The home childcare we visited is very warm and pleasant and a more formal operation than I expected. EnviroKid was in a different home childcare as a baby that was just one lady caring for a few kids in her home. This place is a licensed center with 4 adults (including one man--EnviroKid was very pleased to see this proof that men can be teachers, as that's one of his current career aspirations
) and up to 12 kids, although they said they never have that many in the late afternoon. What's "home" about it is that it's the basement of a house in a residential neighborhood; the center director owns the house and rents the upstairs to college students. It's a really nicely finished basement with a big kitchen and backyard playground. They have plenty of toys, books, and craft supplies, and they said they do some cooking projects. The kids are mostly babies and toddlers, some preschoolers, no other after-schoolers at this point...but of course EnviroKid will be just out of preschool himself, and he is accustomed to being around babies and toddlers at the end of the day in his current school.
We had been imagining that he'd go to an after-school program with school-aged kids, i.e. mostly older than him when he's in kindergarten. Now I'm thinking it may be an easier transition for him if, after a day in the new bigger school with kids up to 8th grade, he goes to a place more like what he's used to where he's the biggest kid and there's a lot of nurturing and free play. I plan to talk more with him about this, as well as calling the references and such, before deciding. The location is perfect for us, both in proximity to the school and in proximity to our home.
One sticking point is that they have a flat rate of $10/hour, which means we'd pay $100 for 10 hours/week, which seems absurd since we're now paying $180 for 40 hours/week! But EnviroDaddy points out that SCHOOL will be FREE, and our kid will be cared for the same number of hours, "so think of it as saving $80 a week!" Good point. What do you all think?
It's interesting that other school districts bus kids to schools with after-school programs. I haven't seen/heard anything about that here, but I'll look further. There's a public school with after-school program only a little farther from our house than the school EnviroKid will attend, so I left a phone message there asking if it's only for kids from that school, but they didn't get back to me....
Plunky, we don't have a lot of time to use the other benefits of JCC membership like swimming, and we're really not keen on our kid attending a religious service when we're not there. We also don't like the idea of our money going toward the JCC's Israel-supporting activities; we think both the Israelis and the Palestinians have good points and don't want to support one side against the other.