Feb 2, 2011

Letter to our daycare centre

Photo: theseanster93 via Flickr Creative Commons
Today is the girls' last day at the daycare centre they have attended for more than four years. It feels weird - it's exciting but a bit sad as well, and suddenly hard to believe this day has come. So odd to think after today I won't be making this drive again, doing the mad freeway dash, heart pounding, trying to get there in time for pick-up, swapping hellos and commiserations with other parents, talking to the carers most of whom we have known for three or four years.

The girls are wrestling with the fact they will no longer see their friends or come to the place that has been their second home for so long. Most of the "kinders" are going through the same things - even while they are excited and impatient to start school as well.

Sadly most of the kids are in the same boat as our girls, starting at a school where none of their daycare friends will be (there are a lot of schools in my area...). All the parents and the kids at our daycare centre are great - it has been wonderful spending time with such a nice bunch of kids and their parents, over weekend playdates and birthday parties and at the centre.  I would love to keep in touch with some of them, but also know that with all of us working and kids going to different schools that's not likely.
As a kid I moved around a lot and yes kids always "make new friends" - but they also always miss and remember the ones they left behind.
But my kids are not me. Their experience is not mine. I must not project!

Here is the letter I have written to the wonderful and dedicated people at our daycare centre. WITH THANKS.

Dear T, S, E, C, C, J, D, C, and EVERYONE at Happy Lambs*,

Today is our daughters’ last day at Happy Lambs, and we want to say THANK YOU. Thank you for the wonderful care you have given our girls and the very best start they could ever have had in life. You have enriched their lives and experience in ways we could not have provided them by ourselves. Your differing styles, viewpoints and experiences, all blended with a consistent approach, common goals and excellent common sense, have been wonderful for our kids.

In four plus years at Happy Lambs, I can honestly remember maybe three occasions where we heard “I don’t want to go…” The girls have loved every day here and they have bonded with friends and carers and soaked up every experience.

Before we started daycare I had some trepidation – and some misconceptions about daycare from the negative and inaccurate picture painted in the papers and in movies (mostly by people who don’t have the experience to judge). I can honestly say, and have told everyone I know, it has been NOTHING like any negative aspect I have ever heard. Yes the first few weeks (months?!) were hard, as the girls did cry a lot and got sick about every week for six months!! But even in those times they were having fun and being nurtured and cuddled and played with and we always felt we had made the right choice as to where we placed our kids. I know not every daycare centre is the same and I looked at five before choosing Happy Lambs. Though I had no idea what to look for or what it would be like, there were only two of the five I looked at that I would consider and Happy Lambs was by far my first choice. It felt “right” as soon as I walked in the door, and it has ever since.

Every carer has been amazing; everyone has been beyond anything we could have expected or hoped for. I know you are all doing your jobs, but I have been blown away by how caring and dedicated everyone is, and how my kids have felt “loved” by every carer.

From their first carers in the baby room - C who was wonderful and helped them settle in; F who was lovely and had so much humour and energy; T who started each morning sitting cross-legged on the floor and hugging both babies to transition them into their daycare day; C in the toddler room who the girls loved and missed dearly when they changed rooms; T who they absolutely adored and still talk about to this day; “big R” who was so much fun and they loved as well; C, C, R and S who have spent so much time with them in the mornings, and T and S and now E in the kinder room.

The girls loved the hairstyles S gave them. I also loved watching her coach the kinders in learning the complete song “Give me a home among the gum trees” – very impressive!

T has been absolutely fantastic – she has taught the girls so much and we have really valued her updates and advice and answers to our questions. C and J have also provided some excellent commentary and advice to us and in general the contribution of everyone has been consistent, caring, and helpful.

T’s approach has been wonderful, it is great how much the girls have learned and we are grateful too for the “socialising” aspects of learning that T has managed with the girls for things like manners, hygiene and relationships which perfectly complement what we do at home (though we are not as strict so it’s good to have that balance! I will admit to pulling out the old “I’ll tell T!” warning if all else fails – it works a treat and I’ll bet we are not the only parents to use it!)

The girls are in awe of T and they love her as well, and they LOVE Happy Lambs.

Though they and we are looking forward to school and the next phase in their lives, it will also be a bit of a sad and hard-to-believe day for us all, to say our last good-byes at Happy Lambs.

THANK YOU for everything.

*Not the real daycare centre name. But if anyone needs a daycare centre in my area, I will happily give you the centre details.

And now I have to go, because I'm choking up!


  1. What a lovely way to finish.

    We cried when Sapphire finished at her Childcare Centre because she had some wonderful times there. Her favourite carer even popped by one evening with a gift for her. She still remembers and talks of her friends and carers there with fondness. They should be given a lot of credit for how she turned out.

  2. I'm with Kath. So good to read a great report about a day care centre. Still can't believe the girls are off to school next week - it feels like yesterday that they were born.

  3. Kath,
    It's nice to hear that Sapphire still findly remembers her daycare centre after so many years - I have wondered if mine will "forget"?

    I know, I know - they had their first "day" at school today (15 minute meet and greet), and I can't believe it either...



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