Interviewing Daycares

We recently went to 2 daycares to check them out as they both held an open house to greet potential new families.

First, I must say, thank you to everyone who commented on my original post about our upcoming daycare visits.  You all helped us out so much!  I think Mr. MPB and I have both read the comment section multiple times and I’m still trying to find time to respond to every comment because we totally appreciated your insight!

Honestly, thanks to everyone’s sound advice we felt equipped with the ‘right’ questions to ask.  Questions like:

  • how frequently they sterilize toys;
  • how the deal with discipline;
  • what are their meals like;
  • what is the sick policy;
  • what is the kid-supervisor ratio;
  • what is the commute to each location like;
  • when and how do the children nap;
  • how much time do the children spend outside each time;
  • what is security like;
  • do they have set pick-up/drop-off times;
  • when and how often do they communicate with parents;
  • how much does part time and full time care cost;
  • what are the wait-times for enrollment;
  • what is their staff retention like, etc.

I totally understand what so many people said in their comments about watching Baby MPB’s reaction and also just listening to our gut.  Mr. MPB and I had very strong instant feelings about both centres.  And our reactions were nearly identical.

I should point out that both of these facilities are run by the same organization and are accredited by our provincial government.  So technically they should follow the same government rules and implement the same organizational programming.

So here’s the colesnotes version of our visits:

  • Location 1 is about 10 minutes from our house.  We know someone who has 2 children enrolled in this daycare which meant we had some insight into their operations before we arrived. Upon arrival Baby MPB was pretty happy to play in the space.  The centre’s director was very good with him and she answered all our questions.  The centre was bright with lots of windows.  It was colourful and the rooms were of a decent size.  We lead the conversation, and the centre’s director took the time to answer our questions and added little bits of information here and there.  She showed us the entire facility and explained the ages for each room and when/how children move between rooms.  She also indicated that the facility can house about 60 kids and they currently have a waitlist so it will probably take a few months to get Baby MPB into the facility.
  • Location 2 is actually closer to our house, maybe 5 minutes if we hit all the traffic lights on the drive.  Baby MPB didn’t instantly engage with the space and the toys, but to be fair it was getting close to lunch time and he was getting hungry.  The entrance to the facility had about 10 outdoor stairs which I instantly didn’t like as I can see ice/snow as making the twice daily entrance with a small child frustrating.  Inside, the facility wasn’t very bright as nearly all the windows were covered by dark blinds.  It just looked dingy, like it was in need of a new paint job and a general refreshment.  The baby room (where Baby MPB would start) was really small.  We were not able to see the entire facility, just the 2 rooms that Baby MPB would be in for the first while.  We weren’t really given the opportunity to ask questions and we most definitely didn’t lead the conversation.  Instead, it felt like a rehearsed sales pitch was being delivered to us.  As part of her sales pitch we did learn that the facility can hold almost 120 kids and they have immediate capacity so Baby MPB could start there tomorrow.

Just from my description of the centres, you can probably guess which one we both preferred.

We have actually put Baby MPB on the waitlist at Location 1!  I still have some mixed feelings about this, mostly related to my desire to keep him at home longer (probably a post for another day), but I am glad that we have him on the list so if we lose our temporary nanny we have the possibility of alternate childcare.

All this said, we are still planning to visit 2 other daycare centres in the coming weeks when we can align our schedules with their visitor times.  They are both further away from our house with a far less then idea commute, but we’d really like to see a few daycares run by a different organization.

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8 Comments on “Interviewing Daycares

  1. I’m glad that they offer open houses so that prospective parents and children and see what each location has to offer. I definitely going with your gut is a smart decision and it sounds like the first place has some good things going for it. Keep us updated on when baby MPB gets in!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m glad you found at least 1 that you’ve liked so far! It’s such a big decision and I think you’re going about it in the right way. So often in my old town, the only question asked was how much? Needless too say, it’s one of the more poor counties in our state.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Kinda funny, if they’re the same company, how different they were. I’ll have to keep that in mind if/when the time comes that we have to look into daycare, since we have a lot of “chain” daycare centers here. I’m glad that you really liked one of them though, that has to be a relief! Hopefully the other interviews go well. Do you have any idea when your nanny will be leaving you?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Not sure if this is the “chain” you’ve visited but we have BG in Brightpaths and we love it! There are multiple locations in my city as well, but the one we have BG in is the newest so the facility is amazing, and I really like the directors. I think that can be a difference maker, even with different locations of the same company; the facility itself and the staff. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Good luck as you continue your search. Choosing a daycare/preschool was a little stressful when we did our search this past summer. It’s a big decision, but when we found the right place we just knew. Watching your kid in the space and how the teachers interact with him tells you a lot. Sounds like this was your experience as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Daycare is a tough transition- we had to do it when Michael was 15 months because my husband’s parents who watched him for us started to have some health issues. The cost is the worst part, to be honest. But, I am thankful he is in daycare. I am sure he wouldn’t be where he is, developmentally, without it. He knows all of his letters and can count to 10 already.. he’s been able to do that since right before he turned 2. That doesn’t mean every kid will be that way, but I do think daycare had a lot to do with it. Also the socialization skills, too.
    For us, the first 3 months were the worst. Every week it felt like a new sickness- and I would get it too. Joy! But, it did get better after that.
    Good luck! I’m glad you’re listening to your gut so you’re doing all the right things. I look forward to hearing how he’s adjusting to it and the differences you start to see (good differences!)

    Liked by 1 person

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