Child Care in Astoria Queens

How to select the best daycare/nursery for your child is an all too common dilemma many moms face. While you can research what’s available in your neighborhood and take a personalized tour of the local centers,  it may not give you that all the information you need to make the best choice if you are not prepared to ask questions and have made an assessment of your needs.
Jennifer Vizina, mom to 3 year old son Kyler knows that feeling of wanting the best for her son -a safe, engaging, and structured environment that exceeds expectations.  After an exhaustive period of researching local daycare options, Jennifer opted for a facility that could meet her need for flexibility that fits into her sporadic work schedule, proximity to her home in Astoria, and reflected her values in helping Tyler reach his developmental milestones.

Having now experienced both daycare and Pre-K options for her son, Jennifer shares with parents the following: “ my biggest takeaway is to not get discouraged and to start learning to really let go. That’s the biggest lesson I am learning as a mom…letting go. It’s a hard lesson for me and I re-learn it every day. Once you have made your choice and have done your best to prepare the backpack, the lunch, the blankie and cuddle your kid all morning, then you have to trust and let go. Believe that you have done the best you can for your child and the people taking care of your child will do the same. “

Shama Saqi, pediatric psychiatrist and mother to 11 month old Adam says “you need to know what matters to you and to start early!”  In 2011, Shama began looking into daycare options while expecting her first child because she quickly learned that some of her selected daycare centers  were already full and she had to be waitlisted. While she is comfortable with her selection because of its proximity to her work and the vast amount of developmental activities Adam is regularly engaged in, Shama is now back looking at options for daycares closer to her home in Astoria   Shama is focusing her attention on finding a program dedicated to developing motor skills, stimulating the sensory system, and encouraging adaptability to various social interactions and environments but still meets her budget.

While each daycare is unique and offers differents services, rates, and programs –Joan Diaz, Owner of BlueBird Daycare Centre and mother of 4 1/2 year old son Thomas, advises parents  “to be comfortable with the location, teachers, and cost.  You need to think long term because it  is best to build consistency for a child.  Daycare centers spend much time trying to acclimatize the child and parent to their new environment.”

As a licensed home-based daycare owner, Joan also wants parents to understand that daycares need clear rules and policies (ie. “no sick child policy”) that have to be enforced, but recognizes there is always room for some flexibility to meet the different needs of the families. Her center provides comprehensive  1 -2hr tours with detailed information given to prospective parents.  Joan Diaz  strongly encourages parents to ” not be shy about what they want to know. All questions should be answered . ”

For Joan, BlueBird is ” not just a daycare but a community of families where we engage with each other.” BlueBird Daycare Center admits their rates are competitive but offer unique features such as instant webcam viewing for parents wanting to check in on their child(ren) virtually. This feature provides that added sense of security and closeness to parents.

As an Astorian resident, Joan promotes the feeling of a community at her Centre  -“parents want to feel like their child is at home”.

This Saturday, January 12, 2013  Astoria Moms Meetup Group and Holistic Moms Network will be hosting their annual school Symposium to give families an opportunity to network with many different schools, programs, nurseries and day cares and gather information to make the most informed choice for their child.
To attend this free event, please register online at www.astoriamoms.org

For more information on BlueBird Daycare Centre, go to www.bluebirdchildcareastoria.com
Tel: 347-832-0103

A listing of some of the Astoria Daycares/nurseries and a helpful daycare checklist are attached below. To find a daycare based on city,state, we suggest http://childcareavenue.com/

Astoria Nursery Schools and Day Care Centers

Adventure Land
3204 31st Avenue  Long Island City, NY 11106
(718) 777-0311

All My Children Daycare
36-49 11th Street,
Long Island City, NY 11106tel:  718-786-1166

Andrew Landri Childcare
2120 35th Avenue, Long Island City, NY
(718) 722-5173

Astoria Playschool
astoriaplayschool.com
25-88 41st Street, 1st Floor Astoria, NY 11103
Phone: 718.545.1403
7:30 A.M. to 7:00 P.M.

Blossoms Montessori on the Park
14-08 Astoria Pk. South, 2nd flr
Astoria, NY
212-203-9898 or 347-267-0900

Blue Bird Child Care Center
5-58 48th Street
Astoria, NY 11103
Hours:  Mon- Fri:  7:30a.m.- 6:30p.m.
Phone:  347-832-0103
Cell 917-804-6198
www.bluebirdchildcareastoria.com
email:  info@bluebirdchildcareastoria.com

Bright Beginnings
3501 24th St, Astoria,NY11106
718-707-0501

Diki Daycare
dikidaycare.com
3124 38th St # 31-81  Astoria, NY 11103
(718) 278-0304

Discovery Lane Daycare
2717 27th St # 1, Astoria, NY 11102
(347) 242-2315 ‎

Hallet Cove Child Development
208 Astoria Blvd
Astoria, NY 11102
(718) 726-5272

Happy Days
www.happydayschildcare.net/
25-17 36th Street, 11103
718-278-7808

Khensee Wangmo Home Daycare (Montesori School)
42-20 Ditmars Blvd, Floor 1st
(347) 449-4771

