Choosing childcare is one of the toughest decisions you can make as a parent. There are so many factors to consider. Our little Monkeys love their daycare, it is so their thing! When we were looking for a daycare to put them in, childcare options in our area of the city were limited. After reviewing various options, Mr. Mama and I decided I would stay home with our twins until they turned 18 months old then place them in a group setting. The good news was, there were a few group daycares slated to open by the time our twins reached that milestone.
We chose to put our toddlers in a new business called Monkey Around Play & Learn Centre. Some of you may be familiar with Monkey Around’s super safe and fun Play area. What many people don’t realize there is a childcare (the “Learn” part of Play & Learn) tucked away on the side of the building. It’s the first of its kind in Canada to combine both childcare and public playgym in the same facility!
We were one of the first families to sign up and were very excited and impressed by the newness and niceness of the facility and staff. One of our neighbours told us we would see so many changes in our toddlers once they start daycare.. and she was right! Since starting daycare just over 7 months ago, Little Mister and Little Missy stopped wanting to eat in their highchairs and graduated to a little table and chairs. Day by day they got better at feeding themselves. They know all the names of their little friends in class. There’s a little boy in particular that Little Missy can’t help but smile whenever she says his name… that has Mr. Mama worried!
They are now independent enough to put on their own boots, hats, scarfs, jackets and even mitts! They’ve learned to put on their jackets using the ‘magic trick’ where you place the jacket upside down on the floor, stick both arms through the armholes and flip the jacket over your head. Don’t forget to clap at the end of the magic trick!
Recently, we bumped into another family whose toddler is in their class. The little boy’s parents had only good things to say about the daycare, so Mr. Mama and I did not feel like we were the only ones who loved that place! Granted this is our only experience with daycare, and group daycare centres are more expensive than home care, but for us it was worth it. Originally we were looking to put our tots in a Montessori, but after looking at a few options, we chose Monkey Around because it’s open until 6pm so we don’t have to rush from work.
We used the following criteria to choose a daycare provider in no particular order: distance from our house, distance from our workplaces, hours of operation, qualifications of the educators, monthly cost, variety of meals, daily schedule, placement of outdoor play yard, quality of toys, ratio of educators to children, and curriculum.
Two bonus items we got with Monkey Around that wasn’t part of our checklist are: a security system based on photo ID for daycare children, and that our toddlers have access to the playgym when it was too cold or rainy to play outside. Other things we love about their daycare and that I think are great to have for any childcare is the quality of the food and the learning environment. In our twins’ case, they are served breakfast, lunch and snack cooked by an in-house chef. Plus the kids are in a bilingual environment where they learn colours, numbers and the alphabet in English and French.
On the downside, since this was their first winter in daycare our house had more than its share of sickness. Also, our mornings and evenings are crazy busy with packing the kids into the car for daycare and back. But it’s worth it when they — despite our breaking hearts — run away from us the second their feet touch the ground of their little classroom.
What was your biggest criteria for your child’s childcare provider? What changes have you noticed in your children once they started daycare?
Ambereen Rahim is a senior analyst, part-time blogger and mom of three year old boy/girl twins. In her spare time you can find her travelling, exploring activities with the kids, trying new recipes and blogging about it. You can follow their adventures on twitter @2cuteblog www.2cute.intiaz.com