Money Matters

Describe your kids daycare

We toured the "best" daycare in town on Friday.  It's the only one we could get a recommendation for at all. We put the baby on the waitlist, but I'm really sad about it being the only possibility.  The baby room was just all white (but dingy) except for a few toys on the colored rug.  There were 8 cribs against all the walls (each kid gets their own designated crib).  It was just really depressing.

The room for the up to 18 month olds  was pretty much the same and the one for the up to 2.5 y had no cribs, but no color either.  The oldest kids room finally had some decoration/stations. 

The staff (except for the receptionist giving us the tour) seemed really nice and friendly, but overall, I left kinda depressed.  Neither DH or I ever went to daycare so we really don't know what to expect.

Re: Describe your kids daycare

  • Well when he was a baby he was in an in home. She had three other kids around Jack's age so they could do a lot of appropriate age activities. I just loved her.

    Now he is at a preschool center. They focus on play to learn so there is not a lot of structure, which I love. Each room is a theme and has a suggested activitity the children are free to go from room to room as they are all staffed. They are not seperated by age so the younger ones learn from the older ones. It is very hippy dippy and I love it. In the summer there is a huge yard with a ton of old oak trees shading it and they can spend 6+ hours outside if they want. He comes home dirty and sweaty everyday and I love it.

    The center itself is an old house that is owned by the university so it has a nice homey feeling to it. 28 kids are at the center with a ratio of 5 children to 1 adult.

  • have you visited others? i would never make a choice after visiting just one - and just b/c someone gave you a rec.  i got recs for one daycare and HATED it.

    we LOVE our daycare. I used to work in daycare (and then was a K taecher for 5 yrs) so i know what to expect, what is good/bad, normal, etc.

    our daycare rooms are clean, decorated with bright colors - educational things, even in baby's room.... have cameras videotaping the kids you can log in online and see them all day...  babies have "cribicles" - the bunk cribs that save space- my boys love theirs. 

    I would keep looking if you are not happy.

  • Go with your gut feeling. The first place we looked at made me feel depressed, and I thought we'd never find someplace we liked. But we did, and DD has been very happy there.
  • Ours is colorful, lots of toys neatly arranged, different play areas (big rugs on the floor), and windows that see out into the playground.

    The one you toured sounds a little clinical, I can see why you are sad about it. I'm sorry. 

  • I toured the "best" daycare when I was 8 weeks pregnant.  I did NOT understand what was so flipping great about it.  It seemed cramped and dark and it was some sort of co-op thing where parents had to pay more for the priviledge of working an extra few hours/month on behalf of the place.  No freakin way.

    My DD's center/preschool was brand new when she was born (they were advertising when I was on maternity leave) and was where we would have put her had we not gone the in-home route for a couple years.  It was open and bright, and I liked that the infant room was separate but visible (there is a half wall and door between them) from the older toddler room.   There is kids artwork up everywhere and it is just a very friendly place.  I also like that it is very diverse - lots of kids from different backgrounds in DD's class.

    I think it is best to keep looking around if you don't like the place.

  • Definitely go with your gut... I toured highly recommended centers for DS1 but ended up with a home daycare provider that had a whole basement set up for child care. I knew DS would be held more and left in a swing less because he was the only infant.

    I ended up putting them in a "highly regarded" MDO program when we moved and we hated it.... I'm so happy we put them in montessori.

    I'll add that I think home daycare is great when they are younger and depending on your area there are a lot more options once they hit 2-3 years old where they can have more of "educational philosophy" experience.

  • I would visit a few more daycare centers. This particular one may have been "the best" for whoever recommended it to you, but perhaps their standards/expectations are different than yours. Go with your gut and keep looking.  We toured 7 preschools before deciding on one for DD. The one that everyone raved about as "the best" was kind of a joke to me and H.  Good luck!
    DD1
  • This is our daycare. We really like it - the teachers are nice, they have a 3 to 1 infant ratio (better than the state requirement), they follow my daughter's schedule, and they have webcams so I can check in on her when I want to. It's expensive ($1325/month), but we feel it's worth it.

    http://rainbowacademy.com/ ;

    image

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  • The infant room where DS is has one side for young infants and one for older babies.  The two sides and the sleeping area (where all the cribs are) are separated by half walls so the staff can interact and see and hear what is going on throughout the room, but the kids are kept separate.

