back to our team members.  Also, as noted in a recent EdWeek publication, early learning contributes to science, technology, engineering and math skills - exactly what we are looking for in the workforce of tomorrow:
Young children are natural-born scientists and engineers... Investment in early-childhood education is a workforce-pipeline issue.  Research has shown that high quality Pre-K cuts the rate of children being held back a grade in half; decreases juvenile arrests by a third; and increases high school attendance by a third, college attendance by a whopping 80 percent, and employment by 23 percent.  High-quality early-learning environments provide children with a structure in which to build upon their natural inclination to explore, to build, and to question.

Can I use Yellow Iron Academy as a backup?

Yes, you may sign up for back-up care.  Families will need to complete paperwork ahead of time, including an updated physical and immunization.  You will have to call in to make sure there is an opening for that day.  The cost is $25 per day your child is in attendance.

What is The World At Their Fingertips?

Bright Horizons curriculum, The World at Their Fingertips, is our unique curriculum designed to engage children in active learning that prepares them for school while helping them achieve their individual potential and fostering a spirit of community. It includes curriculum elements such as Language Works, Math Counts, Science Rocks, ArtSmart, Our World and Well Aware that cross all age groups. For more on information on our curriculum, click here.

How does the enrollment process work?

Enrollment offers will be extended based on the Enrollment Interest Form.  Families will have one week (7 days) from the offer date to accept and confirm enrollment offers by remitting a $75 check toward registration fees.  You will then be notified of your enrollment timeframe for completing and returning the enrollment paperwork and tuition deposit to the Vermeer Yellow Iron Academy.  Enrollment forms are available on this site, or enrollment packets may be mailed to families upon request via email or phone call.  Once enrolled, families will receive ongoing communications about touring the facility, meeting the teachers and more.

What resources does Bright Horizons offer to families?

Bright Horizons offers many resources to support families' efforts to nurture children's development, be actively involved in their education and balance work/life demands:

Center-Based Resources include:

  • Family Partnership Group
  • Family lending library
  • Parenting workshops
  • Special family events (curriculum nights, health and safety fairs, and Ready for School occasions)
  • Family volunteer opportunities
  • Family feedback forums
  • Daily communications (verbal and written)
  • Open door policy
  • Monthly newsletters
  • Collaborative partnerships between families and teachers
  • Documentation boards

Web-Based resources include:

Who is Bright Horizons and where are they located?

Bright Horizons is the leading provider of high-quality employer-sponsored child care and early education, managing centers throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, and India.  The company's mission is to help children, families, and employers work together to be their very best.  Bright Horizons-managed centers are supported by their corporate headquarters in Watertown, Massachusetts and regional field offices -- including a regional office in Chicago, Illinois.

How can I obtain information about tuition?

Vermeer and Bright Horizons have worked hard to balance the impact tuition has on families with the need to maintain the highest quality care possible.  Tuitions sustain and invest in the quality program, competitive teacher benefits and compensation, ,professional training, management and support for teachers, along with providing ample equipment and resources for children and families.  To find out more information about tuition, please contact the center directly.

Will the Academy be able to accommodate disabilities?

The Academy is wheelchair accessible for both kids and parents/grandparents alike.  If you have questions about your child's specific physical and/or learning needs, we encourage you to contact a member of administration at our center via phone or email.

What time do you have to pick up your child without penalty?

The center closes at 5:30 p.m. It is stressful for a child to be left at the center after closing, so we encourage parents to pick up by the scheduled closing time.  A Late Pick-Up fee will be charged for each child remaining in the center after the center closes at 5:30 p.m. The Late Pick-Up rate is $1 per minute for every minute past closing.

What type of security will be provided?

There is a security access system at all doors.  All areas surrounding the childcare property are fenced.  Severe weather and safety drills are practiced regularly, with children escorted to a shelter that is able to withstand F4 tornado conditions.

Is the Yellow Iron Academy a daycare, or is it more?

The Academy will provide a warm, caring atmosphere for children, but also an environment that will empower children to be confident, successful, lifelong learners.  Curriculum components cultivate a love of language and reading, a sense of wonder, an appreciation of art, respect for our world and positive attitudes toward healthy living.  Good nutrition will be fostered through the on-site kitchen.  And both indoor and outdoor play areas (including a garden plot!) will inspire their senses and motor skills.

What role do parents play in the childcare center?

Parents are a vital part of our program.  Your involvement, support, and satisfaction are keys to our success!  We encourage regular visits, as well as participation in special events and activities and sharing your talents.  We also have an active Family Partnership Group.  This group works directly with the center's management to plan events, address concerns and assist in creating a wonderful environment for our families and staff in the center.  There are many opportunities for parents to participate in Family Partnership meetings, and attend workshops and center events.  Regular communication is also essential through face-to-face conversation, phone calls and written notes.  Bright Horizons conducts annual parent satisfaction surveys to help constantly improve our work with your family.

Are you allowing prospective parents to visit centers?

