Friday, May 30, 2008

Daycare: Wombat seeks adventure! Part 4

We went to the Goddard school in Gaithersburg today as part of our daycare hunt. The long and the short of it is: we liked the school ok, better then Childtime, not anywhere as much as Bright Horizons, and we found it very, very expensive. I guess we couldn't quite see where the much higher tuition that Goddard charges was actually going for our infant.

The place feels like a school, not really a daycare - and with most of the facility catering to ages 2 and up, it makes sense. It seemed to mostly be a pre-K environment, with the infants and toddlers "on the side", so to speak. Which is not to say the little ones are not taken care of, it just doesn't seem to be the focus or the strength of the school.

In its layout, the infant rooms had more in common with Childtime; however, the teachers themselves were definitely much better. They attended to the children and seemed to really enjoy playing with the kids. They also attended to kids based on their needs, not on some random schedule, and the children were able to interact with one another. Younger infants can also see older infants in a corner of the room, which should help with development.

The teachers make lesson plans and are allowed some time to develop their teaching for the month. (Each month has a theme, and the teachers then build their plans around the theme. The center director approves all teaching plans before they are actually implemented). All the teachers, like Childtime's staff, had the '90-hour certification', but no one seemed to be able to explain what the certification actually was or what body had granted it.

The school has 2 outdoor play areas; however, the areas are very small and covered with artificial turf. There is no grassy play area at all, and the school itself is located in a large office park/parking area.

So it was better then Childtime, but it was the same type of thing - only for $500 more a month. And similar to Childtime, we feel that it's not great - better then "not bad", but not great. We still might end up placing Wombat here, just while waiting for a spot to open up at Bright Horizons..... And still more daycares to see in the next 2 weeks! Not submitting our waitlist application yet. :)

Quick Stats:
Tuition: $1850/month
Waitlist: pretty long for infants; only 6 spaces total are available for up to 10 month olds.

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