NoVA Region: Finding the best daycare for our son

I have something hiding from your guys. I am 8 months pregnant so far. It will be a wonderful new chapter in our lives starting this December. Right now I am doing different kinds of research, preparing for the big day, and waiting to meet our little one.

We did quite a few daycare tour these days. My baby will be born in fewer than 2 months. On one hand, I am looking forward to the motherhood adventure. On the other hand, there is still fear in my mind– I never look after anyone full time before and I can’t remember when is the last time I hold a baby in my arm. As a mom-to-be, I hope I can give the best thing to him and if I cannot handle the situation well, sending him to a good day care center might be a good alternative. I learned from many moms here in the US that when the kids are 3-6 months old they will send them to the daycare center. It might be not that bad if we put our kid in a reputable daycare. Anyway, why not start to take tours and I will know whether it is beneficial to my kid or not?

I started to do extensive research online and some of the keywords are “the best daycare in Northern Virginia””best infant care” etc. There are several key factors that I looked into such as teacher-student ratio, facility environment, safety, philosophy as well as the calendar/schedule. The daycare center in northern Virginia is not cheap. On average, a good daycare cost around $100 a day/ $2,000 a month. To be honest, it will be a big cost for our family in the upcoming year! It is also expensive since it is in northern Virginia, almost twice and triple than the national average!

The center we have visited are Leport Montessori, Merit Academy, Le petit academy, bright horizon at Innova Fairfax. There are still five places we plan to visit. They are all good day care center but have a different style. Some claimed themselves are more than just day care. Some more focused on children’s independent development and some are more emphasized on academic development. For infant care, they separate them into 2 stages: 0-6 months old and 7-12 months old.

After close observation, we think the good infant care has more qualified and trained teachers, bigger opening space for infant to play, a very cozy and safe environment. Winwood daycare center has video camera service which let parents watch their babies anytime they want. The babies there are also very happy. The teachers seem loving and playing with them. It has some kind of flexibility. You can join in any time of the year and free to add on the waitlist. There is one-week vacation credit.  Merit Academy has a different clear schedule for babies. The whole set up is in order and the teachers are highly trained. However, it has to follow a very strict school calendar. The young infant has to be enrolled from August,21st 2018 to August 2019. There is no vacation credit for any situation. You have to pay to save the spot even in August you are not fully prepared to go. The tuition is also the most expensive so far, around $22,000 a year. However, I think the real advantage for Merrit Academy is its education between 3 years old — 5 years old. It is more academic and STEM-focused. Leport Montessori is also a high-end child development center for toddlers to train their independence and hands-on activities. We will attend some seminars held by them to learn more about the founder’s philosophy in the future. I will keep updating this article when I do more tours and will share with you guys!

Do you have any daycare center or home care center recommendation in Fairfax County? Feel free to comment below and let us discuss! Hope to hear from you guys!

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