Daycare Recommendations

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    pixel pusher

    We are expecting our first baby in November and are planning to start daycare in March. We have looked all over West Seattle and have narrowed it down to Bella Mente and Ages in Stages. I’d like to hear peoples opinions of both, because it is really tough to know the good and bad from a 30 minute visit.



    Please consider home daycares too. There is often a much lower number of children, flexible adults, and a family-like environment for your little one.

    Oh, and congrats on the expected arrival.



    flowerpetal has a good point. When it comes to infant child care, the key difference between centers and home providers is the structure of the staffing, classroom children and ratios.

    Siimply, centers likely keep infants segregated from toddlers from preschoolers to meet center licensing and maximize capacities. They will have a teacher:child ratio of 1:3 or 1:4, and your infant will primarily interact with the adults and a couple of the others infants.

    In home cares are also licensed, but ratio makeups are different. They are likely to have one infant along with 2 toddlers and 3 preschoolers for every teacher, and usually only two teachers. While the staff person has more children to interact with, the older kids often take a role as older child interacting with infant. This can be rewarding and developmentally beneficial to both the infant and the older child.

    Either way, getting references from the providers you interview of parents whose children have aged out of the progam is an excellent way to get “end result” information.


    pixel pusher

    Thanks for the info. We have looked into home daycare as well and I can clearly see the benefits. However there are a few downsides as well. The main one being that when they are sick or go on vacation, you are forced to find daycare elsewhere. Most centers do not close for vacation. The other big problem with home daycare is that they are very difficult to find. We have only found 3 in West Seattle and were very unimpressed by 2 of them.

    So if there are people out there that do home daycare, I’d like to hear from or about them. That would help solve one of our issues with home daycare. The other will probably vary from provider to provider.



    We are doing an in-home daycare – Julie’s West5 Childcare on 48th. We LOVE her. My now 13-month old has been with her since he was 10 weeks old, and he has a grand time. We found her through, which is a great resource. There is a fee to access the site, but it was worth it.

    I have heard good things about Bella Mente, but there are a few drawbacks IMO. One is that the director is next to impossible to get in touch with via phone, at one point their voice mail inbox was full. I never got a callback, after leaving multiple messages (both phone and in person). I know there is a waiting list, also. They do have a larger population of kids, which I think is great for social development when the child is around two years old, but doesn’t do much good when they’re small.

    Please feel free to PM me, and congrats on the new addition to your family!



    When I looked for daycare, we decided to look in Bellevue since that is where my husband works. We were able to find one 1/2 mile from his office, and it works out really well for us because he (or my parents) can get our daughter very easily. We didnt’ have to deal with waiting lists, etc.. like I found in Seattle. Anyways, something to think about if you don’t work in Seattle.



    We have our daughter in an in home daycare. It was VERY difficult to find anywhere in West Seattle that had openings. You are VERY smart for looking now! I had the same experience with Bella Mente as CARTERBIOSEA. I left numerous messages and never got a call back. I also used the I ended up finding a couple places to look at in West Seattle on craigslist. We absolutely LOVE our daycare now (Munchkin Junction). Feel free to PM me and I’ll give you her #.



    We had a child August of 08 and had narrowed our choice down to bella mente or ages in stages. we visited bella mente and they would not let us look around at all, and we didnt feel we were treated too well. The woman at the desk didnt appear busy but still didnt have much time for us. We then go to Ages and Stages and it was totally the opposite experience. They let us look in the room where our child would be and it gave us a snapshot of what a real day is like, not a staged “tour” day. It smelled clean, it was neat, and it didnt have any harsh chemical smell you sometimes get from cleaners. We loved the owner, she is fantastic, and after 5 months of enrollment at Ages in Stages we could NOT be any happier. I highly recommend this daycare! Stop in and talk to Stacy, I think you will love this place too. I don’t have any negatives to tell you about, we have been thoroughly happy with our choice in daycare. Ages in Stages also happened to be the cheaper of the 2, and while it is not the reason we picked them, it is a nice bonus. I feel safe and comfortable with my daughter there if I cannot be with her.



    please, where is Julie’s West5 Childcare; and Ages and Stages? contact info?


    I see Bella Mente listed under Schools, but neither of these




    8658 9TH AVE SW

    SEATTLE, WA 981062513

    I find no listing for Julies on the Licensed Childcare Information System.



    I have the same issue – due in September, looking for care Feb 1.

    We are already on the wait-list at Providence Mt St Vincent – but that’s a long-shot. They do come highly recommended and are NYEAC certified – and are the MOST convenient location-wise.

