The childcare assessment: 3 top contenders
All three had a list of items they required for the sensitive/allergic child. They were all pretty much the same. I liked it because it just showed rashy kids had consideration. And it appeared to cover ALL the bases. They even requested a spare blanky (seeing him carrying his) with his name in it to keep there should he start. Just to make certain he'd have his comfort available.
Was met with a clean home and lots of little kids with an appropriate number of adults. One baby was being fed in his high chair by a helper (being fed!!! Not expected to do it himself!!!). Then shortly they were released from the highchair and played with the helper on the floor. They were working on his gross motor skills thru play (yes, they actually have kids who aren't even mobile be "free"!). The other kids were having "Dance Time". Normally I don't like computer games, but DDR (well, a knock off. The game memory is in the mat and it hooks straight to the tv)? That’s actually pretty good. Apparently it's the only game. And there's no cable down there.
Her paperwork wasn't very organized and she said she'd have to get me part of her package later (and this was the sum of her violations--paperwork). But she did tell me a lot about her care, about the kids personalities (even fessed up there's one little toddler who has a fascination with pulling blonde hair), and her philosophy.
Primarily, that kids need a few things to be happy. They need full tummies, love and affection, stimulation, and freedom to play and be kids. We discussed my now misgivings about childcare due to past experience. She stated she would never have an infant responsible for his own feeding in totale. Yes, finger foods on a tray. But the real important things like breastmilk or formula should be taken with more care. They hold the baby and feed them. Sippie cups are just to learn from and are for things like water and juice. And if he had mush (which he only has at breakfast since he likes his oatmeal) they'd do it till he'd mastered a spoon. No age required for mastery...just that it be mastered before they'd stop helping.
Cribs are for naptime, highchairs for eating, bouncies and motorized swings for the immobile for short stints.
All the kids had a curriculum...even the infants. But it was all age-appropriate (like Sasha would be brought over to play with a ball at some point to learn how to roll it to someone and grab when rolled to him) and timed according to attention span. The older kids (2-3) might have 20 minutes. Sasha might have 5. In between would be periods of free play. And I mean free. After a lesson the kids were racing and climbing all over.
Kids are kids. Toddlers will have moments of aggression. Teething infants will bite. These are just to be understood and accepted. But it's up to them to figure out each kids quirk and learn to anticipate something about to happen and step in before it does. They were doing a pretty good job of it too. Although some crying did happen, it was mostly accidents or minor incidents ("she took my toy!"). They also did a good job of bringing about discipline without seeming scary or strict.
I like this. No harshness. Unacceptable behavior was largely just avoided with redirection before it happened. If it did, it was treated as a lesson. Kids that age don't know any better so need to be TAUGHT, not punished. Discipline has many forms.
I did talk about the crying and Sasha's lack of kissiness to his previous caregiver having been a problem. She just said no worries. Crying in her mind was just him voicing his complaint (and no wonder!! He was thirsty/hungry!...and probably missed Mommy too!). It'd go away eventually. And she could see his personality was more active/investigative right now (as he checked under the carpets and dumped out a toybox). He was busy trying to learn, and that shouldn't be considered a problem.
Sasha played there quite happily racing around with the toddlers. He doesn't really "play with" yet...except in the game of chase or Peek-a-boo. THOSE he has fun with.
An actual center. Lots of security (fingerprint scanner to get in). Webcams in each room that parents can access via the web and a PIN they'd get upon registration. And when watching parents are to feel free to call in in response. I like this. A lot.
They too believe in feeding children until mastery is achieved. And did not believe that cribs were for anything but naps and highchairs for anything but feeding. Swings and bouncies were for smaller children...those mobile and able to play should be allowed to do so freely.
They didn't have any issue with crying. He was a baby. It's what they do.
They do have a menu plan, but I saw a LOT of pineapple and foods I'd consider "junk". Don't think so.
Their violation list really worries me though. It's not just paperwork or simple things that could have been caused by bad inspector timing.
Sasha wasn't really able to play there well. They at that moment had someone in the infant room (he'd be placed there) doing work and he kept going straight for the power tools. Also, he was the only one who was mobile. Not so fun for him. Or the other babies who he kept taking things from and they couldn't take them back.
A nice clean home. However, was met with a lot of "Free Afganistan", anti-war but not in a "Bush is a power hungry idiot" vein propaganda on the wall. This worries me a tad. We aren't muslim and I work for the Dark Side (albeit in an area not involved in aggression). And we're required to put work contact info. My worries are this could potentially affect Sasha's care.
She just had one kid other than her own youngest. Nice small child:adult ratio. Her philosophy was simple. Care for the child in whatever way the parents say and give them nice, fresh, homecooked food. Which she supplies. And she could handle the crying. The little boy she had took 3 months to acclimate as a baby. And now he's grown to almost ready to start school.
She did have the TV on for the kids to watch. Which probably would bother me more if Sasha had any interest at all in TV. But he doesn't.
Her violation list was also paperwork and possible bad inspector timing. Nothing huge.
Sasha was able to play and investigate freely. Lots of rugs to look under and low firm cushions to climb. And one toy that was a small doorway with "activities" he just adored.
So, that's the sum of things so far. And these don't seem too bad and even #2...with the cameras I might let things slide. I dunno.