    The young baby side has safety mirros hung at baby level, a reading nook with board books, a foam circle thing that they can put little babies in to play, the hard sided boppy things that help younger babies sit up, and toy bins with lots of different colorful infant toys.  They don't have any swings or bouncy seats because their philosophy is that babies should be interacted with instead of stuck in a swing.

    On the big baby side of the room there are also books, toys, mirrors, pull up bars, etc. but they also have big soft blocks to crawl over and a slide that the kids can climb up and go down. 

    With both sides of the room, they do art projects like handing them tissue paper or cheerios and helping them paste them or given them and crayon to color with.  They have the babies' artwork posted around the room. 

    What I love most is that they take hygeine very seriously.  Every person that enters the room has to wear shoe covers and immediately wash their hands.  The changing tables are covered in new paper for every diaper change and then sprayed down with disinfectant and care givers wear gloves during diaper changes.

    I am really happy with the quality of the center, but I understand that the options are a lot slimmer in more rural areas.  Is it possible to get a nanny or find an in-home center where you are at?

  • image Goldie_Locks_5:

    have you visited others? i would never make a choice after visiting just one - and just b/c someone gave you a rec.  i got recs for one daycare and HATED it.

    We ruled out two on drive bys (one had yellow and red signs all over the playground telling kids and staff what to do and the other is in a falling down building with just a gravel yard for playing. 

    The other center I've heard from a friend that used to work there that she would not trust her kids there based on the staff she worked with.  And that's all of the centers in town.  I don't even know where to start looking for in-home care since everyone I know with kids uses the one I visited.

  • image rdgove:

    This is our daycare. We really like it - the teachers are nice, they have a 3 to 1 infant ratio (better than the state requirement), they follow my daughter's schedule, and they have webcams so I can check in on her when I want to. It's expensive ($1325/month), but we feel it's worth it.

    http://rainbowacademy.com/ ;

    me, too :) damn, is that what it costs/month now for a baby? it was $1200 when I had griffin - now they are all part time so we have an odd price for all 3 (just under $2k/mo)... i LOVE our Rainbow!

  • Our center is a restored tobacco warehouse, so all of the rooms have exposed brick walls and architectural features like exposed ventilation system and rafters and huge windows to let in lots of sunlight.  There is soft, indirect lighting and updated features.  There are colorful rugs on the floors and a corner that is completely padded (like with stuff you would find in a gymnasium).  Cribs line the walls, and there are always lots of things and decorations hanging from the ceiling for the kids to look at.  I loved it, and it was always warm and cozy.

    I am aware I sound like an ad for my daycare, ha ha!

  • In the infant rooms, they had a few cribs against the wall. But DD was "special" and hated sleeping in the cribs. They usually held her if able or let her sleep in the bouncy or swing. There were various toys they rotated around the rooms. A stationary jumper for the older infants, a circular table with toys for the kids that could stand. Lots of toys on the ground for the eensy babes. They did signing, books, and stroller walks.

    In the next up toddler room (where DD is now), they have a great outdoor playground that she loves, lots of dolls and plush animals, a small slide inside, a tunnel they take out sometimes, they have music day, cooking day, gym day, water table, they paint and do various arts and crafts.

    She loves it. There is color everywhere in her toddler room and the hallways. It's an explosion of color. The baby room was "normal" colorful.

  • dd is in an in-home daycare w/ a huge open room, lots and lots of toys, lots of bright colors, no swings/bouncers/tv - her dcp and i are on the same wavelength when it comes to parenting philosphy. the price in combo w/ the location (halfway b/t home and work) and they provide food made it a no-brainer for me.

    you might want to try and find an in home provider through care.com or try craigslist. i found mine there Embarrassed

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  • image Pamela05:
    image Goldie_Locks_5:

    have you visited others? i would never make a choice after visiting just one - and just b/c someone gave you a rec.  i got recs for one daycare and HATED it.

    We ruled out two on drive bys (one had yellow and red signs all over the playground telling kids and staff what to do and the other is in a falling down building with just a gravel yard for playing. 

    The other center I've heard from a friend that used to work there that she would not trust her kids there based on the staff she worked with.  And that's all of the centers in town.  I don't even know where to start looking for in-home care since everyone I know with kids uses the one I visited.

