Thursday, May 29, 2008

Daycare: Wombat seeks adventure! Part 3

The daycare quest continued yesterday with a visit to Bright Horizons daycare in Germantown. In good news, we have found a wonderful place for our Wombat. In bad news, Wombat may not be able to get a spot at this wonderful place. :(

Bright Horizons is a company that usually contracts with other (large) businesses to provide daycare for the employees. The waiting lists are prioritized so that the employees get first priority, "related fields" get second, and general public is third or fourth. We are in a "related field", so we get third priority - which is not so bad. What is bad, though, is that there are so few infant spots that they usually fill up very quickly, and almost all of them are available in the summer....

But - the daycare itself was WONDERFUL! We loved it! The facility is immaculate, the teachers are paying attention to the children, the schedules and learning type is driven by the kids themselves. The administrator was very very knowledgeable about every aspect of the daycare, answered all the questions we had in great detail (including providing us with medical forms, showing children's detailed daily activity binders and introducing us to the teachers). Most importantly, all the kids loved the daycare. They came in running to the classrooms and their teachers, and seemed to be thrilled to be there.

Even in the infant room, the little ones would cling to the teacher. The music was playing nursery rhymes loudly, the teachers were paying 100% attention to the kids. The small infants were mingling with the older children, watching older kids play as they were dozing off.... It was a great environment for the younger kids to watch the older ones, while still being doted on by a teacher. Unlike other daycares, Bright Horizons did not try to pretend that our infant would have a "schedule"; they simply said that he will set his own schedule and they will work with whatever that schedule happens to be. If he wants to nap, he'll nap; if he wants to eat, he'll be fed, and if he is alert and awake, someone will play with him. All while being in a happy stimulating place, surrounded by other kids to interact with. That's what we want to hear. :)

This facility had 4 playgrounds; 2 for infants and 2 for older kids. The children are outside twice a day, 30 minutes each time. The facility is also surrounded by a large fields on the DoE campus, so kids go on nature walks, etc. Even the infants are being carried out in buggies for walks twice a day, so they get to enjoy the fresh air they need.

The teachers are highly trained, with a NAEVC accreditation for the entire center. The teachers are required to attend staff training days in addition to their initial training, and all teachers are given ample time to develop lesson plans for their classes. The teachers looked happy, involved with the kids and not stressed. The seemed to like their jobs and the children.

It was perfect, really. We are definitely getting on the waiting list. Just hope there is a spot for our little Wombat..... Fingers crossed - and still a few daycares to visit. Will see Goddard School in Gaithersburg tomorrow!

Quick Stats:
Rates (infant): $1357/month


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