Baby Boots has been looked after by my MIL while we're at work, but this winter we'd like to look at switching him to daycare for a few reasons. Cost being one (we pay her market rate for an experienced nanny) but also I'd like him to develop some social skills and participate in structured learning and activities.
My mother in law is very sweet and loving with him, but she doesn't see the value of exposing him to new people, places, experiences, etc. So for example, she agreed (somewhat reluctantly) to take him to baby story time at the library once a week, but she won't agree to taking him to the farmer's market or walking around the mall, or a Little Gym class, the Children's museum, a kindermusik class, the pool at the gym, walking around downtown, etc.We tried to get her to teach him some basic signs and that never took. It's not that she is being hard-headed, I think she's just not comfortable or familiar with those things. So mostly he just stays at home during the week, except for the library once a week and weather permitting he gets a 10-15 minute walk in the stroller every day. He gets really bored and frustrated so I think it's time to make a change for him.
My question is, am I going to find a daycare that will give him those kinds of experiences? Or would that be more pre-school? Is pre-school only for older kids like 2+? Certainly he would get more social interaction at a daycare but do they go on walks? or outings? do they have structured activities or is it just supervised play? I'm wondering if maybe we actually just need a new nanny which would be a really hard conversation to have and of course I would be scared out of my mind to leave him with someone new because MIL I trust absolutely and I know she is very diligent about keeping an eye on him.
There are some church-based daycares/preschools near us which would be handy but I don't know anything about them, would they require us to be part of their congregation? Do they typically have a religious based curriculum? I wish the YMCA near us had daycare but they don't. My SIL works at a Y and said I should be looking for somewhere that is staffed with people who have early childhood education degrees. Not sure if that means ALL the staff or just the leadership. She said the Y daycare basically potty-trained her 2 year old for her! Is that normal to expect that kind of thing? I just don't even know where to start.
Here's some dessert for reading my rant.
Edit to try and make it shorter (unsuccessfully)