Finding the right daycare for your child is one of the most important decisions you'll ever make. There are so many options to choose from, so where do you start?
First time parents have so many things to learn and choices to make even before their baby is born. Choices like who will care for the child and how to pay for it.
Katie Guilbeau and her husband Gary started searching for day care as soon as they found out she was pregnant. Katie knew she wanted to continue her career after baby Nathan was born and decided to do the research on child care providers. She knew she wanted a facility that could provide education as Nathan grew older.
"The first thing I did was get references from friends who had their children in daycare. I asked questions. I wanted to know the teachers and what kind of training they had," said Katie.
While Katie was certain a traditional daycare was best, Gary, having been raised by a stay at home mom, wasn't so sure.
"I didn't really feel comfortable with daycare at first, " said Gary.
But after learning more about the different types of daycares in the area, he changed his mind.
"I spent weeks researching different daycares and toured several facilities and along with interviewing the directors of the day care, I spent time in the rooms with the children just to see how the instructors interacted with the children," said Katie.
One thing they Guillbeaus weren't prepared for was the high cost of childcare, ranging anywhere from $400 to $800 a month. They decided, no matter the cost, no price was too high to ensure the well being of Nathan.
The Guilbeaus eventually decided on St. Joseph's Eagle's Nest. They were impressed with the structured environment and small class sizes.
"When I walked in, I checked everything out. I felt very comfortable," said Gary.
Nathan started Eagle's Nest when he was three months old, and now at seven months, the Guilbeaus say they are happy with their decision to put him in daycare.
"They learn so much at daycare. They learn wonderful social skills and have a great time interacting with other children. I think it's really beneficial for them to be in that type of environment," said Katie.
Eagle's Nest director Kathy Muegge, has been in the daycare business for 14 years. She knows what parents are looking for.
"They're looking at the class size, they're looking at what kind of programs we offer. They're looking at what the teachers are certified in, what our ratings are," said Muegge.
Activities and interaction caught the attention of the Guilbeaus. They wanted Nathan to be exposed to a variety of things.
"At 12 months old we start sign language, Spanish and music. We also offer gymnastics and dance," said Muegge.
Katie admits at first it was tough leaving Nathan at the daycare and heading off to work. But says the family has adjusted. Even though the decision wasn't easy. The Guilbeaus believe they have found the right daycare for their son.