First Impressions: Day Care Tours in Durham

First Impressions: Day Care Tours in Durham

Finding information on a prospective day care can be time consuming and exhausting for first time parents. Not only are there numerous factors to consider, but many providers are difficult to contact, aren’t upfront about fees and tours can be tough to schedule with more than one adult attending.

Starting next Tuesday, I’ll be posting a weekly series called First Impressions: Day Cares in Durham. In this series, I’ll be sharing my experiences touring day cares throughout the Durham region. These posts will include any information you can’t already find yourself online – fees, registration fees, opening hours, food menus, staff members and my take on the overall feel of the environment.

I’ll be looking for your input too – If you would like to request a post about a day care or even if you have information about a day care that you can share with other readers, I’d like to hear from you. As always, feel free to leave me a comment or send me an email at themotherhoodscene@gmail.com. All tips, links and reviews are appreciated!

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First Impressions: Whitby Montessori and Elementary School

One thing I’ve begun to notice is how often you’ll find Montessori day cares working out of church facilities. Whitby Montessori and Elementary School appears to be doing the same only once you visit, you truly realise how successful this day care has become. Every space within the building is being used for their programs. It’s easy to forget that you’re even in a church, at times. The cubbies that line the hallways are bursting with backpacks, jackets and children coming and going between rooms for different activities. There’s an energy to walking through the hallway that feels like everyone has a purpose and everyone enjoys being there. The staff member who showed me around greeted all the students by name and they responded in an equally friendly way.

A view of Whitby Montessori from the street

A view of Whitby Montessori and Elementary School from Taunton Road

If their tours are anything to judge them by, Whitby Montessori is among one of the most organized day care options in Durham. Upon visiting, I was invited to relax in a waiting area where yearbooks were provided to browse. Before taking me on a tour of the building, one of the staff sat with me and asked questions about my child and my understanding of  the Montessori approach. At no point I ever felt rushed – I had lots of questions about Montessori and this staff member was happy to answer all of them. I was also provided with a full information kit, complete with a folder, business cards, rate schedule and more. As someone that loves order and organization – this rated very highly for me. I can also see how on the flipside it can appear to be very business-focused, but from the way I saw staff interacting with children it’s obvious that they work very hard to maintain a community feel. 

While it’s impossible to provide all the information there is to know, here are a few things to keep in mind if this is a care option that interests you:

  • Whitby Montessori provides full time care only – part time is not available.
  • The earliest accepted age is 12 months.
  • Hours: 7am-6pm. Drop off and pick up time is flexible.
  • The centre has a very large parking lot. No awkward parking lot maneuvering and waiting in line here!
  • There is a large indoor gym for use when the weather is cold and children are limited to being indoors.
  • Monthly fees are $1245 for Bambini / Pre Casa programs. Registration is $300 and is non-refundable.

This is the first review in the First Impressions: Day Care Tours in Durham series. Did you find this information useful? What information would you like to see in the next post in this series? Perhaps you or someone you know has an experience with Whitby Montessori that you’d like to share?  I’d love to hear your feedback and experiences in the comments below.

Meet local moms of multiples

If you’re a mom to twins or triplets (or more!) keep your schedule open during naptime today and join this local group. When you have multiple little ones to look after all at once, joining a support group might seem low on your list of priorities. There’s always plenty of laundry to do and that coffee isn’t going to drink itself, right? Well, don’t just trust my advice on this – there are numerous benefits to joining a group for parents of multiples.

The Durham Parents of Multiples logo

Durham Parents of Multiples (DPM) is a local not-for-profit organization that exists to support parents of multiple birth children with support, advice and resources. Members can connect with their community both in-person and online, to benefit from access to continuous support. If you check out the DPM Facebook group you’ll see they’re growing quickly at 135 members, which goes to show that there are lots of local families in a similar situation.

Cost: Membership is $35 per year for a single parent and $40 per year for a family. This fee includes a basic membership to Multiple Births Canada.

 

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Find some relief with Drop-in Childcare

I’ve spent the better half of this week sick, and as moms we all know how hard it can be to take care of a baby while we’re not at our best. Thankfully, there are childcare options available locally for these type of situations that you can arrange on short notice.Two infants play together with a soft book

Building Blocks Academy, is a childcare centre in Whitby (Dundas and Thickson) that offers a drop-in childcare service for infants. To use this service, you are required to pre-register with the centre ahead of time. Pre-registration includes providing emergency phone numbers, proof of vaccination and any other important information about your child that staff should know. Once registration is complete, you can call to arrange drop-in care anytime within 24 hours notice.  This is a sanity-saving option for times when your normal caregiver is unavailable, in emergency situations, when you’re home sick or those times that you need a little break. The centre is open from 6am-6pm and has a ratio of 1 care provider for every 3 infants.

Cost: Registration is $40 and this is a one-off fee. After paying for registration, full day care is $56 per day for an infant under 18 months. Any time under 4 hours is considered a half day, in which case you would pay $28. This fee includes lunch and snacks.

 

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Have your baby’s ears pierced

There’s plenty of debate on the hows of getting your babies ears pierced, so it’s worth doing your research before you decide if you choose to have your little one’s ears pierced with a needle or a piercing gun. There is a lot of information out there, but a good place to start is by reading the Association of Professional Piercers position on the needle vs gun debate. There are many clean, reputable and reasonably priced options in the Durham area for whichever option you choose. It’s worthwhile visiting these locations in advance to get a feel for their staff, learn about how staff are trained, check out the cleanliness of the equipment and ask any important questions that you may have.

