KinderCare: Jack’s Baby Boarding School

Nine months.

For over a month now, Jack has been going to “day care.” But after seeing what it’s like, I can’t even use that phrase any more. He is enrolled in a KinderCare Learning Center, which I like to call his “baby boarding school.”

My preconceived ideas of “day care” consisted of a room full of crying babies while Disney movies entertained the older kids down the hall. That is not at all what Jack experiences Monday through Friday at KinderCare.

One of my roles as Jack’s dad is to transport him to and from KinderCare each day. Honestly, it’s not one of those difficult routines where he furiously cries in fear as I drop him off each morning. Instead, he is greeted by a familiar face that is warm and welcoming. The ratio of babies to adults is 4 to 1. And even though Jack is only 9 months old, it is obvious to me that he is being engaged by his teachers as well as his surroundings.

My wife and I get a daily report letting us know how many dirty and wet diapers he had, his nap schedule, his general mood, and specific comments about how that day at KinderCare was different from the rest. Our favorite comment so far was, “Jack really had a great time outside today. He enjoyed playing with the mulch.”

That just cracks me up. It figures. Despite the toys and fresh air in the yard there, the thing he would find the most fascination in is the mulch. Classic Jack.

Without a doubt, I am convinced that his enrollment at KinderCare has enhanced his social skills.While being there, he doesn’t have my wife or me there to interfere or favor him in his interactions with the other babies. In his micro-society, he learns to interact with them on a level playing field.  And that’s important to me.

Obviously, I want a well-balanced kid, not one that has been overly comforted and has lived a perfect life of ease. I like the fact he is used to the routine of me leaving him for a while, knowing that I am coming back to pick him up. I want him to know that he can be okay without me being there every minute of the day.

That being said, I only work a block away from KinderCare, so I’m never really all that far away. And despite his need for independence from me, I like knowing that I can be there in two minutes flat.

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  1. by Karen

    On September 1, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    This actually makes me feel really good, Nick. Thanks. In January we’re putting Anna in a daycare program at the local high school (2minutes flat from the elementary school I work at) for the same reasons. I adore our babysitter and she’s been a true blessing for the past 9months, but at some point my Banana needs that interaction with other kids! I’m excited to see how she gets along once the transition arrives. :)

  2. by Nick Shell

    On September 1, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    Karen, though it may be a bit of an adjustment for you at first, if the day care center is anything like KinderCare, you’ll be very pleased and at peace with it.

  3. by Peggy Zola

    On September 3, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    I love what you wrote, Nick. My son attends a Kindercare Learning Center in New Hampshire. I love them and have been amazed by my son’s growth since he started there. He is a little over 2 years old right now and started at 4 months. The staff is fantastic and I am so happy that we made the decision to send him here. I am a classroom teacher and can see that he will be ready for elementary school when that time comes (not only academically but socially and emotionally as well).

    Thank you again for what you wrote. As a Kindercare parent, I truly enjoyed reading it. Best of luck to Jack!

  4. by Felicia Wilson

    On September 3, 2011 at 11:20 pm

    I have to say this is a very enlightening article. I am an infant teacher at a Kindercare in WA state. I love my job! I love working with the infants. Something that we have been trained in is that Kinder Care is not a day care! We are a learning center for children. This includes the infants. I know that it may seem to an outsider that I am just playing with a baby, but in reality I am helping teach an infant skills that he will be able to use in his future. Learning starts at day 1!!

  5. by Susan

    On August 10, 2012 at 9:25 am

    My son has attended a Kindercare Learning Center since he was 11 weeks old (with 2 months off while I was out of work.) It was hard for me to send him there at first, but at the time I was a single parent and I had to work. I am happy to say that I am so happy with the results. I completely trust his teachers, and he has developed a strong bond with them as well. In fact I have been jealous at times about how much he likes them, but on the other hand, I am delighted. I think he really thrives on the daily routine, and the social interaction that he receives. He is a very social toddler (23 months now) and definitely seems advanced for his age. (Of course I could be biased :) )