Schools & Child Care
Schools: Your school-age children are eligible to attend public schools at no cost in the town in which you live. The school year runs from September through June, although children may enter school during the school year when you arrive. Public school generally starts with kindergarten for children age 5, and goes through twelfth grade. Falmouth public schools are available from kindergarten through grade 12 for children between the ages of 5 and 18 residing in the town. Falmouth public schools are divided into four levels: elementary school, middle school, junior high school and high school. Falmouth has four elementary schools serving grades kindergarten through 4, located in the villages of East Falmouth, North Falmouth, Teaticket and the Mullen-Hall school in Falmouth center. Kindergarten entry age for the public school system is 5 years on or before September 1. Grades 5-6 attend Morse Pond School; grades 7-8 are at the Lawrence School, and Falmouth High School serves grades 9-12.
Daily sessions are Monday through Friday, approximately 6 hours except for kindergarten which is for only 2-1/2 hours (either morning or afternoon). During the school year there are three recesses: one week in late December to include Christmas and New Years holidays; one week in late February, and one week in mid-April. School buses transport children to and from all of the public schools.
There are several private day schools available: Falmouth Academy serving grades 7-12 and Cape Cod Academy which provides grades K-12 in the town of Osterville. The Waldorf School in Bourne and the Heritage Christian Academy also provide private elementary education.
Families need to bring verified medical records for their children to prove they have been immunized. The State of Massachusetts requires such records for children to enroll in school or participate in childcare programs.
More information on Falmouth, Bourne, and Mashpee public schools (including school addresses, phone numbers, principals, special programs, and bussing information), as well as information on summer programs, and private and technical schools can be found in the WHOI publication, Child Care and Family Resource Directory which is available free of charge for WHOI employees through the Human Resources Office.
During the summer there are many educational and recreational programs available for children (see section on "Activities for Children'' and the WHOI publication, "Child Care and Family Resource Directory").
Child Care: For the occasional care of young children, "baby sitters" from your neighborhood may be available. You can ask other parents in your neighborhood for names of reliable people to care for your child. Sometimes junior high and high school aged young people will babysit for evenings or afternoons when they are not in school. The cost for babysitting in your home varies. Many parents of small children are involved in informal play-groups where the children are brought together at someone's home and one or more parents take care of the group, with parents taking turns at having the play group at their home.
For regular scheduled child care away from your home, there are over 20 state-licensed day care centers and nursery schools in the towns of Falmouth, Bourne, and Mashpee. Another 20+ centers are located in the wider area encompassing the towns of Centerville, Osterville, Barnstable, Hyannis and Sandwich. These programs usually serve children up to the age of 6, with only a few providing care for infants. Information on the location, age groups and hours of these centers and schools is contained in the WHOI publication, Child Care and Family Resource Directory which is available free of charge for WHOI employees through the Human Resources Office. Families need to bring verified medical records for their children to prove they have been immunized. The State of Massachusetts requires such records for children to participate in licensed childcare programs.
A list of family day-care providers in the area is maintained by the Child Care Works agency (phone 1-800-338-1717, between 9 a.m. and noon). Family day-care providers are licensed to care for your child in their home on full-time or part-time basis (caring for a maximum of 6 children at one time). Arrangements can be made directly with the provider.
For long-term child care in your home, you may chose to find someone who will come into your home to care for your children. This is the most expensive form of child care. Information on such care providers may be obtained from the Child Care Works (phone number above, or the Child Care Resource Network of Cape Cod and the Islands (phone 1-800-649-4086).
Like most other services in this area, child care will probably cost more than you are used to paying. It is difficult to report an average fee because programs vary so much. Information on costs should be obtained directly from each program.
WHOI's Committee on Work and Family Life offers information and networking on many parenting issues, family benefits and child care. Parents are encouraged to contact the Committee if they have questions and to watch for events and programs of interest on the WHOI Weekly Calendar and in the WHOI monthly newsletter. See committee listings at the back of the WHOI Telephone Directory for contact information.
Employment, Education, and Activities for Spouses
Employment: While the issues involving two-career couples are faced by all major employers, WHOI's responsiveness is limited due to its geographic location and to employment restrictions imposed by the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS). Spouses and family members in J-2 visa status may be given permission to work by the USCIS. Those who wish to apply for J-2 employment authorization should inquire in the Foreign National Office. The USCIS does not permit spouses and family members in B-2, F-2, H-4, TD or O-3 visa status to work in the United States.
Education: Tutoring in English (as a Second Language) may be available for spouses. Members of the community volunteer their time to talk one on one with foreign nationals. Contact your committee member to request a tutor.
An Adult Basic Education program at the Falmouth High School offers basic English, math, science and history courses for non-citizens. Although the Falmouth school system does not operate beyond the high school level, opportunities for higher education are available nearby at the Cape Cod Community College in Barnstable (a two-year junior college which is part of the state higher education system). In addition to the regular undergraduate curriculum, the College's Department of Continuing Education offers many different courses to people of all ages, including night courses.
Activities: For a general listing of activities in the area see activities listed under Recreation
Volunteer Outlets: Volunteers in Public Schools (VIPS), libraries, hospital. Volunteers at the Falmouth Hospital help in many ways giving many hours of free service to the hospital each year including operating a thrift shop and conducting other fund-raising activities.
Summer: Marine and nature based summer activities for children can be found at http://www.whoi.edu/seagrant/education/resources/summer. A list of summer programs can also be found on the WHOI Committee on Work and Family Life web site.
School-year: After-school programs, Falmouth Arts Council programs, Recreation Center programs, public library programs.
Information regarding these activities may be obtained from the schools, Falmouth Public Library, and Recreation Center.