Almost one year ago, I pondered whether my baby should attend day care or hire a nanny. I went with the nanny for several months. He was the right call at the time. After seeing Zack played at the park all summer, I realized that Zack would benefit more by being with kids of his age. So, two weeks ago I started my search for the perfect day care / nursery school for him.
Since Monday, Zack attends a wonderful private day care. Following their advice, Zack only goes part-time this week. For the first three days, he left after lunch time. He enjoyed the morning snack in the communal dining room, had dance and music classes, played outside, start to make friends and ate lunch with appetite. Yesterday, we tried naptime. It didn’t go as smoothly. He only slept for 20 minutes. They will try again today. I have mixed feelings about our chances of success since he caught a cold. All that is normal for kids who start attending day care.
I worried so much before his first day. I woke up in the middle of the night a few nights in a row wondering if I chose the right day care for him. I think that we made the right choice. All the staff is attentive to his needs. They are caring, loving, uncomplicated people. Except for today, they were no tears. He didn’t even look for me when I left most of the time. I believe that today episode, which lasted 2 seconds, was due to his cold.
What to Look For in A Day Care or Nursery School?
We have a routine at home when it comes to eating, drinking and sleeping. We do certain activities together like reading a book, drawing or playing hide and seek. Otherwise, Zack has always been encouraged to select his own activities. He is never short of ideas. I believe that it is important that he learns to make his own choices. I wanted a place that, in a certain way, will work around the same principles.
My Top 5 List
My concerns were my son’s happiness, our family well-being and the best way to help him develop his skills. The 5 things that were important for me in selecting a day care / nursery school were:
- Food Quality. We ate well at home. I developed Zack’s palate since he started to eat solids. I want his culinary adventures to continue. Therefore I wanted a childcare facility that serves fresh fruits and healthy, tasty meals.
- The Child Development Curriculum. Where Zack goes, their educational program is based on the High/Scope curriculum.
- The HighScope Infant-Toddler Curriculum uses a carefully designed process of learning through discovery, called active participatory learning. During active learning, caregivers encourage infants and toddlers to discover the world around them by exploring and playing. Learning and development are anchored by long-term, trusting relationships with caregivers, who are close at hand to support children as they play.
- Nice, big backyard. Zack loves to play and run outside. They go outside twice a day. Plus, the sand box is shaded from the sun. On hot days, kids wear their bathing suits to play with safe water fountains.
- Generous, well-organized class rooms.
- Flexible drop off time. I don’t want to worry about the fact that I will be late and they will refuse him access. As a bonus, they close at 6:30 PM.
Naturally, every family is different. Our priorities might not be yours. Make your own list.
How did your kids react when they started day care or nursery school? Do you have any advices for me and other new parents?