Suggestions for good daycare in Albany area?

buckingham pond playground dinosaursNate emails:

My wife and I are expecting in July and we're looking for a reputable child care place in the Albany area.

As Nate noted in his email, this question came up three years ago -- but things change. It'd be great to get some updated recommendations.

So, got a suggestion for Nate and his wife? Please share! And including a sentence or two about why you're recommending a certain place is much appreciated.

Comments

Congratulations Nate! We've only been there for about a month but I am loving Samaritan Rensselaer Childcare Center so far. Caring, knowledgeable experienced teachers. Full and part time slots available. A focus on individual care plans, and very welcoming to visitors (I pop in all the time to feed my baby or have my lunch with him). Plus they have a federally funded initiative where lower income seniors come into each class to provide an extra set of hands to help ease the standard 4:1 ratio. My baby loves being held by the 'foster grandma'.

We loved Ohav Shalom and Temple Israel. Also St Vincent's has an awesome ol' school nursery school.

Albany Med Kids can't be beat. They have a large, clean, and beautiful facility in an old Catholic school that includes a gymnasium and playground. The older kids take field trips to places in the community. The directors are caring, responsive, and know every single kid and family by name. The teachers are really great. Also, because they are connected to the hospital, they are incredibly reliable (only closed for like 6 holidays per year) and good with infection control, safety, etc. I encourage you to go check it out.

https://www.amc.edu/albany_med_kids/

We use the Executive Woods Childcare on Everett Rd and couldn't be happier. The staff is excellent and the prices are reasonable. I hear the Campus Children's Center is building a new facility on Harriman campus and will be moving this fall. I imagine they will have some of the nicer facilities in the area.

I second AMC Kids! Our family is very happy there, and it offers a breadth of opportunities, that most other day cares in the city, can't offer kids.

Another suggestion? Any location you're considering, I suggest you review them via the NYS Office of Children and Family Services' website:
http://ocfs.ny.gov/main/childcare/ccfs_template.asp

We heard lots of recommendations when we were searching a few years back, but the single most important one was to physically go and visit a handful of these places in person. That made all the difference to us.

Another helpful tip : If you're thinking about having more than 1 child, ask them about start-times for new babies. Some places let you start at any point in the year (assuming they have openings) whereas others only accept new kids at one time (September, for instance). It'd be a shame to start up at one daycare and then have to switch to another.

Lastly, and it sounds like you're doing this, get in there and put a deposit down ASAP b/c these places fill up fast.

People speak very highly of the infant and child care at the JCC on Whitehall.

http://www.albanyjcc.org/earlychildhood/daycare/

We've also have our daughter at Samaritan Rensselaer Children's Center in Troy, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it. She started out in one of the infant rooms, and I was very impressed by how caring the staff was. She moved to a toddler room last month, and she really loves it and is learning so much. The teachers are wonderful, and I love that they place an emphasis on outdoor time year round. They also provide lunch and snacks, which is awesome.

Other places that we looked at and had good impressions of (but didn't go with due to either location or openings) are: Club Fed (Victory Childcare) in Albany, Tutor Time in Troy or East Greenbush, Childtime in Delmar (I believe they have other locations, but that's the one we visited), and Eco Baby in Troy.

We have experience with both Albany Med Kids and the Albany JCC. They are both fantastic programs and facilities. We switched my son to the JCC when he turned 3 so he could take advantage of the extra programs they have there - swimming, tai kwon do, etc. Not having to block out hours after work or on weekends for extracurricular activities has been great. As working parents our time is so valuable.

The one reason that I might lean towards the JCC more is that they go outside ALL THE TIME. If its snowing they are still out in snowpants and boots having snowball fights. They have a great playground. Albany Med Kids seemed to be more conservative about outdoor time, limiting it to if the temp was between 60 and 75 degrees.

But for babies, Albany Med Kids is super. And its SO CLEAN.

Our daughter attended Pineview Preschool on Washington Ave Extension from the age of 18 months through Pre-K. We could not have been happier with them. All of the staff were great and genuinely cared about the children. They have a structured learning environment that had her prepared above and beyond to enter kindergarten. I do highly recommend visiting several facilities before making a decision as not all will fit everyone's needs and expectations.

I was completely clueless about child care when I first had my kids, and didn't know what questions to ask. The Capital District Child Care Council is a terrific resource. One thing I learned is you want to make sure the infant care you choose follows the freedom of movement philosophy. This means that the center will not use bouncy seats, swings, or walkers, which allows babies to develop normally. The CDCCC observes and certifies centers - ask each center you visit if they are certified. http://www.cdcccc.org/page/news-and-press-86/news/freedom-of-movement-campaign-publishes-the-verification-checklist-8.html. You might also ask about a developmentally appropriate curriculum - it may seem odd to have a curriculum for babies, but it is not academic. It ensures the teachers are interacting with children to enhance their development and learning. When you visit, pay attention to how the teachers interact with you, with one another, and the babies. They should be friendly and welcoming, but the primary focus should be on the babies - they should be talking with them, not just one another. Good luck! Finding childcare is stressful, but if you find the right place for your family, you will have a great partner for your child's early education.

One of my jobs was as a teacher's assistant, and subbed at a lot of them. Executive Woods , and Mercy care were the best.
I could tell you stories about some of the others!

I highly recommend The Children's Place at the Plaza. They have a great director, great teachers and not to mention their own playground right at the foot of their rooms.
http://childrensplaceattheplaza.org/

Not to mention, if you live in the City of Albany you qualify for the Early Pre-K for three year olds . I can't ask for anything more: http://www.albanyschools.org/district/communications/Publications/Newsletters/2015-16/Fall.2015/PreK.Fall2015.htm

Thank you all for suggestions and information...it is much much appreciated!

We are so very lucky to have so many high quality child care facilities and programs in our area. As some commenters said above, it is absolutely vital to visit as many facilities as you can to get a feel for different programs, staff, and approaches to care. And get on the waiting list ASAP! We got on several waiting lists about a year in advance of our anticipated admission date.

This is an individual choice. Like anything, you must weigh what is most important to you and seek out programs which best accommodate those preferences. For instance, if you are mostly concerned about the type of food served (only organic, etc.,) a place having shiny new facilities, or part-time care offerings, there are definitely places you'd prefer right off the bat. Price is also a huge consideration, obviously. Finally, you need to feel comfortable resolving any issues you may encounter at the center (nap times, meals, discipline, etc.,). Combative, dismissive, or defensive staff when concerns arise is something you're not going to want to deal with.

I second the recommendation for The Children's Place at the Plaza. We are more than happy with the rich curriculum and the staff who are warm, caring, and don't turn over as quickly as I hear is typical at other facilities. Physically, the building is aged and not as spectacular as some other places, so if that's something important to you, it may not be a good choice. We also love the diversity of families we've met at the center. We were sold during the tour when we saw just how loving the staff was, and how happy the children were (we witnessed a class full of toddlers run over to the infant/toddler program director with smiles and open arms, demanding hugs). Having multiple children, we have decided to continue at the center vs seeking an at-home or in-home situation.

We love Temple Israel. Such an amazing school with teachers that genuinely care about your child. My daughter loves her teachers, and we feel so happy and comfortable when she is there.

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