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Interested in Enrolling Your Child at UCNS?

We encourage families to learn as much as they can about the nursery school and the parent cooperative model before enrolling their child at UCNS. Families are invited to schedule school visits (which we called Come and Play Days!), as we feel that the best way to learn about UCNS is to spend some time playing in the classroom! If a school visit is not possible, our Registrar and Educational Director are happy to answer questions either by email or phone.

Families may choose to submit an application either before or after a school visit. To schedule a Come and Play Day, or if you have other questions about enrollment and the program at UCNS, please email the Registrar at, call our school office at (607) 266-9680, or fill out our Contact Us form.

UCNS enrolls children who are 3 to 5 years old. Children must be 3 years old by December 1st in order to enroll at UCNS. The diversity of the greater Ithaca area is reflected in the UCNS community. Children come from all types of families and represent a variety of economic, racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Our school also enrolls children with special needs. Our foremost goal is to support the children enrolled at UCNS along with their families.

Priority Enrollment

Some families are eligible to apply for priority enrollment:

  • Families with returning students
  • Siblings of current or former UCNS students
  • Families affiliated with Cornell University (the school’s land and building are owned by Cornell)

Families eligible for priority enrollment are asked to submit applications by February 1 and will be notified of their child’s enrollment status at UCNS by March 1. All other applications will be processed after March 15.

Application Requirements

Note: Children must be at least 3 years old by December 1 in order to enroll at UCNS.

To apply for enrollment for your child, please submit:

  1. An application form (contact our Registrar at, if you prefer to fill out a paper application.)
  2. A copy of your child’s birth certificate or passport
  3. A non-refundable $25 application fee

Note:  A copy of your child’s immunization and physical exam records are required for school attendance. In early July, a registration packet with more detailed instructions, information on required immunizations, and school forms is mailed to families enrolling their children at UCNS in the fall.

Universal Pre-Kindergarten At UCNS

UCNS is a community-based Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) site through the Ithaca City school district. Students who are eligible for UPK receive additional screenings and assessments throughout the year. Our teachers attend monthly trainings, which benefit all families. In order to be eligible for UPK, students must be 4 years old by December 1, enrolled 5 days (Monday-Friday) at UCNS, and live within the Ithaca City School District. UPK families may be eligible to receive a tuition discount.

Want to Learn More?

Families who are interested in learning more about UCNS are encouraged to schedule a Come and Play Day! During a Come and Play Day, children are invited to play during the school day, while their parents observe the classroom, tour the school, meet the teachers and learn more about the program at UCNS. Please fill out our Contact Us form or email our Registrar at for more information!

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