Today was our second, and hopefully final day of daycare visits. Last week, we checked out two daycare centers near my work, and today we visited two centers closer to home. The first we visited was a locally owned establishment with two locations. While the center director was very nice, we could tell quickly that it wasn’t the right place for our baby. We were a little apprehensive going in once we realized that the daycare was in a strip mall, and this probably comes out snotty – but it just wasn’t nice enough. The director was very personable and really took her time with the tour, which we appreciated. However, the infant room was for 6 weeks – 18 months and unlike the other centers that emphatically state that they won’t go over the 1:4 child:caregiver ratio, this center said that they would go to a 1:5 if they needed to (1:5 is state regulation). I also just tend to think that that the age range in the infant room is too much. An 18 month old child needs a different type of care than a 12 week old child, and while the teacher in the classroom seemed to be doing her best, it just doesn’t seem like a desirable situation. I also didn’t like that there was no quiet area of the room for the cribs as we had seen elsewhere. Not only that, the infant room connected to the 2 year old room which makes for a lot of additional noise. So while the teachers in every room seemed very engaged and the students were playing and listening to story time very nicely, I just didn’t get the great feeling that I had from the first place last week and we easily ruled today’s first stop out.
Once we finished our tour there, we went less than 1/2 mile down the road to the next daycare. This was another national chain, although not nearly as large of a chain as the one that we disliked last week. We also heard good reviews from several friends who had heard good things from their friends. Lance and I entered with moderately high expectations. There was a nice reception area decorated with children’s artwork and immediately we could see that this was a busy place. One of the center directors gave us a tour and I noted that it felt very rushed. This daycare has two infant rooms, one for 6 weeks to 6 months and the other for 7-12 months. Each room had 8 children and 2 teachers. We then went on to tour the rest of the classrooms and outdoor areas. With “summer camp” going on, the center was LOUD. Happy, playing children for the most part, with the exception of the two year olds participating in “splash time”, who seemed pretty unhappy to be soaking wet on a cloudy morning. This daycare allows modified cloth diapers – basically, they will allow all-in-one cloth diapers as long as you provide disposable liners for use while the baby is in daycare. I think this would be ok, just some extra cost for the liners and the chance of rashes (from what I have googled!).
So there it is. We have easily narrowed down to the spanish immersion daycare near my work and the second daycare that we visited today closer to home. The costs are almost identical, so we don’t have to factor in price and can focus on what we think is best. Right now it is between small daycare close to my work and bigger daycare closer to home. We know that there are positives and negatives to having daycare closer to home vs closer to work and will weigh the decision with that as a major factor. Several friends have told me how important it is to just “go with your gut”, and I know what my gut is saying already. Anyone have opinions on daycare near home vs. near work?