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Review for Novato Youth Center, Novato, CA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

Looking for child care is an investment of time. If you are looking for the one-stop shop, this is the place to be.

The Youth Center offers more ammenities than our local schools. They have 4 play structures. They have one for infants, one for toddlers, one for preschoolers, and one for the school-aged program. They have their own full-sized gym for basketball, indoor soccer, martial arts, and roller skating. They have their own art room, their own game room, and their own library, complete with computers.

Homework is a priority for the older children, and there is dedicated homework time. They have staff and tutors to assist with homework to ensure that it is done correctly. I'm glad I don't have to spend much time helping my daughter with homework; it has usually been completed by the time I pick her up at 4:30 p.m.. Education is also important for the younger children; even my 2-year-old son has a curriculum, consisting of circle time, art for colors and exploring senses, music, dramatic play, story time for language development, outdoor time for exercise and gross motor development.

They have their own cafeteria with full cooking facilities and large refrigerator, which allows them to store nutritious, fresh fruits and vegetables. All meals and snacks are included in the fees, including snacks and formula for infants. Their food is also healthier than school lunches, often including fresh fruits and vegetables instead of processed foods. For the infants, they even wash the baby bottles! It is convenient to not worry about packing a lunch box every day; it's nice to know that I don't have to worry about missing forks, water bottles, etc..

Health and cleanliness is important. All the children wash their hands before meals. Children are dressed warmly for cold weather. In summer, the younger children are assisted with applying sunscreen. Sick policy is strictly enforced. Crib bedding, bibs, burp cloths, and pacifiers are washed daily by the staff; no need for parents to bring home laundry.

Summer field trips and movies are included in the fees, and usually all children are included.

Last, but most importantly, I feel comfortable leaving my children at the Novato Youth Center. Many of the staff members have worked at the Youth Center for more than 13 years. My first child attended the Youth Center in 2000. It is obvious that some of the staff are dedicated to their jobs; job turnover is low. The staff is willing to work with getting to know the individual needs of each child. My first child never slept in the crib; one dedicated worker often held her and snuggled her during much of her nap. As she got older, she gave up her naps, but rather than force her to sleep, yet another dedicated worker read to her, and she ended up being able to read independently before she entered kindergarten. My second child required a stroller ride to lull her to sleep; another dedicated worker kept the stroller going for nap. My third child needs frequent feedings due to his low weight; he was offered frequent bottles, frequent meals, variety of high-calorie foods, as the doctor ordered extra butter and whole milk to his foods. My third child loves his caregivers and cries when they leave their shift for the day. When I ask him, "Who takes care of you?" He doesn't say, "Mama." He instead names the workers at the child care. This is how you I know he's got a home away from home.

The only draw back is that there is no weekend care! We sometimes work weekends, and weekend care would be a huge bonus!

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