Saturday, November 3, 2012

The search for infant care in Atlanta

So, as you know, we're expecting a little grasshopper in February. It's our first bambino, so we're learning all the ins + outs of parent-to-be-hood.

Since we both work full-time, and I have every intention of returning to my job once maternity leave comes to an end, a childcare option is imperative. From what we've heard, it's pretty competitive in-town Atlanta, so we wanted to get a jumpstart.

Here we are, about to enter the third trimester, without a strong feel-good feeling about who will be watching this little fella in six months.

Let me say this, though. We are INCREDIBLY blessed to have J's parents live nearby in Lilburn. And J's mom, Lolli, has offered to watch the little nugget. Though it may not be convenient, it's great to have an option. Asking a family member to babysit your infant for 8-9 hours a day, 5 days a week is a HUGE we're figuring out our options. I cannot imagine the stress level other new parents must have without this sort of back-up plan. I've been incredibly and endlessly frustrated by the childcare options lack of reasonable infant care options in this city.

Our wishlist of childcare providers, in no particular order:
  • More convenient to our house than our offices. My office has several nearby daycares, but that's WAYYYYY out of the way (near Perimeter Mall) for J. We expect to share the pick-up/drop-off duties, and that would be a haul for J on days when I travel, am sick, or am working from home. J works in downtown/midtown near Coca-Cola. Ideal location is an in-town neighorhood (Kirkwood, Inman Park, Candler Park, O4W, possibly East Atlanta Village, Grant Park, or Virginia Highlands), downtown, or midtown (as long as it's easy-access from the Interstate in rush hour).
  • Working parent hours. Drop-off between 7:30-8:30, pick up between 5:30-6:30. With traffic in Atlanta, shutting the doors at 5pm seems so impractical.
  • Solid accreditation & reputation.
  • A blend of a corporate feel & in-home care. An intimate environment, where the staff has been around a while and genuinely love to love on the kiddos.
  • Bonus would include organic milk (if not full menu), creative curriculum, lots of adventuring outdoors, and the option to stay in the same facility thru Pre-K.
  • Oh, and not cost an arm & a leg.
A quick run-down of places we've checked out to-date and our relative grade:
(I plan to keep this updated as we visit more on the links for full reviews). This list is in the order we visit, not preference, rating, etc.

Sheltering Arms Centennial Park:A-
Pros: Location, TUITION COST!!!, strong accreditation, experienced staff, clean & well-kept facility, hours
Cons: Diversity (lack thereof), very corporate

The Village School in East Atlanta: B
Pros: Location (literally, a few blocks away from home), intimacy of classes, community feel, organic menu
Cons: Hours, only goes thru 3yrs (though plans for expansion), outgrowing facility quickly

Bright Horizons at All Saints in Midtown: B
Pros: Very strong reputation, convenient location, great facility, private Pre-K on-site, diverse classes
Cons: Very corporate, tuition

Kids Kondo in Virginia Highlands: C-
Pros: Community feel
Cons: Lack of facility upkeep, chipping paint, chaotic classrooms

Urban Explorers in Grant Park: A+
Pros: Community feel, intimacy of classes, reasonable hours (if paying for after-care)
Cons: No food provided, limited admissions, tuition (after-care adds up)

Frazer Center: A (added 12/5/12)
Pros: Inclusive experience for the kids (up to 30% of each class may have some developmental disability), lots of creative outlets (dance, art, etc), great facility, reasonable hours, pre-K on-site
Cons: Chaotic (maybe just the day we visited), couldn't get a feel of the security between the Adult Care facility and Child Care side


  1. Thanks for the reviews. We are looking for September 2014. What did you end up choosing?

  2. Frances, we landed at the Frazer Center and LOVE it. We initially nanny-shared full-time until a part-time spot opened up. Then, we were part-time at the center (3 days/week) and nanny-shared the other days. A full full-time spot in the infant room just opened up at the beginning of 2014, so we've been full-time at the center a few weeks. It's made our daily routine much easier, and we LOVE the teachers & staff at the center. Good luck during your search. I've heard the Druid Hills First Methodist daycare just added another infant room, so there may be a chance there!