Monday, June 9, 2008

Daycare: Wombat seeks adventure! Part 5

We saw a daycare center in Bethesda today: The Children in the Shoe. We saw the Bethesda Towers location; the daycare has a different location in Bethesda which is currently not open for tours.

The daycare offers part-time attendance for infants, which seems to be almost unheard of. While their monthly rates are not much different from Goddard (Children in the Shoe charges about $1750/month), they allow part-time attendance at $80.50 per day. The part time attendance could then help us out with daycare finances, if we could make that work.

So we decided to check out the daycare. The daycare seems really nice for the older kids, but not as nice for infants. We saw the infant rooms, and for the most part, we were not too impressed. The environment has a lot of exersaucers, swings and other toys where children can be pacified and left alone. While there were lesson plans/activity plans for infants developed, we did not get to see any of them in action. Again, for older kids, the daycare activities looked great - Spanish classes every day, French classes once a week, and so on and so forth. Really, very impressive. It's just that for infants, this is not really applicable (even though it's offered), and we felt that there was not enough interaction between the smallest babies and the teachers - and too many automated swinging toys.

The daycare has an outside play area - a tiny, rubber-covered spot with some teeny climbing equipment. The rubber looked like sheet metal; the entire area seemed to be about 20 feet. The tour guide assured us that from time to time, the children are taken on walks to Capitol Crescent Trail - which kind of scared us, given that the trail entrance is a while away, the path to it is by a major street, and the trail itself is a busy place to walk on.

Overall, we feel that this would be an OK holding place, but not really a place to keep Wombat in for the long run. While we like the special classes for older kids, there is just not enough goodness going on for infants to justify the long drive to Bethesda twice a day. We did get on the waiting list - there is no waiting list fee, and right now we want as much January availability as we can get. :) Plus, the other Bethesda location may be better for us - when they start offering tours, we may check them out; this way we are already on their waiting list.

Quick Specs:
Rate: $80.50 per day; ends up being around $1700/months
Waitlist Fee: none; one waitlist for 3 daycare centers in the area.

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