Sooner or later, the moment comes when you have to leave your child in the care of another person. And I don't mean grandparents or other close relatives: I'm talking about a day-care center or a nanny. Some moms have to return to their jobs just a few months after their kid is born for much-needed income, while others do have a chance to wait longer. But around the age of 3, it becomes almost a necessity to let your kid be more independent and prepare him for school. Some moms prefer to be with their kids until they start kindergarten. But for those who decide to put their child in a day-care center, even for just a few hours a week, the matter of finding the right place becomes a first priority.
Good child care is very hard to find. We visited more than a dozen places before deciding which one to choose, but I couldn't find the perfect place anyway. We didn't need a nanny because we have a much older child who is very mature and responsible, so in cases of emergency or the extremely rare occasion of us going out, we can leave our toddler with him. But from my point of view, finding a good nanny is even more difficult than finding a day care.
Here, I'd like to combine some information on day-care centers in Tucson. Maybe some of you would wish to leave their own advice about a day care or a reference about a nanny. Please, do it. Personal recommendations and experience are very important in this matter.
You can search official Arizona database of child care providers in your area (registration is required) here: http://www.azchildcare.org/
And the following are a few centers that me and my friends had personal experience
1. Unity School (of River rd. between Craycroft and Swan) has a very secluded location. Their teachers are great and loving, an atmosphere is very peaceful and program is quite educational. Half day hours are 7 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. For kids 1-5 years old. 520 577 3300
2. La Petite Academy is a national chain of schools. It's for kids from few month old to a school age. Their facilities are new and clean, and their locations are convenient, but there is always a gas station or a car wash close by. www.LaPetite.com
3. International School for Peace (at Swan and River). It's very educational and original. www.internationalschoolforpeace.org
4. The Tucson Jewish Community Center (on River rd. between Swan and N. Alvernon) has a nice day care, and though not many centers take infants, they do. The care is also much better than in some other places. The price is high, but it's worth it. www.tucsonjcc.org
5. Stepping Stones Academy (Tucson location closed). www.Steppingstonesacademy.org
6. The Sandbox on N. Swan. Located on a very busy road. Has a great playground, but rooms are very small. 2701 N. Swan rd. 520 795 9595
7. Adventure school on E. Pima st. They have an original program and nice teachers, but the building and classrooms look very old. www.academyadventures.com
8. Childtime Daycare Center. They have a few different locations (it's a national chain), and take infants. The one on River and Craycroft is nice and clean. This school is very pricey.
9. Satori school on 1 st. has an original program. They are very tolerant for kids behavior, which may be an advantage if your kid acts up and they try to deal with it with such patience, but if your kid gets bullied, it doesn't sound that great.
10. St. Michaels Parish Day school. (K-8)
11. Tanque Verde Lutheran Church offers Preschool and Kindergarten. Parents and kids like it.
12. Sunshine School in Oro Valley ( Preschool - K.). It's very popular in the neighborhood and enrollment is limited, so act early. They have very informative site:
13. St. Thomas Preschool and Pre-K at N. Valley View Rd.
14. Young Explorers School
Kids from 1 to 5 years old. Educational and fun program, swimming pool on site.
( 22nd st.) 1201 S. Avenida Sirio, Tucson AZ 85710, 520 747-1816
15. Children's Learning Adventure
Infants to Elementary School
Location 1: 2190 W. River Rd., Tucson, AZ 85741
Location 2: 3690 E. Hemisphere Loop, Tucson, AZ 85706
16. Tucson Waldorf School
Parent-Child classes + Nursery + Mixed-age Kindergarten
Nursery program is for children ages 2.5 to 4; Mixed age kindergarten is for children ages 4-6.
The play-based early childhood programs provide an environment in which the young child is surrounded by warmth, tenderness and love. The home-like setting is nurturing, unhurried and predictable, which provides your child with a sense of security. Each day provides a dependable structure with creative indoor and outdoor playtime, painting, drawing and beeswax modeling, baking and cooking, nature activities and garden play, circle time, wholesome and nutritious snack, storytelling and puppetry time.
Nursery and Kinder programs run 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. with Extended Day/Aftercare options until 5:30 p.m. Parent-Child program runs weekly in the mornings. Call 520-325-5514 to schedule a tour or for more information.