Monday, March 03, 2008

Daycare search

With my time off with a kid with an unpredictable schedule that doesn't want me to nap, I'm doing some research of childcare options. I like Andy's school, but it doesn't start until age two and I'm interesting researching places where both of them can go together. My reasons for that are selfish - I'd like the convenience of one place. Plus, at three, Andy can tell me about his day and I like the idea that he can tell me about Meg's day, too. I also think Andy would like being in school with his sister.

I first looked at the KinderCare in my neighborhood last week. Several friends go there and really love it. It's way convenient - only a mile from my house - and I like that we'd know other parents and kids there. The staff was very nice. The baby room was quite clean and bright and the teachers just love babies, which I like to hear. The thing I didn't like was they don't turn out the lights for nap time. I'm not sure why that bothers me, but it's a small thing to get over. For Meg, it's most important for me that there are people there to hold her and love her more so than activities at this point.

For Andy's room, the class size is 20 with two teachers and floaters for special things, like music. It was loud, but all the kids seemed to be having fun. They also have a nice playground segregated by age so the little kids don't have to mingle with the older ones on the playground. I liked that the teachers were interacting with the kids and doing projects. The school menu is also good and healthy. It's funny, I'm willing to feed Andy crap like McDonald's, but if I'm paying for it, I'd like it to be a healthier choice. The school also does neat stuff like Parents' Night Out when they rent a moon bounce or something like that and the kids eat pizza and play while the parents can go out.

Today, I met with a lovely woman who has a daycare out of her home in Annandale. She's the main teacher, but her older mother is there during the week to help. Her daughter is a college student and GW and is home a lot to help as well. I had a good vibe from them. The house was nice and clean (as you would expect since they knew I was coming). The playroom in the basement was pretty cool. Lots of preschool stuff that Andy loved that focuses on reading and numbers. It was very well organized and clearly geared toward learning. She also takes lots of pictures so the kids can see pictures next to words for their schedule and toys. It would be a smaller ratio of teacher to kids (at most five), not counting when the daughter and mother are there.

It felt more like a school at my sister or mother's house in that it felt very warm and family like. She takes the kids out to dig in the garden and they walk to the playground down the street. In the summer, they play with water in the backyard or even go to the pool. She even takes them to the library sometimes. The mother loved Meg and I have a feeling she would spend most of the day holding her, which I liked. Andy liked it so much that he cried when we had to leave.

Who knows what we'll do, but it's nice to know there are some good options out there.


  1. Anonymous9:02 PM

    Susan and I used a company called "Infant Toddler Daycare" in FFX that organizes in-home daycare and trains the providers, runs the criminal background checks, etc. Susan was so impressed that she was on the Board of Directors of this non-profit for years and even served as Chairman of the Board for a term. Call me and I'll get you some info in you're interested.

  2. I actually went through Infant Toddler to find Andy's first babysitter. It's a cool concept that it acts to put together in home providers with families. They say provide additional oversight of the providers, but if they did, it was never communicated to the parents.