I visited two daycare centers in Cedar Falls yesterday. Honestly, I’m not sure what I expected, but below is a summary of my experiences.
1st Kids Preschool & Childcare – Located in basement of First United Methodist Church
- Full-time only
- 6 weeks to 2 years-old $160 per week
- 2 years-old to 6 years-old $140 per week
- 6:30am – 6pm
- Infant formula, cereal, and baby food provided; regular food and whole milk provided at 1 year; freezer available for breast milk
- $200 fee to join wait list, includes the first week of childcare fees
Unfortunately I was not impressed with this center. I wasn’t exactly sure which entrance to use, thus I walked in a side door which led me into the church. There were LOTS of signs pointing me toward the childcare center and thus I found it with ease, to which I assume the rest of the world could as well. I wandered around a bit and finally a woman walking into a restroom asked if I needed assistance. There were no locks or any type of security that I could see. Since this center is located in the basement of an older church, it was rather dark and dreary, no windows or natural light in any of the rooms. During my tour of the infant room one child was being fed while sitting in a positional chair on the floor, I didn’t see any high chairs. The center only takes eight infants at a time, the other seven children were playing about, one was in a swing. Ratio of adults to infants is 1:4, thus two adults were present in the infant room. The caregivers appeared nice enough, but something about them screamed white trash. (Sorry, harsh I know, but that was the first thought that went through my head…) Okay, and if I’m being completely honest, the director of the center who lead me around on my tour was cross-eyed. I know, I shouldn’t judge, but speaking with her was really distracting since she never focused on my face during conversation. I was able to peek into the darkened toddler room as well, since with the 2+ year wait list it’s very possible baby girl would skip the infant room altogether. All of the children in the toddler room were napping, each on their own cots covered with blankets. (How do they get them all to nap at the same time??)
- Two locations in Cedar Falls & one location in Waterloo
- Part-time offered – minimum of 6 hours/day, 3 days/week ($71 to $158 per week)
- Infant and toddler $3.95/hour
- 2 year-olds $3.40/hour
- 3 year-olds $3.30/hour
- 4/5 year-olds $3.20/hour
- Before & after school $3.60/hour
- 6am – 6pm
- Infant formula provided; freezers available for breast milk
- $25 to join wait list for three locations
One of the Cedar Falls locations was my second and final visit of the day and thus I was able to compare and contrast. And I was much more impressed! Parking was interesting though, no true parking lot, just street parking limited to 10 minutes for pickups and drop-offs along the front of the building. Could be a pain in the winter/rain as a bit of a walk to the door. Main entrance was clearly marked with a staffed office right inside the door where I was greeted by one of the directors, a woman maybe my age, very polite and professional. This site is actually in an old elementary school, so quite large, lots of rooms, two for infants and two for toddlers I toured. Each room has windows and an emergency exit. Entrances are locked, code for main provided to parents. Computers present near entrance for parents to check children in and out each day. Since part-time is offered you can change your schedule weekly if you wish. The care staff appeared a bit younger than at 1st Kids, I wouldn’t say college age, but definitely young, although all seemed polite and educated. The lead teachers in each room where older, perhaps 40ish. Rooms where organized similar to 1st Kids, each child had an area for their items, sheets sent home each evening with information, each child has their own crib, high chairs cleaned after each child’s use, etc.
So overall, much more impressed with CUCCC and thus I paid $25 to join their wait list. They expect me to be called in a year to two years with an opening. Location isn’t a concern for me, as I have little idea what I’ll be doing for work, so I’m taking that out of the equation for now. There are still a few more places I want to visit but I do have one question for those of you already parents… Do any of you use Care.com? It was recommended to me by a few friends and looks quite handy. They seem to offer consistent care, such as a nanny or someone who would come to your home to watch your children on a regular basis, but also could be used one-time or a few times, like date nights and such. Just wondering if anyone had any experiences with it to share. I joined with a free account so far, so I can only see so much about each caregiver registered, but I might pay for a 3-month subscription so I can investigate a little further. This might be an option in the meantime before we have something regular set up.