Who would understand the importance of a crèche than a mother herself? And if you are working then a crèche for kids is indispensable unless you have a helping hand at home who could take care of your little ones.
What factors do you take into account when you are searching for this second home (as in kids spend a considerable amount of time there)? The first and foremost thing or indeed “The” first, second and third thing is Security! Security! Security! Can you deny that? And when I say security I mean from both external and internal factors. The security system in the crèche should be strong enough to ensure that no stranger/ outsider should be able to enter the premises where kids are. The safety alarm, CCTV, should be installed if possible. Even the parents shouldn’t be allowed to enter the kids’ zone after and before the entry/ exit times. Any meeting if scheduled should be possibly done in a separate room. And coming to internal factors, I mean one should be one hundred percent sure about the hands they are leaving their kids with, are they safe? If usually cheerful kids start feeling intimidated, keeping to themselves, start cringing about being left in crèche even after getting used to the schedule these could be possible signals that your kid is not in safe hands. I came (heard) across incidents of kids being given cough syrup to pacify them or even being beaten as well. This generally happens when the staff is not trained enough or particularly trained to handle kids and crèche is a mere source of “easy” income. There is no heart in it and responsibility is a hogwash. Beware of such people and places! I know your time is precious but kids are invaluable.
And a factor of secondary importance is proximity to your place. I am sure no one wants to drive a mile or two to drop kids in crèche and drive in an opposite direction for office especially if you live in cities where traffic is as dense as a tropical forest.
Coming to my case I am also searching a crèche for my daughter who is 15 months old. And here in Brussels it is a very tough task. Be it a private one or the one which is under government control waiting is one thing one should expect while embarking on this task. When I had my appointment with the organisation that takes care of such issues, the lady I met there clearly told me “there would be long waiting as preference would be given to working mothers”. That makes enough sense though. But I want to give it a try. You all must be wondering why I want a crèche for my daughter as I am a full-time mother and can take care of her 24/7. I want it because I want her to go out, spend sometime in my absence and interact with other kids of her age. I believe such interaction develops communication among kids and they learn more and quickly when in company. I am not in favour of keeping her there for full-time but for a stipulated time of two to three hours and that too for two or three days a week. Hope they agree for this:). So coming back to the process, it’s a long one. I have seen women registering for crèche during their pregnancy only because as soon as the maternity leave is over and they need to join their offices they want a sure shot safe place for their new-born. The crèche system here in Brussels is very organised.
- Number of entrants during a stipulated period of time is always restricted and it is followed religiously. This the reason why there is always a first come first serve basis. That’s the reason why they have a “waiting” list.
- Staff is well-trained in handling kids especially new-born.
- The maximum number of kids in a particular crèche that I have seen (on list) is 20. It of course varies from crèche to crèche.
- Number of caretakers depends on the maximum number of kids allowed. I think (because not enrolled yet :)) the ratio is somewhat like 1:3 or 1:4 i.e. one caretaker for every three or four kids which makes it manageable and more personal care and attention is possible.
- Privately run organisations are a bit expensive as compared to government headed ones but nevertheless both of them offer good services and safety tops the list.
- As I told you earlier no meeting is possible without an appointment and every appointment is registered (in computer) for the record purpose. That helps in better administration.
In my case searching is even tougher because of the language issues, my French is not so good over the telephone and I can not meet the staff without appointment over the telephone 🙂
For the moment I am waiting for my turn (appointment taken, done it!), fingers crossed:)