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When my older two were little, I felt overwhelmed. By the time Emmy came around, it felt so much easier. Like I had been there, done that, and had a path already paved to walk. I felt it the most when it came to her education. I always say that each child is completely different, even when raised in the same home by the same people, but one thing that didn't change between all three girls was early education. We knew for sure how important it was even with our first, and then with Emmy, we had seen first hand how much it benefited Maddie and Ash.
And really, as a working mom, I knew my girls would need care during the time I was working, it just came down to what kind of care. I wanted that time apart to matter, for them to be happy, have fun and to be mentally challenged in a safe environment.
I wanted pickup time to be filled with happiness to see each other, and also a time where we both looked at each other and said “today was a good day”.
When the actual search for an early education center started, Pete and I considered the same things as the most important, and I think that was really important to our search.
At the top of our must-have was a high-quality program in an accredited center. Early education has come a long way and we sought out a place for our kids to thrive! You can use these tools to make sure a center is accredited: National Association for the Education of Young Children and the Association for Early Learning Leaders.
The location was also really important. I can't stress this one enough for when you start your search. There was a time when Emmy was in preschool, Ashley in elementary school and Maddie in middle school. No biggy right? Except they all got out at the same time. It was like a bad joke trying to decide which child I would pick up on time and which two had to wait for me. Thankfully, her preschool had an extended program that we used for less than an hour every day and Maddie studied with friends in the library for a few minutes after school. It all worked out, but I can only imagine if I didn't work at home with a flexible schedule how crazy this could have gotten.
We wanted our girls to go somewhere we truly loved and didn't feel like we were settling. I didn't stop looking until I found a program with teachers that we loved. I would be entrusting the most important things in my life to these teachers so I had to get that “Yes!” feeling. Once we walked through the doors to their school and met the teachers, there was no going back. In fact, one of Emmy's teachers is still a good friend!
I also knew that I wouldn't be comfortable unless they had all the basics (beyond) covered. Living in Southern California we have earthquakes, but more often wildfires. I had an unfortunate day where all three girls were evacuated from all of their schools for different fires at the same time. I called Pete to come straight home to pick up Maddie and I went to get Ashley. Thankfully, due to Emmy's school's preparations, I already had picked her up. Knowing the schools own limitations as far as transportation goes, they were already on high alert with the weather and had called all the parents to get their children the second a fire had broken pretty far away. Luckily they did because that fire spread quickly towards the center. When we enrolled Emmy in the school I had already gone over their plan so this wasn't a surprise at all to me… just the sign of a great school and staff. I always looked for how clean the school was and their understanding of nutritious food offerings.
I also wanted their actual classroom to be a place that was created to foster the joy of learning. This was also high on my list. I wanted an accessible classroom made just for children her age. I imagined books to read and a stimulating environment. I didn't stop until I found it!
After learning more about KinderCare, I'm so excited to share what I have learned to help you find the perfect early education center for your little one. They opened their first red-roofed center in 1969 for one powerful reason: mothers were entering the workforce. These pioneering families needed a place to care for their children while they pursued their careers – and their dreams.
50 years later, today’s families are ultra-busy, tech-savvy multi-taskers navigating parenting in a constantly shifting world and they want the best for their children and KinderCare is still here making that happen!
Choosing a preschool, daycare and early education center does not have to be hard especially with over 1700 KinderCare locations nationwide. I love their whole-child approach to education that really works to prepare the child for elementary school. Another quality that is super important to me is the partnership mentality between the parents and the teachers. Strong families need equally strong teachers to continue the support beyond our homes. You can learn more about KinderCare and why they should be at the top of your list here.