    Check and see if there is an association for home day care providers and see if you can get references.  Thats how we found our DCP.
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  • I absolutely LOVE our daycare.  It's run by my school (my co-worker is the director). I only have experience with the baby room so far.  There are 2 areas - the play/sleep room and the eating room.  There are colors and signs with words everywhere.  There's always music playing.  Each period of the day, there are students who have taken Child Development classes there to "work" as an internship.  Each month has a new theme and everything is redecorated.  We get a newsletter with the theme and what they're doing to promote various skills each month.  It's just great.

    I never went to daycare either and was so skeptical.  After visiting some scary daycares, I was thrilled to get a spot where we are now.  There was a 7 month waitlist before and DS wouldn't get in until September.  Thankfully he stared in March when I went back to school.

  • No craigslist or associations here.  Once I get a little further along I'll post on the company message board and ask for recs from the rest of the site for individual caregivers. 

    You people are making me sad with what is available in other places.  Stupid small town. 

  • My daycare sounds like nothing you described. So I vote that you look around more.

    Our daycare has a ton of colorful artwork, usually made by the kids of the daycare. In the baby room they have all different types of toys and a play mate to play on. Each baby has a cubbie with their name on it. Very nicely done. Each baby also has their own crib. The daycare ladies are warm and loving and know all the details of what happened with DD everyday.

  • image Pamela05:

    No craigslist or associations here.  Once I get a little further along I'll post on the company message board and ask for recs from the rest of the site for individual caregivers. 

    You people are making me sad with what is available in other places.  Stupid small town. 

    there's no county child care council ? another option is to check the state licensing board - all in home and centers worth anything are registered with the state. 

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  • image pink.dutch.tulips:
    image Pamela05:

    No craigslist or associations here.  Once I get a little further along I'll post on the company message board and ask for recs from the rest of the site for individual caregivers. 

    You people are making me sad with what is available in other places.  Stupid small town. 

    there's no county child care council ? another option is to check the state licensing board - all in home and centers worth anything are registered with the state

    Yes this.  There has to be something.  I started by calling the public assistance office b/c I knew they gave referrals, not b/c I am low income.  You have to start somewhere. 
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  • I live in a TX small town too, and I was not excited about any of the regular day cares around here. We were really fortunate and got a random rec for an in-home caretaker (an older couple). There are only 2 other kids there at this time - a 3 yo, and our best friends' 11 mo. It's basically like DS is going to his grandparents' house, and we are so happy with it. She has one crib in each of her 2 spare bedrooms so the babies can sleep in peace, which has been great. The house is super clean, she has a wide variety of toys, and she and her husband really love the babies (DS and our friends' baby are both incredibly happy when we drop off & pick up).

    We found this couple by just asking around - we asked anyone we knew if they had any recommendations. This one came from someone in my friend's exercise class.

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  • DS's first daycare was like this, but rest assured they are not all like that.  His current daycare has murals on the walls (Dr Suess, Winnie the Pooh, etc - different for toddlers/preschoolers/etc), and tons of toys, and everything is colorful!

    They have shelves everywhere with toys, toys mounted on the walls all around the room, a "tree fort" for reading in (one of those that hangs from the ceiling and makes a little space for the kids to crawl in), tons of books in the reading area, pillows, tables with toys on them, climbing toys, the children's artwork displayed in various spots on the walls...

    The daycare should be stimulating to the children, the teachers should be caring and conscientious, and there should be a happy calm atmosphere.  I would never bring DS to anything like you describe again. 

    I would recommend you searching all of the daycares in your zip code, and going to visit them all.  Or daycares close to where you work, or where your husband works, etc etc.  It's just as easy to drop off close to home as it is close to work, I wouldn't limit yourselves by location just yet.  DS's current daycare is not in an ideal location, but the quality of the care he receives is much more important than the distance for us.

  • Definitely go with your gut. My daycare is pretty colorful. There is large play mat in the middle of the room with cushions and bookcases with toys against the walls and two changing stations. There is a large window and christmas lights on the ceiling for nap time. There is 3 swings, a large feeding table and cribs for each baby on the far end of the room.

    The infant room is for children up till they are completely mobile and sleeping on cots instead of cribs (around 1.5 years)

    To be honest, I wasnt impressed by anyone or anything when I was touring because I was sad to be taking my ds anywhere but home. Once I got over that, I felt better about my choice. I drop in all the time and feel like my son is being well taken care of.

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