    I’ve also heard excellent things about “Growing Years” on Marginal Way (in the Federal Bldg). But it’s pretty far out of our way. Next up on the list for us is to check out “Ages in Stages” (not convenient either but…) as well as the REWA Beacon Hill Daycare – which my friends seem to love.

    If none of those pan out, it’s to the Eastside (where we work)…likely La Petit Academy, Discovery Center or Small Dimensions…



    ReWA on Beacon doesn’t provide care for children that young. ReWA on MLK Jr. Way does.



    I recommend finding care close to work if you think your job is secure and you’ll be there a while. As your baby gets older you will have the extra time in the car to babble and sing together and eventually talk. Also, if something comes up in the middle of the day like an injury or sickness it will take less time to get to your little one. I’ve only gotten a couple of mid-day calls, but it always makes me feel terrible that it takes me a half hour or more to get to my daughter when she needs me most. The other times I wish she was closer is when I am running late. There is nothing worse that getting stuck in traffic when you are already running late. If your baby is close to where you work at least you will be stuck in traffic together.



    Rainyday, where do you work on the Eastside? If you are near Factoria, I’d recommend the Bellevue School District infant care program at Newport High School. We love it, but the downside is they are closed when school is, which doesn’t work for everyone. BSD has daycare facilities at a lot of their schools, and you don’t need to be living in their school district to use it. Something to think about for when your child is older.

    And I agree with HSG- if our daughter went to daycare in WS, she’d miss out on spending time (not the best quality time, but at least it’s together) with her dad in the car, and we’d probably be paying a lot of money for late pick-up fees since traffic can be so unpredictable.

    Good luck with the search- right now it seems overwhelming and like you will never find something in time, but things will work out!



    Just wanted to propose another option. I didn’t know about this when our first child was born. Have any of you who are looking for care considered an au pair? They provide 45 hours a week of child care for about $320 a week. Plus they can do the childs laundry and any light housework related to the care of your child. It is a great way to introduce language and culture. They offer flexible schedules which you don’t always find in child care centers or home daycare. We don’t use our full 45 hours so we can get a date night every now and then. I am the local coordinator for Cultural Care Au Pair in West Seattle. Give me a call if you would like more information. 206-235-5738


    pixel pusher

    Thanks for all the great info. We have had a similar experience as Leannepr with Bella Mente and not getting timely responses from them. I have checked out Julies and she seems great too, but I think we are going to go with Ages in Stages. They are a little out of the way, but the price is right and they actually seem to care about providing a quality daycare.



    Pixel Pusher, I really think you will be happy at Ages in Stages. The only thing I would change would be an earlier open time since I work in Factoria, but the care is great and that is most important. My girl will be in the next age room by the time you are there, but I am sure I will run into you. Congrats on your upcoming arrival!



    Hope i’m not too late, but i’d like to recommend my home daycare called Learning for life. Also here in WS. The owner, Ana, has the school located behind her home. Licensed for 12 kids, she has 3 infants at a time. Other kids are 2,3,4. She has one other full-time worker who has been working with her for 9 years. The daycare has never closed but of course, we’ve had days when we had to keep our baby home due to illness. It is a wonderful place. Clean, bright. The families are great, kids love it and seem very happy. Pls PM me for more info!



    Ages and Stages has been a great place for our soon-to-be school-ager as he calls himself. Our son started out at a few independent home care centers which we found to be inconsistent and stagnant for our very active child. We joined Ages in Stages when our son was 6 months old and here we are getting ready to go to school at Schmitz this fall. Yes, the drive is far but the center is a great place for your child to learn. The school is set up similar to a regular school including field trips, circle times, library days, show & tell, sleep-overs, and more. I realize you are just starting out but as another blogger mentioned, Stacy and her team are all about the kids. I highly recommend them and only wish they would open a second location at our end of West Seattle. Please feel free to ask any additional questions. Congrats and good luck.



    I’m opening a daycare and preschool in West Seattle – The daycare opens January 4, 2010 and the preschool opens September 2010. The program has a green focus, offering organic food and cloth diapers, and we used eco-friendly materials in created the learning space. We also provide a program that emphasizes learning through play, compassion for others, and community responsibility.

    I have prior experience as a daycare director/teacher and have worked with infants-kindergarteners in daycare programs. I also ran the arts program at Camp Sealth on Vashon Island and ran an arts/music/theater summer camp for several years. I’m also the mom of an active little 2 year old – the primary reason I am opening a daycare!

    I would appreciate any referrals. We are currently accepting applications and enrollment is limited. Please contact me directly if you would like more information –

    Thanks so much!





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