We received the referral that I referenced in the post last week Daycare Options. I visited Caminito Jardin de Infantes today, along with an Expat Mom whose 3-year-old daughter goes there. I also just learned of another family that has a two year old son there as well. Both families highly recommend the program.
I visited the Caminito website a few days ago and with the help of Google Translate, I was able to learn about their philosophy, hsitory and teachers before evere visiting. The center is located about 12 blocks from us, down Boulevard Artigas, going away from la Rambla. Still walkable though, and I was in the area today in about 15 minutes (at a very brisk pace). I met up with Expat Mom and we walked to Caminito together.
My initial impression was great. The place is cheery and fun, with a big metal gate in front that is locked with a key and someone actually has to come out and let you in, instead of just buzzing from inside. Note: It is really not as ominous as it sounds when it's painted all in bright colors. We entered and left the stroller in the storage area. The first differences were evident. There were tubes of various materials and colors, something that looked like a hula hoop but with texture, balls of every shape and size, a bunch of empty 5-liter water bottles.. this is the concept of using everyday materials to create wonder and exploration. I love it already!
(Note to my Dad: You were right with all of your surprise "toys" for Geneva. I just didn't realize it at the time!!)
We talk with the Administrator, Gabriela for a few minutes. The place is clean, bright and sparsely furnished. There is a small garden in back, I hear with lettuce or spinach planted that they will use to make a torta for the kids. Then we went upstairs to see the 3-year-old and one-year-old rooms. The three year olds were climbing through nylon tunnels and bouncing on mats. Each age group has two rooms, one with furniture and toys and the other is open for napping or larger activities. The instructors plan different exploration activities daily, many with reused products.
Geneva and I go into the room with the 1-2 year olds. There are 4 kids and two instructors (it was late in the day and I think a few had left already). The kids are around a table painting and putting paper confetti on their "paintings" with both materials gettin absolutely everywhere. The huge smiles on every child in the room told me that they were thrilled and Geneva wanted to get right in.
Once back downstairs, Geneva and her 3-year old friend each get a different shaped plastic bottle filled with food-colored-water and various floating objects (all the caps were glued on) an they start rolling and shaking the bottles. Nothing like purple bubbles! We talk a little more, I get a price list and find that Caminitos pricing is the same range as the others I looked reviewed. They are implementing uniforms, with the winter uniform of a light green velour hoodie, light gray velour pants and a white t-shirt. Very cute and having come from a youth filled with uniforms myself, I am all for them. My uniforms were green plaid and not quite as cute, though!
They also provide homemade snacks and milk at Caminito, for a whopping 250 pesos (under $ 11.00/month) for the afternoon session with the morning session a little less. All included, it still comes to about $150 for the month: The general monthly fee and snack are the monthly costs with materials, Matricula (registration) and uniform (figured 4 per year) all divided since they are yearly costs. Hopefully we got everything here, if not, we'll make adjustments to the above information.
We plan to visit again tomorrow so Brad can join us and hopefully register at that time. I really like Caminito and think it will be a great fit for us!
Note: Caminito is a new-ish program and it sounds like they are making adjustments to their offerings, class sizes and instructor schedule. More information to come.