Childcare Blues

Posted on | July 27, 2010 | 9 Comments

Finding a daycare is hard work.

We were lucky with our Macon day care. They were… amazing. When J “graduated” to the next class, his teacher got as teary-eyed as I did. When we left to move to Savannah, his new teacher made him a book full of pictures of his time there and of his friends. (cue more tears). And we really just stumbled onto that daycare. We had gone to the church several times and Husband sang in the choir. I knew they had a facility and we just put it on our list of places to tour. We only toured two day cares because, as we’ve covered, I’m impatient and I wanted to check “daycare” off my list. Two daycare. Seriously. That’s nuts.

So when I started this whole moving process, I thought finding a day care would be fairly easy. You ask around. You check the government website for violations. You visit. You fall in love. The end.

Only it is NOT that easy.

I didn’t know anyone with children in Savannah except the partner at the Savannah office and his wife was a SAHM. I did ask my friends, but no one actually IN Savannah had any suggestions. Finally, a law school friend asked a family member who provided a list of places. It just so happened that four of the places on her list matched up with a list I got from a pre-K facility in Savannah. I figured it was as good a place as any to start.

And so began my quest for the perfect daycare.

First, I tried to look up the facilities on the Georgia website.

Epic. Failure.

I am not a moron, I swear. But that website was beyond me. I could locate the facilities and I could read the reports, but I just didn’t really understand them. They don’t actually grade the facilities, unfortunately. Instead, they just link up the PDF files with a rundown of the most recent compliance inspections.

Seriously? I don’t want to read a compliance inspection. I want a grade. Give it a number. We grade restaurants, why can’t we grade daycare? How hard would it be to post a letter and number grade in each facility? I could look up the compliance report to see what caused the 99 rather than 100 and that would be SO much easier. Instead, I have to pour through a report that says “Not inspected. Not inspected. Satisfactory. Not inspected” etc. What is satisfactory? No rats? No mildew? I DON’T KNOW. It was a disaster.

All the facilities had violations but they were things like “diaper on counter” which I considered less of a “violation” and more of a “petty nit pick because inspector had a bad day.”

So I marked “check government website” off my list as being sincerely UNhelpful, and moved on to my final “step”: visiting the facilities.

Um. How do you critique a day care?? You can’t exactly poll the children to see how they like the place. You can’t pull aside a teacher, slip her a $20 and ask for the Gospel truth. All you can do is meet with the director and let her take you on a tour of a pre-arranged location that could have been spruced up just for your arrival. You just don’t know. And all the day cares I called requested I set a time to visit to ensure the director would be available.

I don’t like setting times. I like to drop in. Dropping in means no prep time. Dropping in means you can’t move the mess before I see it. But I was a good girl and I scheduled my visits. Well, my first visits anyway. Of the four original daycare on my list, I whittled it down to two because one had a wait list of 18 months (um… unhelpful much?) and another had a woman answer the phone who seemed REALLY annoyed that I was asking her any questions at all. That left me with two daycare to visit. Two. Just like in Macon. Fate? We’ll see.

I pretty much liked both facilities, but one more than the other. We visited both facilities on a schedule and then I went back later and dropped in for additional questions. Nothing stood out as epically wrong at either place but nothing felt as sincerely right as Macon, either. J would be put in a room without a crib. He would nap on the floor at both places. On the floor. That just seems so… big kid. He’s a baby!! He needs a crib!!!

You’d think with all the emphasis being placed on the care of our children that someone somewhere would streamline this whole daycare process. I’m not insisting on a letter grade, but consider it a suggestion. Think of how much faster it would be if you could scroll through and knock out 75% of all daycare as failing at life?! Or how much nicer places would be if they had to post their scores on the front door.

So Government officials? Particularly in Georgia… think about an overhaul. That DECAL site is a useless joke. And I say that with all due respect. (ha.)

And don’t forget about Trent and Drew Grady… just $5.00 enters you to win one of many amazing prizes including a handmade wine stopper from my dear friend Mandy!


