Monday, July 27, 2009

Daycare Decisions

We are getting closer and closer to Jen going back to work so Jen spent some time last week checking out the local daycare providers. I think I may have mentioned in the past that we plan to send Grace to daycare 2 days a week. She will be spending 1 day a week with my mom and 2 days with Jen's parents. Our major motivation for sending Grace to daycare is socialization. So overall we are looking for a place that will be fun for her. We have pretty much decided against an in-home type daycare as we prefer a school-like setting. To help out with our decision we ranked the 3 places that Jen visited on the criteria that are most important to us. We kept it simple by just ranking 1 to 3, 1 being the lowest 3 being the highest.

Daycare 1

Jen and I went to an open house at this place earlier in the summer and we initially thought this is where we would be sending Grace. This is a locally owned daycare with just one location but it is a pretty large place caring for about 40 kids from infant to pre-school. It is basically at the end of our street so it is very convenient. The price was reasonable and Jen really liked the staff. I was a bit freaked our at how is seemed a bit dirty but I guess that is pretty normal given there are kids running around all day. Our initial visit was on a Saturday so there were no kids there so it was a bit tough to get a good impression. Jen went back last week when class was in session and unfortunately she wasn't impressed. Of all of the criteria above attentiveness is definitely the most important to us. We want to make sure Grace is being watched and will be safe. The teachers were sitting together talking and watching the kids from afar. I realize that everyone needs a break sometimes but you would think that they would be a little more attentive when someone is visiting.

Daycare 2

The second place Jen visited was one of the corporate daycare companies that has centers nationwide. Jen really liked this place. The teachers were attentive and there is a big focus on academics. The place was very clean and there was a lot of flexibility offered that non-corporate daycare facilities can't provide. This was the most expensive place we looked at but price really isn't a factor since we are only sending Grace for 2 days. The one glaring thing we didn't like about this place was that there was no diversity. All of the kids were white and we really don't want Grace going to a daycare where she is the only Asian or minority.

Daycare 3

The last place Jen visited seems to have it all. It is a locally owned place but has about a dozen facilities in our area. They are very reasonably priced and have a good mix of focus on academics and fun. The diversity was great and the staff was extremely attentive while Jen was there. So far this place is at the top of our list. We may visit another one of their locations on my vacation in a couple weeks just to see how convenient it is but I think our decision has been made.


to sing and to dance said...

Our daughter has been going to a nationally known daycare/preschool since she was 20 months old. She's now going into Kindergarten and we are continuing with that school for one more year as a private school for her Kindergarten. There are a lot of Asians in her school, but that was not the biggest concern for us. Our biggest concern was what she would learn, and how important that was to the staff. Also, if the staff treated her like extended family, because after all, she had attended the school since she was a baby.
It's pricey, but worth every penny. One thing I liked about the nationally known preschool, is that they have cameras in every room, and the principal's office is always open to view our child's classroom. Also important was location. We wanted her to be in an area where we felt safe. It's not a highly traveled road, and yet you have to use a code on a keypad to get into the school. Safety and accountability was top on our list. Learning was second. The rest was less important.

Two Pearls said...

Good luck...this is always a tough decision. My older daughter's daycare (my first choice) had no openings when we were ready to send Sophie, so we had to find another school. Luckily, a spot opened at our first choice a few months later. We were happy with where she was, but we have a 7 year relationship with the other school, so we made the move.

For us, the decision was about safety and love. Of course, they do a lot of work on projects and pre-reading skills (letter recognition, etc), but to do so in a safe and loving environment was most important for us. At the end of the day, the teachers all give her a big hug and you can just tell they love and care for her, and that makes me feel so much better about our choice.

The first few weeks are so tough, but hang in there! I know it was so much harder for me than for her!