Daycare considerations, 2006-08-10, 11:00 a.m.
I was reading a blog last night - It's not all Mary Poppins, which is the recounting of life as a daycare provider. It's made me think about my experiences with day care providers.
We've had two different ones. First there was M. who was an at home daycare provider/babysitter. Now he's at the CBCCC, which is a daycare facility.
The first place we found because one of D.s coworkers has his kids there. We asked certain questions, got certain responses and were pleased after the interview was over. Some of these things were not true as we learned through experience and time. Some things were misrepresented or downplayed, something else we learned through time. Some things were true. P. was happy there and even when she broke (or, in her mind, stayed within the rules as I am a hysterical overreacting first time mom) the law with daycare and had one kindergarten kid, a four year old, a three year old, a one year old and a two year old and we didn't take P. out because he was so settled there and felt guilty about it the whole time, he went there. We were upfront with her that he might be switching to the CBCCC this year so when we told her we were switching, she was not surprised. Our styles did not mesh and while she would discuss with others how I overreacted (her word) about P. being bitten, we would discuss how the tv was always on and how P. knew characters for TV shows we'd never heard of. P. was very happy there playing with the kids. He always came home clean.
However. Now he's in the CBCCC and loving it as much if not more as M.'s house. There are more kids, but more child care providers. And they're all trained in Early Child Care Education as well as first aid (M. had neither, but misrepresented the first aid bit). They provide meals and P. comes home in a mess, covered in taco, or shepards pie or chicken and rice (they work on a 15 or 18 day cycle and have different meals each of those days and then cycle again. It's good.). If he's not covered in katchup, he's got paint or markers or something on him - which makes me pleased because they're doing something. They don't start quite early enough for us- off by 15 minutes, but are so much more convienent location wise. And he's coming home singing songs as opposed to knowing tv characters. It's wonderful to be seranaded with 'You are my Sunshine' or hear him singing 'Mr Sun' when looking out the window (last weeks theme was 'Sunny Days'). They feel very confortable in letting me know what does not work for them (for example, I wanted to use Pull-ups for P. for a month and they explained what they prefer and why. Or that he needs a nap sometimes, which he hadn't been needing before and which he needs when he goes off schedule and is up too late, but then who stays up too late becaus he naps - we came to an agreement and it's all good.). He goes in and says hi to the people in other rooms then goes to his and starts playing right away. He's happy there too and we're happy as well.
I think the difference can be summed up in what M. called herself. She was a babysitter, they are Early Childhood Educators. She provided a place to go and old toys to play with (she never bought new ones - either the parents provided, which I refused to do or they used ones that her daughter who is now 20 I think used as a child). They provide structure, a mix of old and new toys, different experiences, food, the benefit of training and a facility set up for children. Sometimes people want the first more - one of the other sets of parents enjoyed the grandmother they found in M. and would talk to her every day on the phone, invite her to supper and the like. Some, like us, want the other experience. It's all a matter of personal preference and what you want for your child at that age. Some people would never put their child in a bigger daycare. Heck, some people ensure a parent stays home so that they don't have to worry about daycare. Parenting is so personal. As is daycare.
I think, if P. was in the daycare of the person whose page I was reading, he would have stayed. She sounds like the perfect mix of both Early Childhood Educator, experience and homecare. Reading how some of the parents are makes me reexamine how I am with our childcare providers. We're lucky to have found a good match for us now. Must keep it that way!