An infant has her ears pierced

The procedure is fast and most babies will only cry for a few minutes – similar to what you could expect at a vaccination appointment. A staff member will first sterilize your baby’s ears, and then a mark will be placed on the ear where the piercing will be made. You’ll be consulted at this point to ensure that you’re happy with the placement and symmetry of the piercings. Once you’re satisfied, it’ll be time to secure your little one to keep them safe. You’ll be asked to hold your little one’s head securely and their arms down for the procedure. The piercing itself is over very quickly. Some locations will even use two staff members to piece both ears at the same time. Make sure you ask at the beginning of your appointment so you know what to expect.

Recommended locations that use a piercing gun in Durham:

Caryl Baker Visage
Locations: Oshawa Centre, Pickering Town Centre
Cost: The service is free with the purchase of a set of earrings which range from $45-79. You can expect to pay between $59-102 all up, including earrings, tip and tax.

Claires
Locations: Oshawa Centre, Pickering Town Centre
Cost: Ear piercing is free with purchase of Claire’s Starter Kit, which includes a set of earrings and an aftercare solution. Starter Kits range from $48-73, depending on the style of earring that you choose. You can expect to pay between $62-95 for the starter kit, tip and tax.

Recommended location that uses a piercing needle in Durham:

Motor City Tattoo
Location: 640 King Street E, Oshawa
Cost: $40 for both lobes. This fee includes the cost of the initial jewelry, which is made from surgical stainless steel. Expect to pay around $52 in total for the service, including tax and tip.

A few tips for a smooth appointment:

  • Many moms apply a numbing ointment known as Emla cream before the appointment to reduce any pain. You can buy this online or at any local pharmacy for around $18 plus tax. This is best applied 40 minutes to an hour before your appointment.
  • Make an appointment when the location of your choice is likely to be least busy. Typically, weekday mornings are the best time to go when it’s quiet and staff aren’t busy.
  • Locations using the piercing gun will recommended starting with a 14 karat white or yellow gold earring, as this metal is the least likely to cause an infection using their method.
  • Some locations will require proof of your baby’s 2 month vaccination for the procedure. Either call ahead and ask or bring along your vaccination card as a precaution.
  • Infections can happen, so it’s important that you choose a location that has trained staff to perform the procedure. Your piercer should be able to answer any question you have about skin needles and cross contamination.

If you know of any other reputable locations that offer this service or have any tips of your own, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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Take advantage of the First Choice First Haircut Free promotion

I’m not sure when the ‘First Choice Haircutters First Haircut Free’ promotion began but it’s something that I learned about from a few local moms. I couldn’t find anything official on the First Choice website, so I knew I had to investigate to find out more. The official word from the company Facebook page says that this promotion varies by location, but after speaking with upwards of 10 salons in the Durham region they all had the same response: All First Choice locations offer this promotion. Wohoo!

A little boy having his haircut

If I’d known about this a few months ago I would have booked my little one in for a visit here. What’s on offer is similar to what you would get at Melonhead – A lock of your little one’s hair and a certificate, minus a printed photo of the occasion. This is a small consolation considering that you can save yourself upwards of $20 just by visiting any one of these First Choice Haircutters locations locally:

Ajax
65 Kingston Rd East (Harwood and Kingston)
15 Westney Rd North (Westney and Kingston)
105 Bayly St West (Bayly and Harwood)

Bowmanville
87 King St East (Liberty and King)

Pickering
1340 Kingston Rd (Liverpool and Kingston)
705 Kingston Rd (Kingston and Whites)

Oshawa
1051 Simcoe St North (Beatrice and Simcoe)
300 Taunton Rd (Riston and Taunton)
595 King St East (Wilson and King)
1445 Harmony Rd North (Taunton and Harmony)

Uxbridge
282 Toronto St (Cemetery and Toronto)

Whitby
3975 Garden St North (Taunton and Garden)
4091 Thickson Rd North (Taunton and Thickson)
617 Victoria St West (Gordon and Victoria)

Cost: While baby’s first haircut is free at First Choice Haircutters salons, I recommend tipping your hairdresser as if you were paying the full cost of a kid’s cut ($9.50 a visit).

 

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Enjoy a free coffee at Mom’s Morning Out

Finding inexpensive ways to get out of the house can require some creativity, especially if you find yourself with a little one that is learning to walk in the middle of winter. Mom’s Morning Out is a meetup group organized by moms, for moms, to make new friends and find support in each other.

Mom's Morning Out is a meetup for moms at the Whitby Free Methodist Church

This group regularly hosts guest speakers and organizes special events which range from baby wearing demonstrations to Halloween costume parties. Best of all, coffee and tea are provided at no cost while your little one has room to explore. This event is perfect for moms with more than one child – preschoolers are also encouraged to attend!

Mom’s Morning Out is held every Wednesday morning from 10-11.30am at the Whitby Free Methodist Church (1916 Rossland Street East, Whitby).

Cost: There is no cost to join Mom’s Morning Out however, moms are encouraged to bring a long a nut-free snack to share.

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