By Agnese Spona
I live in the Netherlands and when I was pregnant, I had to apply for a day-care, otherwise there would not be enough spots. I know, it’s ridiculous, but I was the first-time mom, so had no clue on what questions to ask, what do I find important etc. I was googling frantically, asking friends, but still – no clue really. Someone said to me, “don’t worry, you will know instantly”. Yeah. No. Did not happen. Of course, I had some preferences, but not the magical ‘knowing’.
So, I went for the small day-care close to our home, called BamBam and Pebbles. And hoped for the best. Simple as that. My choice has never been questioned. Even when we moved to the neighbouring town and changed daycare to the one closer to our new home, after 2 months we went back again. Even though it meant that we would add 10-15 mins in each direction on our journey to work. It was all worth it. And why?
Here are a couple of heart-warming examples (these are just some, there have been many more over the years):
- My husband and I both work full-time, our families did not live in the vicinity and sometimes we had calendar clashes. As a last resort, the owner of the day-care (who lives above the place) would be kind enough to take our daughter upstairs, feed her dinner and put her to sleep in her little bed, whilst waiting for us to arrive to pick her up. She never took an extra EUR for this. Just said, with a smile “don’t worry, I love to do this”.
- COVID happened, and it was 2 weeks into the lockdown. It was a lovely day, so I was sitting in the garden with my daughter and we got a visitor. The owner of the daycare came to bring me a bouquet of flowers, some colouring books and pencils for my kid. It’s not a lot, but it meant so much when we were struggling to keep up with work, dealing with a 3-year-old and trying to get our heads around the whole COVID situation.
- A year later, again in lockdown (my little social animal has not seen her friends for 2 months), and we received another visit by the day-care owner. And she did not disappoint, as she showed up with another set of flowers and books.
A daycare plays a huge role in a kids’ life. Their actions during this period demonstrated their values, care, compassion and understanding for parents. So even if they don’t have the latest tools to engage with the parent community or they sneak in a Nutella sandwich at lunch to my daughter, it does not change how much I value them. They are organised and just know their priorities and they deliver on them – by providing a heartfelt, playful and well organised preschool experience.