Childcare

Jardín Caminito- A Perfect Choice for Us

We love the jardín that Geneva attends.  Thank you a million times over to Suki for recommending it. There are so many things that I appreciate about Jardín Caminito: the atmosphere is extremely warm and open, the play is creative and inventive, family events are fun and frequent. The thing that I love most about Caminito, though, is the quality and quantity of communication between the jardín and the parents.

Caminito class

Information to the parents is spread quickly and readily via email, printed and handwritten notes.  We receive email messages frequently with news about meetings or recent happenings in the jardín. Even with Geneva's day-to-day activities, the communication has been incredible.  When we first started attending Jardín Caminito, we received three "books" that had been created for her:

  • One small book to travel back and forth that contains daily handwritten communication and questions.
  • One large book that mainly lives at Caminito but travels back and forth as well.  This binder contains printed song lyrics and other printed communication regarding materials that they need or specific activities that they are working on.
  • One large book lives at home where we can collect all of her artwork in a binder format.

All the parents of Jardín Caminito have access to an online photo album that is updated every month. Last week we received a CD of songs that they sing in Geneva's class, along with lyrics. There is even a rotating library of children's books and we receive a new book to borrow each weekend.  It is so much fun to read these sweet kids books in Spanish and it's as much of an education for us as it is for Geneva.

Last week Brad and I attended the "Reunión de Padres sala 1".  Nearly all of the parents of the year 1 class attended, along with the administrators and all the teachers (not just our grade).  We learned in detail what they are working on in the year 1 class and there was a forum where parents could ask questions about both the jardín and the children. The instructors knew that the spoken information in Spanish was fast and we may not understand all of it, so we were given a printed copy of the main curriculum discussion to read.  We also wrote private letters to our children as if they were reading them when they are 20 years old.  There were few dry eyes in the building after that exercise.

A few of the parents and instructors at the Jardín speak English and they are all very concerned that we understand all of the information and our questions answered.  I cannot express how wonderful this is when we do have questions. Although 95% of our communication with the jardín is in Spanish, it is great to know that we have people to turn to if we need clarification.

Several times both that night and previously, Brad and I have commented to each other  how we wouldn't get this level of hands-on attention in the USA. To the best of our knowledge, most US daycares do not have 2.5 hour long meetings like this to discuss our kids, their growth and progress.  Our daughter would not get kisses from all of the teachers and many of the kids, as we are walking into and out of the school each day. (So she get's a few extra colds along the way, you take the good with the bad!) She would not have an opportunity to go to a farm once a month in the USA, or have "classmates" that she could potentially stay with throughout her preschool years.

geneva-face-painting

Geneva frequently comes home with evidence of face painting or coloring.  They sing songs with various musicians coming to visit and they learn about  the world around them through daily exploration activities.  It seems that she loves the other kids as much as the activities and her teachers say that Geneva's comprehension of Spanish is great.  We are excited that she has an opportunity to be immersed in the Uruguayan culture and language for 20 hours a week and that she is thriving here.

Brad and I are making many new friends and receiving an education of our own through this experience. With all of the meetings and correspondence in Spanish, our comprehension is improving and we're learning much through the process of becoming integrated in a new culture.

Brad is attending a "Dia del Padre" this afternoon with Geneva at Caminito and I can't wait to hear all about it.  :)

More of Life at the Casita

G's sock bin We're settling in to life here and here's another update on stuff that's been pending in our world:

Alejandra finished her first week here and we love her already.  Cleaning this whole house top to bottom in the course of two days, including purchasing many of the cleaning supplies, doing dishes and some laundry.  Total cost:  510 pesos for 6 hours on Tuesday and 350  for 4 hours on Thursday = 860 pesos or $36.00.  She even arranged Geneva's sock bin in color order!  Wow~

Looks like Caminito (daycare)  is a go for June 1.  There is a picnic next Saturday to welcome the morning class into the afternoon and we are invited.  We also dropped by today to get Geneva measured for her "uniform" (light green velour hoodie, grey velour pants and white t-shirt).  We're excited to get started!  Now to just translate all the paperwork needed and get it filled out correctly.

 The water issue in our bathroom is still on-going and we continue to turn off the main every night.  The plumbers keep working on it and took out a little of the back of the kitchen sink cabinet today to try to learn more about where the water is coming from (there are 4 plumbing fixtures on the shared plumbing wall).  After removing the rotted cabinet base under the kitchen sink two weeks ago, we don;t have too much of that cabinet left! Good thing it's on concrete and they think they found something although we have yet to learn what they are going to do about it.  

