Contact Accessibility Services: 617-495-1880
 

For Student Parents

  • For Policy and Administrative Board Matters: Ellen M. Cosgrove, Associate Dean and Dean of Students, 617-495-1880
  • For Classroom, Exam, Medical Leave/Accommodation Issues: Lakshmi Clark-McClendon, Assistant Director of Student Services, 617-496-2437

Academics

Harvard Law School does not offer a part-time J.D. program. However, if you need some ideas about how to maintain a manageable academic load in light of your family responsibilities, make an appointment to meet with Dean Cosgrove to discuss options.

In cases where the structure of a lecture hall or classroom makes it difficult for a pregnant student to be seated, the Dean of Students Office can arrange for an extra chair or another appropriate seating accommodation to be available during your class.

In circumstances where a student needs to miss an occasional class because of family responsibilities, a classmate may be able to check out a recording device for use in recording lectures. Recorders are available from Media Services. You or your classmate must obtain the professor’s permission before recording a lecture.

If you have to miss a class due to illness or an unavoidable medical conflict, please get in touch with the Dean of Students Office, who can contact faculty for you to explain your absence from class.

Any student – including new and expecting parents – may take a personal leave of absence from the law school. It is possible to take a leave mid-semester for medical reasons (in which case your tuition for the remaining semester or year will be refunded) as well as to request a full semester or more in advance. Note that a 1L who departs for a leave in the middle of fall or spring semester must return the next year at the beginning of the fall or spring semester, respectively, to complete his or her first-year requirements. Extending a leave from a semester to a year or beyond one year is possible, though the latter requires a petition to the Administrative Board with which Dean Cosgrove or Lakshmi Clark-McClendon can assist you. A student wishing to take a personal leave should follow the instructions available here to submit a request to the Registrar’s Office. Students may also set up an appointment with Lakshmi Clark-McClendon if they want to discuss the possibility of taking a medical leave.

1Ls whose scheduled courses conflict with childcare responsibilities, please contact the Dean of Students Office

If a student is aware of a pregnancy or parenting-related issue that could affect exams, please contact Lakshmi Clark-McClendon to discuss possible accommodations. Accommodations are arranged through the Dean of Students Office: please do not contact your faculty member about possible accommodations for exams.

Financial Aid

The Student Financial Services website has a detailed explanation of the adjustments made to the financial aid packages of students with spouses and/or children here. In short, financial aid packages of students with families include additional fixed allowances from gross income for a spouse and for each child, for health insurance for a spouse and for each child, and for a car (for students who have small children and/or a working spouse). Parenting students who have a working partner may also request a “reasonable” allowance for child care, the amount of which is not fixed. If you have specific questions about financial issues related to child care, please contact Denise Ryan, Assistant Director, Program Development and External Relations for Student Financial Services, at dbryan@law.harvard.edu.

Students with children who work at a public-interest job after 1L year are eligible for the 2L-level SPIF grant.

Housing

Students with children are not eligible for on-campus housing but may choose to live in Harvard-affiliated housing managed by Harvard Real Estate Services, two of whose buildings (Terry Terrace and 29 Garden Street) are close to the law school. Information about HRES housing, as well as guidance in locating off-campus private housing, is available here.

Peer Support

Many students with partners and children belong to the Parents at the Law School (PALS). PALS and the Dean of Students Office hold many events throughout the year for couples and children. Please contact the Dean of Students Office for additional information.

Nursing Room

There are two private nursing rooms on campus equipped with refrigerators and hospital grade breast pump available to Harvard affiliated nursing mothers. Please contact Stephanie Russo in the Dean of Students Office for details.

Child Care

There are six Harvard-affiliated child care centers in Cambridge and Boston. Each center is independently operated and manages its own enrollment:

Botanic Gardens Children’s Center
26 Robinson St, Cambridge
P: 617-496-0595
Fax: 617-496-8428
Kathleen Parrish, Director; Amy Abelli, Assistant Director

Harvard Yard Childcare Center
25 Francis Ave, Cambridge
P: 617-547-3432; Email
Fax: 617-576-0107
Kaori Hattori, Bonnie Ryan, Co-directors

Oxford Street Daycare Cooperative
25 Francis Ave, Cambridge
P: 617-547-3175; Email
Fax: 617-491-1492
Michelle Taylor, Director; Courtney Martell, Assistant Director

Peabody Terrace Children’s Center
900 Memorial Dr, Cambridge
P: 617-496-9160; Email
Fax: 617-496-9051
Katy Donovan, Director; Maura Sullivan, Assistant Director

Radcliffe Childcare Centers, Inc.
10 DeWolfe St, Cambridge
P: 617-495-3504; Email
Kathy Amon, Director; Rebecca Moser, Assistant Director

Soldiers Field Park Children’s Center
1 Soldier’s Field Park, 101, Boston
P: 617-495-2680; Email
Vaughan Cate, Director; Melissa Chieppo, Assistant Director

Web Access to Care at Harvard Portal (WATCH Portal)
This service connects faculty, staff, and student parents with student babysitters within the Harvard community. If you need child care in the future, please register and feel free to browse caregiver profiles. If you are actively looking for child care now, please post a job! Find it all at WATCH.harvard.edu.

General Resources

The Dean of Students Office is a resource for parents at the law school. Are you thinking of having a child? Are you worried about balancing parenthood with law school? Our office works with students navigating their academic responsibilities with family responsibilities. We also manage the on-campus nursing rooms.

