I officially started full-time work on 1 February 2016 after taking a break for about a year and some months. My daughter was also starting day care on the same day. We had already visited the school when it was in session and preferred it because it was more flexible compared to others.
My husband decided that we go in very early to enable us spend some time with her before heading off to work. We wanted her to settle in smoothly and be comfortable with her new environment before leaving. I complained as usual about waking up so early but I really didn’t have a choice…….(I love my sleep, if there was a job that paid for sleeping am sure I would be rich by now)…. I knew it was for the best but my lazy mind could not reconcile the thought of waking up so early.
We got to the school about 6:20 am because from our initial inquiries and visits we got the understanding the school was open from 6am to 6pm plus it had a lot of flexibility (close at 6pm and charged daily if you wished to try out the school before making a final decision to enroll your child) which every parent looks out for. We got there and no teacher was around, it was just a security man. We decided to wait in the car for about 10 mins, that when the teacher on duty came. She told us they received the kids from 6:30 am which was a surprise because we understood they were open from 6am as explained by the receptionist on the day we visited the school. We decided to wait patiently for the other teachers to arrive, which was no bother since we still had ample time to make it to work.
The teacher on duty kept making phone calls and was unable to reach the others. She couldn’t even reach the cleaner! One would expect the cleaner to be one of the first people to get to work before the kids and teachers come in. They looked disorganised that morning, completely different from the picture we saw the last afternoon we visited on daycare scouting rounds.
We still ignored it (everyone has a bad day once in a while) and took it as one of those things. God needed to give us another sign to guide us in our decision. There and then I felt the urge to use the washroom. I was escorted to the washroom and the lady kept apologising that the cleaner was yet to report to work. I dreaded going to the washroom but didn’t have much of an option. I won’t mar your appetite by describing the unclean state of the washroom. Was this where my daughter would be cleaned? Was this the filth that will be transferred to my daughter? No way!
I got out and sent my husband a text about the state of the washroom. We had our little discussion after he left the lobby to join me outside. We decided not to enroll her. It was too short of a notice to get another school because we were already running late plus it was my first day at work. It won’t make a good first impression. We however managed to check out one of the schools on our list which we never got the chance to inspect. Teachers were already in school and more also they looked very organised. We quickly dropped her at my Aunt’s place on short notice with plans to enroll her the next day.
With this experience I learnt the following and would like to share with other parents:
1. Timing is key!
When making a decision about your child’s daycare I advise you to pay a visit very early at the exact time they open or even a few minutes early. It’s the best time to assess how the facility is run.
We checked it out in the afternoon and by then they would have already settled any early morning issues. We saw the kids playing, others were sleeping and we observed their interaction with the kids and concluded prematurely. I believe that is one of the biggest mistakes most parents make.
2. Checkout their washroom
You know that line of thought that says, ‘to know how clean a person’s home is you should visit their washroom and kitchen’. This also applies to our situation. It might look all rosy on the outside but might have a lot of issues and filth on the inside.
We were blown away by their colourful and kid friendly classrooms dedicated to the various year groups. We didn’t bother about the other rooms (by that I mean their washrooms).
This the same washroom the caregiver will visit and later handle your child with. Kids are fragile and can easily catch an infection so it’s very key. A clean environment should be a must! must!
There are varied options people assess when making a decision but for me these are the very important and life saving tips that saved us that day. We were indeed saved by the bell! Luckily we were yet to pay her admission fee, that made it easy for us to easily pull her out of the school.
Other considerations we are all aware of include the teacher to child ratio, requesting for a tour of the entire facility, opening and closing hours and most importantly you are the boss seeking to engage a caregiver so you have every right to ask all the questions.
I love her new school, although they close early compared to the other, we still prefer them. Their enrollment forms were very detailed: doctors name, number, hospital, allergies etc. That was not the case with the previous one. They also keep written records of her day at school and also take pics to share with parents.
What more could a parent ask for?
Do you have any daycare experiences and tips that you would love to share with other parents, just comment directly or drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will feature it on my page.