I’m a teacher. I have a degree in Elementary Ed (K-6), Special Ed (birth-12) and minors in elementary and middle school math. Teaching has been my dream for as long as I could remember. Each summer in college and after graduating while subbing and looking for a full time position, I found a job at a daycare because what else does a teacher wanna be wanna do? I worked at The Goddard School for about 2 years and then another local daycare for more years than that.
Here’s the thing I’ve learned over the years: daycares get SUCH a bad reputation.
But, Why? What good is it to tell a mom that you hate daycares or that they aren’t worth it or just a ton of money when some families literally have no other option? I loved those kids like they were my own. Sure, there were days some weren’t my favorite, but I have days when my own child isn’t my favorite! Each day I was greeted with smiles, and sometimes crying as I had to watch children say bye to their parents, but know they would be well cared for while they were at the daycare.
I’m not going to say daycares aren’t worth the money they cost, but I will say I wish it were able to be less. For as much money as it costs to send your child to daycare, please know that the teachers are NOT making anywhere close to what they should be. It’s sad, but it’s currently the state of our country.
Sometimes I wish I had Annabelle in daycare a few days a week, and here’s why:
Why I think daycare is a great thing:
Social aspect– my kiddo hates going to other people and leaving me. I wish she’d run to others or be more social. But she’s a total mommy and daddy’s girl. It’s nice, but daycares open that aspect for kids because they have to get to know others.
Friendships– I love seeing Annabelle play with other kids her age, but I know it’s not as often as I’d like. In daycare, they are playing with their peers all day long. I try to do the library and head to the mall where other kids are, but quite frankly, a lot of other kid centered things are a lot of money.
Activities– I’m not a super mom. I don’t plan activities for every day with Annabelle to teach her. I should, and I have plans to, but those plans haven’t morphed into anything yet.
Table etiquette– When kids turn 1 (at least where I worked!), they start sitting in chairs for meals, using utensils, and learning manners. While Annabelle has always used utensils and we make her say please and thank you, the whole sitting still for a length of time in a chair is something she is not good at. Unless it’s her high chair.
Circle time– Trying to get 10- 1 1/2 year olds to sit still for circle time is pretty much impossible BUT it can be done and the kids learn from it! They learn how to listen to stories. They learn sign language (some), Spanish (Goddard did this), and their attention span expands. They pick up new words, and do learn from their peers who are sitting still.
Toys– Daycares have tons of toys and things that you just don’t have at home. It gives the kiddos a chance to play with different things, and keeps them from being bored at home. They are constantly learning and playing with others, too. I know we used to have rice bins, and pom poms to play with, and tons of other things that quite frankly, I just don’t want in my house right now! ha
Individual play– Daycare is a great place to learn individual play. While I did play with kids all day long, there was no way the few teachers in the room could focus on each student playing with them all the time. They had to learn how to play by themselves or with others, and that’s an incredible skill for them to learn!
So there you have it. Maybe you’re pregnant and dreading daycare. Maybe you are moving from family and daycare is your only option. Maybe you just hear horror stories. Whatever it may be, I hope this gives you some hope in the daycare realm. I recommend visiting a few daycares and really speaking with the staff and others who go there before you decide. You want your child to be loved and there is definitely a daycare out there for that!
Also know that Annabelle has never been in daycare and this is all my opinion from teaching in one. Of course I didn’t touch on what I don’t like about daycare, which that includes the whole set schedules/room changes/different teachers/sick kids all the time aspects.