First Addition to the Village: Daycare

One of the first challenges in taking custody of a 4-year-old was in finding daycare. Lots of folks were quick to offer up recommendations – church and other private daycare programs that seemed ideal on the surface but that had stringent behavioral criteria for the children they cared for. Rules like “no biting”, “no bad language”, “no hitting” were amongst the offenses that could result in being asked to leave the program.   While I might have previously agreed that these offenses in a preschooler were suspension worthy, now that I had my own child who came preprogrammed with these as his default settings, I couldn’t take the gamble that he wouldn’t express his true colors all day long.

So then who in the community do we turn to that will provide daycare to our less than perfect young ones?  It didn’t seem that it was going to be the places that took care of our neighbor’s or colleague’s kids! Luckily, we found out that there are some AMAZING caregivers in publically funded Child Development Centers and Headstart programs providing nurturance, guidance, positive behavioral support and care to kids! I also don’t think that I could have found a more saavy and seasoned behavior manager who also managed to love our son at his most unlovable moments than I found in our beloved “Miss Danielle”.   We talked a lot with Miss Danielle over the year – trying to figure out what set off tantrums, how to soothe anger, how to build friendships, what rewards motivated good behavior – and when it was time to graduate from preschool, Miss Danielle had tears in her eyes as she presented our son with a signed book about a Little Engine that Could.

Sometimes members of our village aren’t where we expect them to be. Miss Danielle was not in the cushy private daycare that caters to the kids of professionals and receives fabulous ratings on all measures.   But boy were our preschool days better because of her presence with us! Where are you looking for your village? Who do you really want in your community? Are you stuck because the box in which you search is too limiting?   Perhaps it’s time to expand or abandon your box. Who knows, maybe your “Miss Danielle” is just on the outside of yours too…