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Old 10-05-2011, 08:31 AM   #1
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The Great Daycare Search

When looking for daycare, how many places did you visit? Did you stop looking when you found one that "felt right" or did you look at a few more just to be sure? What do you think about small (1 DCP) in home daycare, large (2 + DCPs) in home daycare, and daycare facilities? What did you end up choosing and why? What were your dealbreakers? What were the interview questions you asked that were the most helpful?

So far we have toured 3 daycare center. We really liked one of them....very safe, clean facility with lots of toys and a lovely playground. The director was very accomodating and they were fine with CDs. The schedule and menus looked great on paper. Just not sure about the price ($257/wk!!), the reality of staff consistancy and student interaction, and the larger # of kids (meaning lots of germs).
We saw 2 large in home daycare. One didn't seem safe and we just didn't click with the DCP. The other was ok but had a small playroom and they don't do any outings and the menu sounds full of mac n cheese and tater tots.
We love the one small in home daycare we visited. The DCP was warm and friendly and seems very passionate about working with kids. Clean, safe, and organized home with a small outside area. Daily walks and outings (DS loves these) and she even knows ASL (DS mainly signs right now) and uses CDs herself with her son! Really reasonable rates for SoCal ($160/wk). We are really liking this option but we still have to check references and visit while the kids are present. I am thinking about visiting a couple other places too just in case but maybe that's overkill? It's so hard to choose a place to send my one and only!

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Old 10-05-2011, 10:44 AM   #2
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Re: The Great Daycare Search

Visit as many places as you want. It's not overkill. It helps you feel confident in your choice when you know what else is out there. I personally prefer in home daycares. Perhaps this provider will let you and your son come over for a bit to play or have a few partial days trial before enrolling full time? I always feel that a smaller ratio is best especially for those under 2 who still need a lot of hands on care.
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Old 10-14-2011, 12:41 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Selene
When looking for daycare, how many places did you visit? Did you stop looking when you found one that "felt right" or did you look at a few more just to be sure? What do you think about small (1 DCP) in home daycare, large (2 + DCPs) in home daycare, and daycare facilities? What did you end up choosing and why? What were your dealbreakers? What were the interview questions you asked that were the most helpful?

So far we have toured 3 daycare center. We really liked one of them....very safe, clean facility with lots of toys and a lovely playground. The director was very accomodating and they were fine with CDs. The schedule and menus looked great on paper. Just not sure about the price ($257/wk!!), the reality of staff consistancy and student interaction, and the larger # of kids (meaning lots of germs).
We saw 2 large in home daycare. One didn't seem safe and we just didn't click with the DCP. The other was ok but had a small playroom and they don't do any outings and the menu sounds full of mac n cheese and tater tots.
We love the one small in home daycare we visited. The DCP was warm and friendly and seems very passionate about working with kids. Clean, safe, and organized home with a small outside area. Daily walks and outings (DS loves these) and she even knows ASL (DS mainly signs right now) and uses CDs herself with her son! Really reasonable rates for SoCal ($160/wk). We are really liking this option but we still have to check references and visit while the kids are present. I am thinking about visiting a couple other places too just in case but maybe that's overkill? It's so hard to choose a place to send my one and only!
We only tours two places when my DD went into daycare. We loved the second place which was a large in home daycare. We didn't have a lot of options though because DH had to be able to walk DD there since we had only one car at the time.
It sounds like you really like the small in-home place. I would go for it.

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Old 10-14-2011, 01:07 PM   #4
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Re: The Great Daycare Search

I prefer in home daycares for my kiddos. I feel they are personal and less people in general. I recently had to find a new one and fell in the love with the first but visited a couple others. I don't regret my decision. I just knew five min in that this was perfect. I did the visits with my son to see how he liked it them too.
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Old 10-14-2011, 09:07 PM   #5
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We specifically looked for in home care. We want one provider that DS can bond with rather than 3-4 throughout the day.

Our dealbreakers were nursing and cloth. I wanted someone open to both. Our DCP does not do outings and doesn't have a great menu but we are fine with that. We pack lunch and snacks every day so we know he has good food.

