The best of both...
My center shut down during COVID and during that time I was furloughed from March to September. I lived a two under two, stuck at home life and it just wasn't for me. I loved the extra time with them and looking back, we really did have fun times and we did new things and it was nice just living a quiet, secluded life. But there's one thing I took away that I just can't do at home.
And that's the social part that SO many people forget about. I can't and won't ever be my small child's friend. I can't play with them or replicate how they play with peers. I can't create experiences at school where they're cooperatively playing with blocks or making a tower or whatever. I just can't recreate that environment.
I was lucky that Layla grew a bit with Lincoln in their time together and I feel like their close bond is partly thanks to COVID and being stuck together 24/7. But their relationship is still different than that of Lincoln and his school friends.
That's one HUGE reason I value our early education school--it's play based and strongly tailored to the children and their development. We meet them where they're at. We're fun and exciting and engaging and foster social-emotional skills which are so crucial at their young age.
The extensive crew of friends & teachers
So...is it worth it?
For my family, it 100% is worth it. Is it fair that childcare is so freaking expensive? Probably not and I've questioned my choices a few times like when coming back from leave, after having Lincoln, after COVID. I weighed the negatives and positives. I've thought SO much about the trade off.
I will add that if I didn't work in the school they attend, my perspective might be different. Having a personal relationship with the teachers and truly knowing the ins and outs of the center help. I trust these people fully and they know me fully, too. There's an added layer here that other families don't have. But the kids are all treated equally, I believe that. So the care is the same whether I was working there or not. That's how amazing these teachers truly are.
I'm blessed to work in the field and get discounts. I'm blessed to have an inside scoop on the center. And I'm blessed my kids love their school and their friends and their teachers. It makes my choices a lot easier when I see them thriving and loving their environment.