Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sheltering Arms Centennial Park

Our first daycare tour was at Sheltering Arms Centennial Park. There's another location not far from our house, and, well, it's always seemed a bit sketch to me. But some co-workers RAVED about the Centennial Park location, so we thought we'd give it a look.

The Centennial Park location is a model center, with the corporate offices upstairs and the kiddos on the main level. That said, I'm thinking this particular location is held to a higher standard than some of the others you may find. Kinda like how the Moe's near my office is always on top of things...since it's their corporate training location across the street from their HQ.

First impression: Very nice facility with secure entry. The welcoming lobby has a receptionist to buzz in visitors, though parents get a code.

Our tour showed us all the basics, but since this was our first time in a daycare since our own childhoods, I think we were in awe of how far things had come.

They have two infant rooms, each with separate sleeping areas and indoor play areas. The infant rooms also access a private playground. These rooms are shoeless, and the cribs didn't seem like cages at the zoo. They had the nice plexi-glass ends so the babes are always visible. Those who've mastered the flip are indicated with a sign. Crib sheets are provided, and each room has its own mini fridge for bottles, etc.

The wait list here didn't seem outrageous. We visited in August and were told we had good odds of getting a spot the following spring. There wasn't even an application fee, which we've learned is incredibly RARE.

The tuition...get this. Only $180/week. That averages out to $36 per day (based on 20 school days/month). They also have government-assisted tuition that is income-based. I think they said it's as low as $140/week. That being said, the school isn't very diverse, and our child would be the minority. Not a big issue, but I'd prefer a more diverse mix.

Tuition includes all meals, but not organic menu. The kids eat family-style within their classrooms. I was so impressed watching 2 year olds pass a bowl of spaghetti and pour each other a glass of milk!

The curriculum is based on NAEYC principles, and kids advance to the next class based on their age on September something (same as public schools). Their pre-K is state-funded, so absences are limited once the kiddos get to that age. Otherwise, you pay for the week whether you're there full-time or not. The school is NAEYC accredited.

Their hours are very accommodating for working parents. I think drop-off was as early as 7:30 and the doors stayed open until 7 without any ridiculous per-minute overage fee. They could close at 6:30pm, but I can't remember. I just remember it would work for us.

There really isn't any reason I wouldn't send my child here, so I give it an A-. It doesn't have all the bells & whistles we'd love to find, but it also doesn't cost the equivalent of a mortgage or require one of us to work banker's hours. Read how the others stack up.

More info:
Fax:  404-523-9952
385 Centennial Olympic Park Drive NW, Atlanta 30313-1956

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