Kid Krazy
kidkrazypreschool.com
21-25 21st Avenue  NY 11105
(718) 545-5728
8am-6pm

A Learning Odyssey Daycare
www.astoriadaycare.com
30-83 30th Street Suite 1-L
Astoria, NY 11102
contact-us@astoriadaycare.com
Phone (718) 956-5390
Fax (646) 274-0429
Hours of Operation: Monday – Fridays 8AM – 6PM

Mushroom House
www.  mushroomhousedaycare.org
38-00 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria, NY,
Astoria,NY11105
718-606-6161

One Two Three Stages
3154 12th St
Astoria, NY 11106
(718) 932-8217

Perfect Angels Childcare
25 – 36 42nd Street
Astoria, NY 11103
(718) 305-0673

Queensview Nursery School & Kindergarten
www.queensview.com
2166 33RD RD
ASTORIA,  NY  11106
(718) 728-5090
8-3:30

Daycare/Nursery Checklist: (modified from original www.ahdaycare.com/)

Questions to ask:

Availability
•  What ages are accepted?
•  What time can I drop my child off?
•  What is the latest time that I can pick up my child?
•  What holidays are you closed?
•  Do you have space available for my child? If not, is there a waitlist?
•  Can I choose from a full time or part time schedule?
•  If my child attends daycare part time, do I need a set schedule?
• Can I visit the facility without an appointment?
• Do you have a list of references that I can call?
What to look for:
• Does someone answer phone calls promptly?
• Is a director conveniently available to answer questions

Staff training and facility licensing
• Are you licensed and accredited?
• How long has your facility been providing daycare?
• What is the caregiver to child ratio?
• Does your staff have training in early childhood development (or whatever training is required by your state)?
• Are teachers trained in first aid and CPR?
• What is your staff turnover?
• Are background checks completed on staff members?
What to look for:
• Is there a certification license posted?
• Are there any state violations posted?
• For NYC, are the  facility exists clear and to code?
Daily activities and schedules
• Are nap times provided? What time and where?
• What activities will be available for my child?
• Will my child go on field trips outside the facility?
• Is there an education curriculum?
• Do the children watch any tv? If so, How much time do they watch tv during the day?
• Do you offer transportation?  If so, from what schools or locations?
What to look for:
• What activities are children doing?
Meals
• Are meals provided by the daycare?
• Are snacks provided by the daycare?
• Are they nutritious meals and snacks?
• Do they allow for special needs and diets?
• Are parents given a monthly menu?
• Do you have adequate storage for breast milk?
What to look for:
• Are the kitchen and eating areas clean?
• Is breast milk labeled?
• Are food allergies noted for teachers?

Care
• How are they disciplined?
• How do you handle toilet training?
What to look for:
• Are the children given lots of love and encouragement?
• How does staff interact with children?

Environment
• Do you have an outdoor playground?
• Are there personal cribs for each infant?
• Are there separate rooms for each age group?
• Is the staff allowed to smoke on facility premises?
• Are animals allowed on premise? (at home daycares only)
• Are there provisions for children with special needs?
What to look for:
• What toys and activities are available?
• Does the center look well kept?
Illness
• What is your sick policy?
• What do you do if my child becomes sick at daycare?
• What is your policy for handling falls or incidents?
• Are immunizations required?
• Do you dispense medication only with a parent or doctor’s signature?

Safety
• Is there a safety plan in place in case of an emergency?
• Are there restrictions on who may pick up my child?
• Are these restrictions confirmed?
• Are parents called when a child does not show up at the appropriate time?
• Does the playground equipment meet safety standards?
• Are hazardous materials kept out of reach of children?
• Is there a first aid kit?
• Do they have smoke detectors?
• Are fire exits marked and caregivers knowledgeable in a fire safety plan?
What to look for:
• Are safety gates working?
• Does the playground equipment look safe?
• Where are smoke detectors?
• Where are hazardous materials?
• Are fire exits marked?
• Are heating vents and radiators covered or inaccessible to children?
Sanitation
• How often are toys washed? What do you use to clean them?
• Do caregivers use gloves when handling food and when changing diapers?
• Are children taught to wash their hands before eating and after using the toilet?
What to look for:
• Does the facility look clean and composed during an unexpected visit?
• Are toys and furniture in good condition and up to date?
• Are caregivers using gloves?
• Is soap and paper towels provided in each restroom?

Registration and fees
• How do I register my child? Registeration fees?
• I am pregnant. How do I reserve a space for my infant?
• What are your daycare fees for full time? Part time?
• Do you accept any kind of financial aid? Payment options.
• Is there a reduction in fees if my child takes vacation?
• Is there a sibling discount?
• What is the fee for picking up my child late?

Before you make a decision on a daycare facility, don’t forget to factor in how convenient the center is to your work or home. Decide who will be dropping off and picking up your child and figure out if the daycare center’s location and hours provide enough travel time.

writer: Siveem El Nashar -Organizer -Astoria Moms Group & Co-Director of Astoria School Symposium

Interviewees: Jennifer Vizina -Freelance Marketing Consultant  & Yoga Instructor /Shama Saqi -Pediatric Psychiatrist /Joan Diaz -Owner BlueBird Daycare Center