Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Daycare Visits

As you may or may not have read in one of my previous posts, we have been doing quite a bit of research on childcare.  While we are still undecided on the daycare vs. nanny debate (we are actively investigating both options), we decided that it was time to go ahead and visit some daycares, decide which ones we liked, and get on some waiting lists (Side note: did you know that some of these places charge you a fee just to get on their waiting list?  Even though you may not even send your child there?  I did not.).  We had our first two visits this week, and both went really well.

Dan is on the board of Learning Together, which is a developmental daycare here in Raleigh that provides an inclusive center-based program for children with or at risk for developmental disabilities as well as children who are developing normally.   As a result of this, he has been an excellent resource throughout this journey.  We originally performed a search of all 4- and 5-star daycare centers in Raleigh, and then Dan worked with the executive director of Learning Together, who has over 20 years of experience in the field and in the area, to get personal recommendations and to narrow down our list.  The result is that our short list is comprised of 4 daycares, but there are some backups if need be.

Surprisingly not many of the 4- and 5-star daycares accept infants.  A lot of places will not accept children until they are 18 months to 2 years old.  While frustrating at first, it actually was helpful that it worked out this way because the options were a lot fewer - and those of you who know me at all know how terrible I am at decisions.

I've decided not to mention the names of the daycares we're visiting so that I'm able to talk freely about them - but of course I will let you know if we go with daycare which one we choose.  Yesterday was both very overwhelming and very informative at the same time.  It was nice to be able to take tours and see what life is like on a day-to-day basis in these facilities, and it made me feel more comfortable about leaving my child at them.  Both places have very qualified staff, which also made me very comfortable.  There was a pretty large difference in tuition - one is $1,350/month and the other is $1,150/month (that extra $200/month adds up!).  Additionally, both have programs for children from infant through toddler years - in fact, one also offered Pre-K (some daycares that take infants only take them until they're two, and then you have to switch them to a daycare who accepts 2+ year olds).  I do know that at most places, tuition decreases the longer your child is there because as they get older the ratio of children to teacher changes - when they are able to better take care of themselves, the ratio of children per teacher might be 1:5 or 6 instead of 1:3 or 4 like when they're infants. 

We both had a lot of questions - Dan was really good at this part as well, asking questions that I would have never thought of because he's well-informed from his experiences with Learning Together.  In case anyone is curious, the more expensive daycare accepts infants who are cloth diapering.  :-)

All in all, the visits were good.  We both agreed that one of the two was a clear winner - the more expensive one, actually.  This was a result of several factors, but it is nice to at least have narrowed it down a little.  At this point, we are still keeping our options open.  More to come on this topic after our next two visits, which are happening the week we get back from vacay.  Does anyone have any awesome questions that we may not have thought of but need to be asking?

Hope everyone has had a great week so far!

Sarah

4 comments:

  1. Holy expensive, Batman!

    This is actually a very interesting process and decision - and I know you and Dan will make the best one for your family. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. K, you would not believe how expensive babies are! I was shocked, too, by the price of daycare. I will keep you informed! :-)

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  3. My coworker in Chicago is paying $1650a month for a 4 month old and a 1.5 year old. She does the cloth diaper thing, because I guess its cheaper and green? Just my 2 cents, heehehe! Love youuuuuuuuuuuu

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  4. You should be asking them what supplies you have to provide - especially how they prepare your babies food - do they mix the formula themselves or do you have to bring it pre-mixed and then they warm it up? Also how do they handle baby food and the integration of table food? Our preschool cooks their own food so when they're ready for table food they have to provide it, I cannot provide table food...only baby food. Also, you might want to know how they handle nap time for infants (is it a set schedule or based on your schedule?)

    Just some thoughts...Emmett just started half days!! :)

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