We were more concerned with their relationship. DS loves his DCP and she genuinely likes to see him and is so caring. We are able to overlook the TV time issue because we can see that above all he is cared for lovingly while we cannot be there. He has made great friends there and we have always felt welcomed and that our decisions are respected.
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Old 10-15-2011, 10:01 AM   #6
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Re: The Great Daycare Search

I visited EVERY SINGLE DAYCARE in my area, in home and daycare center. I ended up finding one I liked when I called a woman and she said "I don't have any open spots now, but you're welcome to come visit and chat for a bit." I went during the day and there were 6 kids there (she was licensed to have 12, but didn't have an assistant at the time) and they were eating a really healthy lunch, asked to be excused from the table, and were all very polite and well behaved. The daycare was at her home, but she added on a 700 sq ft addition to her house just for the daycare and it was set up with little bathrooms and sinks, different play areas, and different eating areas. She was close to a lake that they walked to every so often and she did fun things for the parents like go to the beach on Wednesday evenings during the summer. I liked her open door policy and she was totally nursing friendly. I used to pick up me DD and she would be hungry and I would nurse her there and hang out for a bit before we went home. When I was about to start work again, I got a call from her saying that she fell in love with DD when we visited and hired an assistant so that she could take her on. I was soooo happy because my 2nd choice wasn't anywhere near as nice.

I've been a SAHM for a little over a year now and we still go about once a month to visit and DD plays with her friends (she remembers them, even though she left at 19 months) and tells the daycare provider what's going on in her life.
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Old 10-15-2011, 02:14 PM   #7
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Re: The Great Daycare Search

I also toured all the daycares I could find, and then went with the one that I really clicked at. I think an open-door policy is important, too, and also - no TVs. I never have really liked a daycare with a TV. Not that it's something I really look for, just something I've realized while thinking about the places I've actually sent my little ones.

Keep looking, you'll find one that feels right. Or maybe seeing more will make you decide the first one is worth it.
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Old 10-15-2011, 05:33 PM   #8
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Re: The Great Daycare Search

I happened to love the first two that I toured. My oldest DD started at an in-home care and while the provider was a great woman, she closed frequently due to illness (either her or her children), and frankly, I was close to losing my job. I knew I needed to find a new provider but also knew I wasn't trying the in-home care again. It's just not for us. I drove by our current center (they had just opened), went in, met with the owners, looked around, and felt comfortable about sending my daughter there. She's been there for almost 2 years now and my LO started in January when I went back to work. It's a large center with 4 classrooms (infant up to age 1; toddler 1, age 1 - 18 months; toddler 2, age 18 months - 2.9 years; and preschool, age 2.9 - 5). I'm not sure exactly what the ratio is, but it is whatever the licensing states here in MA. It's really expensive, but they are worth every single penny. I know my girls are safe every day and I know that they love it there (I have to take the older one out the door kicking and screaming some nights, lol). I tell them I'm going to keep having kids every 3 - 5 years just so I can see their happy faces every day, lol.

You will just know when you find the right one. Good luck!
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Old 10-15-2011, 06:03 PM   #9
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Re: The Great Daycare Search

Thanks for the advice, mamas

I still love the small in-home DCP I mentioned in the OP, but two thing make me hesitate. First, she drops her daughter off at school and later picks her up. So she has to take all the DC kids with her. She has a safe van, clean driving record, and car seats for everyone, but the thought of DS being in the car so much daily for no reason bothers me. Second, her place is really small, a condo where the bottom floor is 600 sq ft and the yard is pretty tiny and all paved. Which was actually fine when we visited the first time with no dc kids there since it is all very well organized and clean. But when I took DS there with the DC kids present he got really crabby and kept trying to escape through the back door or stairwell...it kinda seemed like he felt crowded and overwhelmed by having so many other kids right there in his space.

Soo...saw another small in-home DC which we like well enough. Nice set up with a big yard. But the food is lousy and there is a bit too much tv and not many structured activities.

So we have two maybes and we are still looking. I'm excited about the in-home daycare we are seeing tomorrow, hopefully it will be The One. Or either way, maybe it will help us decide between the other 2 choices. I'll update again soon
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Old 10-17-2011, 07:38 AM   #10
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Re: The Great Daycare Search

Ok, update...Hanky and I visited the large in-home daycare I mentioned at it seems really perfect (DH refused to go with me on this visit because he thinks I'm too picky and I'm obsessing on this. Which I am but still.)
It's run by a former Montessori preschool teacher and her assistant also has experience working in a Montessori center. The set up is nice with two rooms for the dc kids, lots of simple toys, and a backyard with swings, a playhouse, a slide, sandbox, lawn, garden, and paved area for bikes. She serves organic healthy meals and used CDs with her own daughter. They only have 2 fulltime kids now and 3-4 part time, plus the DCP's 4 yr old daughter. She does circle time, stories and art and there is no tv to be seen. And...Hanky loved her, he actual let her hold him and hugged her goodbye
So excited! The only hang up is....I still don't know how much it is! I asked about her rates and she said they were monthly...it was kinda vague. She didn't have her regular handouts because her printer was out of ink so she is emailing them and I assume that info is included? I hope we can afford it.
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