It’s official, I have contacted 6 daycare centers in our area for tours and information. It’s actually happening. I am 🙂 and 😦 but also relieved to be doing something active about it. I thought I’d share this process as we go through it for all of you that will be doing the same.
I called on my mommy network for advice first. If you follow this blog, you saw my initial daycare post here for my readers to comment on. I emailed the same questions and information directly to the moms I work with, knowing they’d have special insight and advice as teachers. I also posted a link to my initial daycare post on Facebook. The email and Facebook post got several great responses (thanks ladies!). They gave me info on which places were NOT good, how to transition a child to daycare, home daycares vs. daycare centers, and characteristics of good daycares.
Then I did a Google Maps search for daycares in our area. There are about a billion of them.
I checked out daycare.com (a mommy network recommendation!) after aimlessly clicking on random centers on the map. I was a little overwhelmed so…
I created a Google Doc to have a more organized approach to it all. I created 3 sections in the document: a list of local daycares, what we need from a daycare center, and what we would like from a daycare center. Daddy Bug and I can both edit it throughout the entire daycare choosing process. We’ll definitely be adding more info as we learn more about each daycare we investigate.
Writing down what we needed really helped me choose daycares to add to the list because it limited the locations a little:
- Monday – Friday
- early (before 7am) start time
- I will be the one who drops Bug off in the am
- probably Daddy Bug will pick him up in the pm
- access for my mom and sister as emergency contacts
My biggest surprise so far was that some daycares don’t open until 7am, but that narrowed down a large list to a much smaller one. I included daycares along the way (or could be along the way) my travel route to work, near my work, near Daddy Bug’s work (difficult since he works in 4 different locations), and near where we live.
I went to each centers’ website. I didn’t eliminate any based on their info but I thought it would be good to learn a little more about what Bug would be doing there each day. All the sites were professional and informative. Some sites had specifics laid out, others had more general descriptions. Some were more educationally based, others were more about playing. We’d prefer a balance of both, of course. Some had video tours of their schools. Some shared their rating through the Keystone Stars system, if they were participating in it.
I contacted each center through their online forms. I loved that I didn’t have to call any directly to let them know I wanted a tour and more info. Some of them wanted to know details about Bug, which I thought was pretty awesome. We have appointments with 2 of the 6 centers, and plan to visit all of them before we leave for our vacation in July. We also plan to make our final decision before our trip as Bug will need to start halfway through August.
So that’s where we’re at for now. As we get more info tuition will be a big factor but I’m looking forward to seeing the centers and how the teachers/caregivers and kids interact.