Yes! Prospective parents can schedule a center visit by completing our Tuitions and Openings form from our center website. 

How is Bright Horizons ensuring the health and safety of families and staff at our centers?

At all of our centers, rigorous health and safety practices are a foundation of the way we care for children. These include:

  • An illness and daily health check policy that strives to mitigate the spread of illnesses
  • Frequent cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces and toys; frequent laundering of soft items 
  • Regular maintenance of the center, equipment, and supplies, updating and replacing items as needed 
  • Secure entrances to all centers 
  • Strict handwashing and sanitary policies to prevent the spread of illnesses 
  • Curriculum that emphasizes healthy practices for children 

Strict safety and security procedures are designed to keep our families and staff protected. 

What are the educational goals of Bright Horizons?

During your search for the perfect child care partner, this is among the most important questions you can ask.  For over 30 years, we’ve been a company that is guided by our HEART Principles and an unerring belief in putting children first. 

At Bright Horizons, we know that childhood is a treasured time. We believe it is our responsibility to provide environments and experiences that capture the joys of childhood, nurture each child’s individual growth and development, and pave the way for success in school and life. We promise to:

  • Nurture and care for the whole child
  • Craft and integrated curriculum based on expert research
  • Support and develop each teacher
  • Implement an emergent, inquiry-based approach to learning
  • Cultivate curiosity and creativity through projects, exploration, and play
  • Encourage children to be confident experimenters and problem solvers
  • Build an inclusive and respectful community
  • Create joyful places for childhood

Can children with special needs enroll in a Bright Horizons center?

Yes! Bright Horizons strives to and has successfully accommodated a wide range of special needs and individual differences in our group programs.  We believe in inclusive programs that attempt to meet the needs of a wide range of children and which focus on each child’s strengths. We support a collaborative team approach – the teacher, director, specialists, and parents. The team will work closely together to try to maximize each child’s opportunities for learning, growth, and development, and to attempt to eliminate any barriers or safety issues which a group program may present.

Does Bright Horizons perform background checks on its employees?

The safety of the children in our care is our highest concern.  Bright Horizons maintains stringent hiring practices and conducts criminal background checks on all teachers and caregivers in our centers. This check includes a criminal record search and a cross-reference check to determine prior convictions or other records of criminal activity that would call into question an employee’s’ suitability to care for children. Additional elements of our required background checks include verification through the Office of Foreign Asset Control and Sexual Offender Database Search. The frequency for updating criminal background checks for employees depends on state or other center-specific requirements.

What is The World At Their Fingertips?

Our research-based World at Their Fingertips® curriculum meets children where they are developmentally, with Signature Practices that build confidence and excitement about learning at every age and stage. In every classroom, our goal is to help children do more than learn; it’s to cultivate the joy of learning. And our emergent approach — teaching skills by leveraging a child’s own interests — enables teachers to tailor activities and projects for the specific talents and needs of each child in the class. Learn more about our specialized programs for babies, toddlers and preschool children, and how we prepare children for school and life beyond

Are all staff trained in CPR and First Aid?

All Bright Horizons center staff are trained in CPR and first aid.  Once an employee is hired, they are required to fulfill 16 hours of training through our new employee orientation. This training takes place over a two-day period, where the employee spends time observing each age group in the center. Teachers must successfully complete first aid and CPR training, in addition to local licensing and/or Department of Health requirements (e.g., food handler safety card.)

I'm interested in applying for a job at this center. Is there someone I can contact?

Absolutely! Named one of Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For 20 times, we are proud of the environment we create for our educators. We are always looking for great teachers, and offer competitive benefits and innovative programs. like our Horizons Teacher Degree program. For job listings and to complete the application process, please visit the Bright Horizons jobs and careers page at

Where can I learn more about other Bright Horizons locations?

We have many centers across the US, and each center reflects the unique personality of its leadership and community. To find the best fit for you and your family find a child care center near you.

I'm not quite ready to enroll in the center but I am interested in continuing to hear about what is happening at the center. How can I get information more regularly?

We encourage any family interested in center information, regular updates, and invitations to the many events we are planning, to contact us.

What is NAEYC accreditation?

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has developed standards to define and recognize quality child care programs. In order to be accredited, a child care program must meet a variety of strict criteria, including having a well-trained faculty, good staff-child ratios and group sizes, and a comprehensive curriculum, as well as meet stringent health and safety standards. The program must also provide meaningful opportunities for family involvement.

What if I’d like to enroll but the center doesn’t have space available?

Finding the right daycare and early education solution can be a lengthy process. Our best recommendation is to start early! Even if your preferred Bright Horizons center doesn’t currently have space available, we still recommend registration for your first choice center.  At Bright Horizons, you can register at up to three locations. Once registered, we will add you to our wait list and you will be offered a space as soon as one is available. For many families on a wait list, Bright Horizons offers the ability to enroll at a nearby center on a temporary basis, or until your first choice center becomes available. If you’d like further advice on how to find the best preschool for your family, take a listen to our webinar on finding a quality preschool program.