We've enrolled Elijah in the Child Care centre down the road, three days a week. Now that I'm working more during the day and now that he's getting older and closer to when he must go to school, we decided to bite the bullet and put him into part-time care. We tried contacting Family Day Care, but they never returned our calls, so we checked out the very small centre nearby and decided that it's actually quite a good fit for us. What we like about it most is that it seems to be the antithesis of pretty much every other centre we've ever seen. It's small (definitely less than 30 children there all up, including the babies - possibly less than two dozen, but I haven't counted). There's a high ratio of carers to children. The carers are busy but not harried or overwhelmed. They encourage parental involvement. They aren't rigid with their programming. The owners are there on site and involved in the care of the children at the centre as well as the business side of things. They just reduced their fees when all the other centres are putting them up. All up, it didn't feel like a "machine" like other centres I've visited.
The big benefit for Elijah is that he gets to socialise with other children and will hopefully learn that he is also a child and not a small adult, which is his current perspective. We're not too concerned at the moment about the educational side of the centre because that's not our focus. We just want him to be able to socialise with his peers instead of running away from them, screaming in fear.
The best thing, however, is that Elijah loves it there. He wants to go every day, doesn't want to leave and asks to go back as soon as we've closed the gate. He particularly likes the toys they have, which is funny because he has plenty of toys at home that he hasn't touched in ages, but he also seems to like the carers and the environment and there has been no separation anxiety whatsoever. He is coming home exhausted and ratty, but hopefully as he gets used to it, that will settle down.
Next week is actually our first week of attendance on all three days. This week he only attended Monday and Friday because he was suffering from a cold midweek and too sick to go. Last week he was there with Daddy for two hours of orientation and then a full day by himself. Next week, he'll be champing at the bit to go for all three days, I'm sure.