Day Care Dilemna

August 04, 2004

Come the fall, day care drop off and pickup will shift from being a J-task to being a Ted-task. As part of the shift we are looking into shifting the boys from the center near J's work to a center near the house. Having them by work was crucial when J was hopping over at lunch to breastfeed the infant. But, with us planning to wean the littler man from his mid-day nursing later this month, now we can pick something a little more convenient and a little bit cheaper - J works in the high-rent suburb.

So far we have it narrowed down to three possibilities: the clean structured place, the happy chaos, and an in-home provider.

The clean structured place is a newer building, very spiffy, with well credentialed teachers. They have been open under a year and are very certainly catering to anxious yuppies - the doors are alarmed, there are security cameras, the classrooms are all separate. They do some very good things - they pay their staff well and so far have very little turnover, a constant problem in daycare. They follow an integrated curriculuum and do a very good job of preparing kids for kindergarten - most of their 4 year olds can read. And, from my visit, the kids were all happy.

The happy chaos has been in business for 15 years, and several of the junior staffers are people who attended the day care as kids: lifers. There are often kids wandering out of the classroom and into the director's office to visit and get a hug, it is noiser and not as well climate controlled, but it is a happy noise - no crying kids here. They do less teaching, more playing with symbols. I suspect that fewer of their four year olds can read, but I suspect that their two year olds have a more playful day.

Where the first center handles fights over toys by "setting up the children to succeed" - and handing everyone the same toy at the same time, the second place handles it by separating the kids and encouraging them to share. It is more like a family, less like an institution.

Which will we move to? I don't know. We are casual sloppy yuppies. Still, it is a worthwhile reminder that good day care comes in many flavors.

Posted by Red Ted at August 4, 2004 04:54 PM | TrackBack