There are few things more stressful for a new parent than selecting childcare for their young child. This is because you are, in many ways, selecting a co-parent; someone who will love, nurture, and teach your child in accordance with your morals and beliefs. This task is more challenging for parents of non-school age children, because much of the child’s early development depends on who cares for the child while the parent is at work and there seem to be an unlimited number of childcare options out there, and none will ever feel good enough, because none are you, the parent. Yet, this is exactly what we found at Clearwater Children’s Learning Center (CCLC).
My husband and I faced just this situation when our one and only daughter, Amelia, was 15 months old. She had been home with me her entire life and as much as I enjoyed staying at home, it was time to return to the workforce. After a very negative experience at another daycare during my first week at work, we were able to bring Amelia to CCLC, and on very short notice. Due to the experience we had with the first daycare, I was still hesitant about leaving my daughter when we arrived at CCLC that Monday, but the Director, Ms. Christina, and the teachers in the toddler room made both myself and Amelia feel comfortable. They even provided me with big hugs and reassurance as I left. By the end of that first week, Amelia would not cry when I left in the morning and to my surprise, would even get excited to go into her classroom!
Over the weeks and months that Amelia (now, Mimi, as her teachers and friends call her) has been attending CCLC she has flourished in more ways than I can count. While as a parent I want to take some credit, honestly, I know that the leaps and bounds my daughter has made are largely due to the teachers at CCLC. When my daughter started to talk, we would hear about the art, stories, and songs that she learned, but more than anything, we heard about her teachers- Ms. Theresa, Ms. Nicolle, and Ms. Erin. By the time we would get to CCLC in the morning, Amelia would sprint to hug Ms. Theresa every morning and even told my husband and I that Ms. Theresa was coming on vacation with us (needless to say, Amelia was disappointed when she learned it was just Mom, Dad and baby going the plane). If my daughter’s development, independence and happiness wasn’t enough proof that the teachers at CCLC were doing right by her, every time that I pick Amelia up, the teachers are all actively engaged with the children. Never once have I seen anyone, teachers or staff, at CCLC sit on the sidelines.
More recently, Amelia turned two and transferred into another class. I lost sleep worrying about the transition because of how close she was with the teachers in her toddler class, yet the teachers at CCLC made it seamless and Amelia transitioned like a pro. She loves her new class and teachers just as much as she loved her toddler class! I can hardly wait to hear about all her new adventures with her new friends and see all of the amazing things she will learn.
I can’t in good conscience call CCLC a daycare, because it isn’t. It is so much more. At two years old, Amelia surprises me every day with new things that she has learned- she can count to 10 pretty well, recognizes letters, eats a variety of healthy food, and knows a number of different songs, which she happily teaches to my husband and I. The education and experiences that Amelia has at CCLC are what makes it more than a daycare. It is a school, but not just that, it is a great school with incredible teachers.
Finally, the greatest testament to the quality care and education that my daughter receives at CCLC is in my daughter’s personality and confidence. When she was home with me, she was consistently happy and sweet natured. My greatest concern when I had to return to work was that she would lose some of that sweetness which made her uniquely Amelia. Honestly, that first daycare we took her too did nothing to dispel this fear, but I can happily say that after attending CCLC for almost one year, Amelia is still that sweet, loving and happy little girl that she was before I went back to work. Her teachers at CCLC made sure of that. The teachers at CCLC nurture the children’s personalities and encourage them to be who they are, which is priceless. There is not enough time or enough words for me to express my gratitude for everything that the teachers at CCLC have done for Amelia and my family.
And while Amelia is never far from my thoughts, being able to focus on my job during the day, because I know that my child has the BEST care makes me thankful beyond measure.