9 Responses to “Childcare Blues”

  1. LeeAnn
    July 27th, 2010 @ 12:18 pm

    Looking for that "perfect" daycare can be exhausting! I have been having some issues at our current daycare so I started looking around for others and realized there is no such thing as a "perfect" daycare. And you're right – how can you really learn anything about a facility during a 20 minute pre-arranged tour? I think it comes down to the warm fuzzies and you have to find the one that gives you that feeling. I totally agree that it would be nice to have a grading scale!

    And what is up with the baby not having a crib? I'm pretty sure where I live (FL) that it is a law that babies must be in crbs. I don't know how I would feel about my baby sleeping on the floor.

    Good luck with your search. I hope you find a great facility!

  2. KLZ
    July 27th, 2010 @ 1:03 pm

    I hear ya – ours is perfect and I just kind of stumbled upon it. And I only toured ONE. I called and called and this one was just perfect…perfect. The rest sucked on the phone and I saw no point to tour them if they can't give good phone service. I cry every time I think about leaving them. I'm a wuss.

    It'll work out. You'll get it. Oooh! I'll watch J and you pay me!! Want to move to Chicago!

  3. Sara
    July 27th, 2010 @ 1:40 pm

    That naps on the floor thing would totally weird me out… I'd want to bring my pack n play or something… but then all the other babies would be all "why's he so special?"

    I digress.

    Good luck, sista.

  4. disastersindomesticity
    July 27th, 2010 @ 2:15 pm

    Good luck! I hated looking for a day care. It totally stressed me out. Our son starts in August and I'm really nervous about it.

    I hear you on the government really needs to step up. I actually do research in this area and there is a great book called "War on Moms: Life in a Family Unfriendly Nation" that talks about the poor standards and regulations regarding child care centers. It makes it even harder on the parents who just want to make sure their children are being properly taken care of.

  5. Brooke
    July 27th, 2010 @ 2:36 pm

    After reading this post, I emailed my cousin who resides in Savannah and sends her 2 year old daughter to a great day care.

    Here's her response: "Lucy goes to the Sanctuary Child Learning Center on Whitfield Ave. It’s GREAT! The phone # is 692-1523. If the needs a good pediatrician then Dr. Dudley Stone is great and you can always get an appointment and his phone # is 353-7744…both area codes 912.

    The Sanctuary is continually voted to be the best daycare in Savannah and it always gets a great grade from the state when inspected.

    I wouldn’t send Lucy anywhere else…if fact I pass two day cares on the way to hers that are even closer to my work!"

  6. Law Momma
    July 27th, 2010 @ 2:45 pm

    Brooke: You just made my day. I just got J enrolled there yesterday and he starts on Monday. This just made me feel so much better about our choice!!

  7. Metta1313
    July 27th, 2010 @ 3:39 pm

    Looking for daycares is so frustrating. We have to start looking for a new one since you know we were not a big fan of our last one. But looking online is not easy at all. I totally agree that things need to be streamlined. And of course I do not know anybody in my hood to ask about this, so more frustrations!

  8. WeeMasonMan's Mom
    July 27th, 2010 @ 3:46 pm

    I was absolutely shocked at how hard it was to find a daycare. I had two in-home place recommendations that I just figured would be perfect and neither had openings. Then the third in-home place was an epic fail on many levels (babies kept two floors away from sole caregiver in basement? Abusive ex-husband that held woman hostage and required swat team? You name it, it happened) Then I started looking at big daycares and nothing felt right. Anyone I talked to was just "Eh, it's okay" about their place. Ugh.

    I see in your comments that you enrolled and are squared away. Yay!!! Hope the new place is just as great!

  9. Brooke
    July 28th, 2010 @ 1:07 pm

    That's fantastic!!! So glad that worked out!

  • Creative Commons License
    Spilled Milk (and Other Atrocities) by Law Momma is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
    Based on a work at
  • Twitter

  • Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner


  • Grab my button for your blog!