If you haven’t been keeping up, here are the posts about our daycare search for Bug.
Big news, we have chosen our daycare! Here’s how we did it.
We revisited Daycare #1 yesterday morning. We wanted to see it again because it was the very first daycare we visited (all the way back on June 20th). We specifically wanted to spend more time in the classroom since we had nothing to compare it to during our first visit. It was nice to meet the director as she was on vacation during our first visit. Bug was a little shy when we first entered the younger toddler room but after warming up, he had a great time playing with the toys and even some of the other kids. We got to see an art activity in the works – the teachers were painting the bottom of the kids’ feet red and pressing them on a large piece of paper to make the red stripes of the American flag. It was quite the process but the teachers had a system and the kids seemed really interested in getting their feet painted. We noticed this time that they attach lesson objectives and other curriculum info to the different samples of kid work on the walls. We also were excited to see they had a music corner with all kinds of instruments.
We didn’t revisit Daycare #2, the other daycare we really loved, because we visited it so recently. Since it was toward the end of our search, we had a better idea of what we wanted and what details to focus on during our visit there.
I spent yesterday afternoon alternating playing with Bug and doing tuition calculations. It seemed silly to do this but we’re on a budget, and liked both daycares so much that we really had to look at details.
The first thing I needed to figure out was how much we spend on diapers and wipes at home, and then compare it to the tuition difference between Daycare #1 and Daycare #2. (#2 includes diapers and wipes in their tuition, we have to provide them for #1.) Because we do the Amazon Mom subscription savings, buy in bulk, and now that Bug goes through a predictable 5 or 6 diapers a day, we are only spending about $9 a week on diapers and wipes. (Seems to me like Amazon Mom is saving us a ton of money and that makes me very happy!) Anyhow, after adjusting #1’s tuition to include what we spend on diapers/wipes, the tuition difference between #1 and #2 doesn’t make the included diapers/wipes worth it. #1 is still less expensive.
The other calculation I made was for how much each daycare costs for the 10 months Bug will be there. I included the diapers/wipes addition to #1 in this calculation. The difference in tuition for 10 months of care is over $1000, making #1 the less expensive option.
The final calculation I made was the upfront cost for each – #1 wanted first and last week’s tuition plus a registration fee, while #2 only wanted first week’s and a smaller registration fee. In this case, #2 was less expensive. When I added the upfront costs to the 10 month’s worth of tuition, #1 was still the least expensive option.
When Bug went to sleep last night, Daddy Bug and I sat down with my calculations, my Google Doc, and our impressions. I had a huge feeling of dread and was kind of dragging my feet about it since it was such a big decision to make. We made a pro and con list for each daycare, which we were able to keep surprisingly short. Both places are pretty similar and we liked them almost equally. Probably why I was dragging my feet!
- brighter classroom space
- has outdoor and indoor play space
- includes breakfast
- didn’t meet actual lead teacher (she has summers off to be with her school-age children)
- didn’t get a feel for the classroom environment when Bug will be there (summer teachers were there for this “camp” period)
- we both can do morning drop off (closer to where we live now, but will be moving in January/February, location currently unknown)
- loved the lead classroom teacher
- didn’t like outdoor play space
- no indoor play place
- no breakfast
The last thing we talked about before making our decision was dropping off/picking up Bug, and how long he needed to be in daycare on a daily basis. Tuition for both daycares covers 10 hours a day but we didn’t want him to be there that long. I can pick up Bug earlier than Daddy Bug at both daycares, depending on after-school meetings and such. We think he’ll be there for 8.5-9.5 hours a day depending on those pesky after-school activities and if Daddy Bug is available to pick him up. I will have to do almost all drop offs at Daycare #1 but either of us can drop him off at Daycare #2. We figured out what would work best for Bug and then…
…we decided. Daycare #1 it is! I can’t tell you how relieved I am to know this part was over. We chose Children of America. We’re going there after Bug’s nap today to pick up the paperwork. Whew!
(Come back for more – I’ll write a post about registration and all the other stuff that comes along with it.)