Blink and you might miss it – Read-A-Long Nursery School and Day Care is located along Thickson Road, Whitby, in an unassuming, converted home. Inside, this centre feels like the home of a large family. There are definitely more modern and well-designed centres out there, but that’s not the charm here. What impressed me most about this centre is it’s welcoming atmosphere and vibrant energy. There’s nothing snooty about it. The children express themselves freely and the staff are relaxed and at ease.
Part of me always wonders if staff act differently when parents visit on tours. At Read A Long I never felt like that was the case. There was no change in body language when I joined the room, no fake smiles. The staff in the toddler room talked freely about their curriculum as they sat among the children, wiping noses and correcting behaviour.
The kitchen/dining/living room space on the main floor is one mostly without walls. At the time of my tour, there were preschoolers in the living room dancing for their music class and a large group chattering vividly as they worked on their artwork in the dining area. The chef joined their conversation from the kitchen next to their table, smiling and laughing while she cut cheese for their morning snack. The hustle and bustle here reminds me of what it feels like to visit family during Christmas. Lots of excitement and noise, with relaxed parents working hard in the background to make sure everyone has a good time.
My tour review wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the outdoor space on offer here. Any concerns you may have about the busy road location will be long gone once you see the backyard. The large area, variety of play structures, mature trees and green grass is similar to what you’d enjoy at a park in your own neighbourhood.
I commend Read-A-Long for all the information they provide online for parents. Many of the details listed below and testimonials are available on their site, but are repeated here as a summary:
- Accepting children from 12 months and up.
- Full time, full day care is $210 per week ($840 per month).
- Full time and part time care is available.
- Open from 6.30am to 6.30pm.
- Centre closes earlier for the months of July and August at 6pm.
- No registration fee is required.
- Vacation policy: 2 weeks at no charge, per year.