Selecting a day care is one of the most stressful events a parent, especially a new parent, will go through. I recently partnered with the library where we hosted a Preschool and Day Care Fair bringing local families and childcare/schools together under one roof. It was very successful I must say. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting and working with Bright From The Start Childcare located in the west end of Valley Stream. They are a regular advertiser on the blog so I wanted to pay them a visit to see what the daycare was like.
The kids were absolutely adorable, friendly, and had me wanting to go back and have one more baby. Although the feeling didn’t last long, I had a great time watching them during arts and crafts time and as they began to do a little singing and dancing.
I asked the owner, Margo McKenzie a few questions to help you get to know her and what you need to look for when selecting a childcare for your precious little one(s).
What did you do before you opened your daycare?
Before I opened BFTS, I was a NY Police Officer, I did my 20 years and retired as a Sergeant.
Margo, why did you decide to open up a daycare?
My decision to first open a daycare came when my son was still in elementary school back in 2008. I had recently retired from the NYPD and was volunteering a lot of my time on the PTA as well as other school functions. I was enjoying myself and the fun I was able to help provide to the kids. I would look forward to planning events. I felt a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment seeing the joy it brought to those kids. I mentioned my idea to a parent and she actually discouraged and talked me out of it, saying it was too risky to care for kids. But then a few years later in the summer of 2013, I decided to research how to open a daycare and by November 2013 I was licensed and ready to open.
BFTS is licensed for 12, full-time children and four after school children. Currently, we are at full capacity with a waiting list.
What should a parent look for when choosing a daycare?
The obvious thing a parent should look for when choosing a daycare is to see if the daycare is licensed by the state. This ensures that someone is continuously watching and making sure they are adhering to the regulations. On an average, the Department of State will make unannounced visits at least every 3 months. Although the state does not mandate a daycare to insure themselves, I would strongly advise parents to choose one that is insured. Though I choose to insure my business to protect myself, I understand that kids may get hurt while in my care so I wanted parents to feel comfortable that if something did go wrong their children would be covered at no extra expense to them.
What else would like readers to know?
I would like to also mention that running a daycare is alot of work. I have heard people say that you are just watching kids, but it goes far beyond that. Planning healthy meals/snacks each week, making sure that all the rules and regulations the state mandates are being adhered to, which includes evacuation drills/shelter in place drills as well as the administrative part of some of the things that are extremely time consuming, but needs to be perfect. It is a constant task to keep the facility clean and sanitized, to help aid the spread of germs among the children. If you don’t plan your week out meticulously and follow through with your plans you are setting yourself up for failure. I learned this the hard way. These things are in addition to our day to day activities. Having 12 children of all different ages can get even the most tolerant person tired, frustrated and sometimes even discouraged. But every morning before opening my doors, I pray by asking God for a lot of patience, strength and the ability to care for, and encourage each and every one of the kids. So far it’s working.
Owner – Bright From The Start Childcare
Valley Stream, NY
Inquiries – (516) 725-3937
Mom Blogger turned Stay-At-Home-Mom Strategist at www.KimberlyLThomas.com. Reality TV junkie. Wife. Moscato. Mother of 2. Loves Mondays and dancing and singing to 80s/90s music.