It's been well over a week since I returned to work, so I thought I would post how I (and Jack, duh!) is feeling about daycare.
Jack goes to Karen's house four days a week and to Nana's on Fridays. He is dropped off at the butt crack of dawn so Mommy can get to work early and then leave early so she has more time with the wee one. 6:45 comes quickly, but you gotta do what you gotta do.
I really like Karen and her very laid back attitude. Jack is always incredibly happy when I pick him up. He is also incredibly tired from all the interaction with the other kids. Jack is the only baby at daycare but he doesn't seem to mind. He is constantly smiling and cooing at Isaac, one of Karen's sons. He probably doesn't realize that they aren't the same age.
When I arrive in the morning, the house is very quiet and neat. Jack is the first child there and he gets some one on one time with Karen. They play on the floor with toys or read books. If Jack is asleep, she lets him sleep in his carseat until he wakes up. Funny, but when I arrive to pick him up in the afternoon, it's completely opposite. It's loud and chaotic and there are toys everywhere. But you know what? That is life at a daycare. The kids are all happy and polite and have fun playing. Jack doesn't seem to mind either.
Like I mentioned previously, Karen is very laid back. She is Christian and bases her daycare on Christian values. She teaches the kids about God and Jesus. This was very important to me when I was on the hunt for a provider. We want to raise Jack Christian, so I wanted a provider that was in support of that. Woo hoo! She is calm, and even when one of the kids yells, she calmly tells them that yelling is for outside and tries to re-direct their energy.
And can I say that I LOVE that she washes the bottles that Jack uses while he is there? It might be insignificant, but with bottles that have four parts to wash, it's so nice that she does them for me. It's 16 less pieces for me to wash when I get home.
All in all, I am happy with Karen. I love that she has the kids on a schedule but that she's flexible. I love that I get a report of how Jack did every day. I love when she tells me about something new Jack has done. I don't feel bad about leaving my baby there every day. Confession: I never cried when I dropped Jack off the first day, or second, or third. I thought I would be very sad about putting him in daycare, but you know what? I need to work and he's in good company, so I can't be very sad. I am just blessed that I found someone that takes good care of my baby.
When Jack gets older, if he is still at Karen's, I am really pleased to see that she is participating in the USDA's Child and Adult Care Food Program. She also continually goes to training and classes so she can stay up to date on the newest childcare information. She has an excellent philosophy and provides such an informational packet that I had to ask so few questions when I interviewed her.
And for those who are interested, I thought I would post the schedule she uses for the kids. Clearly, Jack doesn't do some of these things, but I think it's neat that she has a schedule.
6:00 am: Daycare opens; free play
7:30 am: Breakfast
8:20 am: Walk to bus stop
9:05 am: Free play
9:30 am: Morning snack
10:30 am: Outside play
11:45 am: Art
12:15 pm: Lunch
12:45 pm: Clean up
1:00 pm: Story time
1:15 pm: Nap time
3:45 pm: Afternoon snack
4:30 pm: Outside play
5:30 pm: Clean up
6:00 pm: Daycare closes
Such an orderly schedule! I found out that Jack LOVES to go outside for play time. He mostly just watches the other kids and plays on a blanket, or sits in the bouncer watching the other kids. Obviously, he gets held a lot by Karen too : )
Here is her thoughts on outside play: Children need the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and exercise their large muscles. Toys provided include small climbing equipment and slides, balls and bats, basketball hoop, sandbox, water table, playhouse, riding toys, and bubbles. We will be going outside every day to the bus stop, and playing outside unless it is raining hard or near freezing temperature.
Since it rains all the time in Portland, I like that a little rain or drizzle doesn't detour her from bringing the kids outside. If it is terrible weather, she does indoor activities with the kids like dancing, jumping, playing musical instruments or playing with balloons.
The kids get a lot of variety and play, as evidenced by my very sleepy baby. He is so tired most nights that he has been going down to bed at 7:30. A whole half hour earlier than I am used to!
I will continue to post reviews about Karen's. For now (and I hope for a very long time), I really like taking Jack there. He loves it too!