The Office of Work/Life Resources helps members of the Harvard community meet family-related challenges, and in particular helps with childcare and schooling questions. The office serves as the liaison with the six Harvard-affiliated childcare centers. A Family Resource Handbook, published by the Office of Work/Life Resources and by the Medical Center of Work and Family, is available upon request. Parents are invited to begin by consulting the office’s website. P: 617-495-4100

The Cambridge Child Care Resource Center is a resource and referral agency and a clearinghouse of information on childcare in the area. On their website, there is a search form to locate local care options specific to parents’ needs. There are also a number of free publications including a list of questions to ask and things to look for in choosing a childcare provider and a listing of Massachusetts’ childcare regulations.

Babysitters or other part-time or occasional care is usually found through referrals. In all cases, parents should be sure to ask the babysitter for references and previous experience with children. Some suggestions:

      • The Harvard Student Employment Office can give parents a list of students willing to babysit or accept the parent’s notice seeking a babysitter.
      • Private agencies are listed in the yellow pages but generally charge much higher fees. Parents in a Pinch is one such agency providing a range of services including last minute babysitting.

* If parents know they will be needing childcare, it is never too early to do research, contact potential providers, or put their name on waiting lists.

Types of Care for Younger Children (under 5)

Childcare centers provide care in a group setting with planned activities. The children may be grouped according to age or placed in a mixed-age grouping. The staff are trained and supervised, and the centers are open every weekday, except in severe weather or during holidays or vacation. Most childcare centers offer full- and partial-day enrollment; a parent selects and pays for a specific time slot. A childcare center must be licensed by the state’s Department of Early Education and Care and conform to the EEC regulations for staff-to-child ratio, group size, staff qualifications, and facilities. Centers will vary in philosophy, size, number of qualified staff in each classroom, site and facilities, degrees of parent participation, and whether they are for profit or nonprofit.

There are six Harvard-affiliated child care centers in Cambridge and Boston. Each center is independently operated and manages its own enrollment:

Botanic Gardens Children’s Center
26 Robinson St, Cambridge
P: 617-496-0595; E-mail
Fax: 617-496-8428
Kathleen Parrish, Director; Amy Abelli, Assistant Director

Harvard Yard Childcare Center
25 Francis Ave, Cambridge
P: 617-576-0107; E-mail
Fax: 617-576-0107
Kaori Hattori, Bonnie Ryan, Co-directors

Oxford Street Daycare Cooperative
25 Francis Ave, Cambridge
P: 617-547-3175; E-mail
Fax: 617-491-1492
Michelle Taylor, Director; Courtney Martell, Assistant Director

Peabody Terrace Children’s Center
900 Memorial Dr, Cambridge
P: 617-496-9160; E-mail
Fax: 617-496-9051
Katy Donovan, Director; Maura Sullivan, Assistant Director

Radcliffe Childcare Centers, Inc.
10 DeWolfe St, Cambridge
P: 617-495-3504; E-mail
Kathy Amon, Director; Julie Gillcrist, Assistant Director

Soldiers Field Park Children’s Center
1 Soldier’s Field Park, 101, Boston
P: 617-495-2680; E-mail
Vaughan Cate, Director; Melissa Chieppo, Assistant Director

Nursery schools/preschools offer group programs for children who in most cases are at least two years and nine months old. They usually run for three hours, from 9 a.m. to noon. Extended days are often available, with some programs running until 3 p.m. or later. Nursery schools are also licensed by the EEC. The schools vary greatly as to philosophy, emphasis, and degree of parental involvement. Some cooperative nursery schools involve parents in their day-to-day operations and therefore are somewhat less expensive. In order to be assured of a space, it is advisable to apply at the beginning of October of the year before the child will enter.

Family providers are licensed by the state’s Department of Early Education and Care to take care of a limited number of children in their private homes. Family providers run their own businesses and set their own policies and rates. They also generally offer flexibility in enrollment and fee structure. Family providers may care for up to six children without an assistant, provided that no more than three of the children are under two years of age and at least one of the three is at least 15 months old and can walk unassisted. Large family childcare homes can be licensed to care for up to 10 children; however, there must be at least two providers.

Family providers vary in terms of experience with children, the nature of activities, the physical environment, availability of materials/equipment, and the number of children they care for. It is important to visit the family day care home, speak with the provider, and make detailed arrangements in advance.

In-home care is a system in which children are cared for by a live-in nanny or au pair, or by a caregiver who comes to your home on a daily basis. Generally, this childcare arrangement provides the parent with the most flexible hours and, if necessary, more hours of care than group or family care. An au pair is generally a young adult from another country who is in the United States for a year as part of a cultural exchange program, who lives with a family, and who can provide limited childcare assistance. For in-home providers, it is essential to carefully check references.

Public Schools for School Age Children: Each city or town has its own public (government run) schools for children aged 4 or 5 to 18. By law, these schools are free for those who live in the community. The school year normally begins in early September and continues through the third week in June. You must contact your local school department to inquire about its enrollment procedure. In general, to register a child in school, parents should bring proof of the child’s age (either a birth certificate or passport), current immunization records, and proof of local residency.

      • Cambridge Public School District: P: 617-349-6400 (main line)
      • Somerville Public Schools: Parent Information Center, P: 617-625-6600, x6962

* International students: Please note that as long as you live in a community, that city or town is obliged to enroll your child in its school system, regardless of your nationality, the timing of your arrival, or the length of your stay.