I took a few photos of our sink demo, but had a moment of clarity before posting.  Who on earth wants to see a sock bin and under a sink in a post.  I've gotta get better photos.  

On a different note:

I was returning yesterday from a great playdate in the park when it started to rain.  Geneva and I made it the 6 blocks or so dodging downpours and as I turned the stroller onto our street, I got a really strange feeling: We are living here.  We've signed a lease.  We're no longer just tourists.  We are interacting with the plumbers, the store clerks, the Jardin, the locals.  We are committed.  It was a really odd feeling of familiarity and comfort and at the same time a little apprehension.  My heart began to race.  In all my travels, I've never been anywhere this long before.  I love it and it freaks me out.  I blame the mood on 'winter' coming.  I've never done well with winter. Luckily today is 80 degrees and winters here aren't so bad.  Bring it on!

What We've Been Doing

We've been slacking on the blog.  Sorry. But our social calendars have been getting a workout!  Between Brad going to a Futbol (soccer) match on Thursday between Argentina and Uruguay, me being being double booked for Friday lunch, emailing with another expat about upcoming yoga classes, entertaining at our house on Friday night, and going to the Rummage sale at the American School today (we had 3 expats offer to give us a ride), we've kept busy.

17 month birthday

It was also Geneva's 17 month birthday this past week, which we always celebrate with a sign and lots of photos.

I've also been doing tons of laundry since we have a few nice days again after three days of rain, I'm cooking a lot and just today started baking and crocheting a new project.  I am a domestic goddess after all!  Well, maybe not.  Read on:

We also interviewed a lady to come in and clean the house 2x per week.  She came very highly recommended by an expat we know and we met with Alejandra on Thursday.  She'll come on Tuesday and Thursday mornings for 80 pesos  ($3.33) an hour plus bus fare.  We do also pay taxes into the UY equivalent of the social security system as her employer.  Alejandra would also do some cooking and laundry, which we said we wouldn't need that at this point. She will also help us get set up with any of the equipment/cleaning supplies that we need.  We'll try it with Alejandra for a few weeks and see how it goes.

An update to other items:

We have yet another lead for a possible daycare.  Caminito still may work out in a couple of weeks, but we don't know for sure and want to keep the search going just in case.

We still have a water issue that is going to be dealt with this week.  The plumber has been here several times and installed a new kitchen faucet, toilet mechanism, and adjusted/repaired the temperature control on the water heater and we still have 2-3 liters of water on the bathroom floor every morning if we don't shut the water off every night. Jorge has been a huge advocate of ours and has been the one dealing with the landlord on this issue. I would rather they just break into the wall to see what's going on and get it done with.

Other than that, we're getting into a routine. Weather is turning colder and the heat is on in the bedrooms at night. That is the only heat that we have in the house and the other rooms are chilly.  No wonder I'm cooking more, at least then the kitchen is toasty warm.

Tomorrow we'll probably go to the Expat lunch at Old Maz which happens every Sunday but we also have tentative plans for afternoon/evening for Brad to help a family with some technology/internet issues.  The girls can play and we'll work for food and wine!

We've met lots of wonderful, interesting people so far and really value the information we've gleaned and the friends we've already made .

More in the Daycare Story :)

Sorry for those of you who don't have kids and don't care about our daycare story.  I know there are others that want the latest on our meeting today with Caminito. Brad and I walked to Caminito today at about 2:00.  The afternoon session had just started and Gabrilela was leaving.  Jimena gave us a quick tour and asked if we could come back this evening when they would both be available to talk. We took a cab back at 6:30 and were there for a little over a half hour. They told us they are in the process of restructuring, cutting out the morning session (I believe the teacher for this session is leaving) and possibly adding another afternoon session for the 1-2 year olds. To do that though, they need to find a new instructor.

Long story short:  We'd love to start there ASAP but we don't have a spot until they get it all figured out. They said that they'd get back to us within a week and maybe we can start in two weeks.  We walked out with all the paperwork and fingers crossed that we'll be able to get in soon.

It could be a lot worse, like some daycare centers in the US where you are on a many-month waiting list for a spot to open up.  We'll just see how it goes!