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A Daycare Report Card

A few months ago, I wrote about searching for childcare for Henry. He has been attending daycare three days per week for nearly three months months, so I thought I should provide an update. 

Overall, Daddy and I are very pleased with the quality of care Henry is receiving. The staff are caring and attentive. They challenge him to learn new skills. The other children are kind and gentle. They welcome Henry when he arrives each morning and include him in group play activities.

Henry eats three lunches and three snacks per week at daycare. Although breakfast is included in the cost of Henry's childcare, we give him a hot breakfast at home each morning. Henry is ready to eat as soon as he wakes up so it just does not work for us to have him wait for breakfast until we drop him off at daycare. 
Henry eats a hot breakfast at home.
When we enrolled Henry in daycare, I requested a copy of each week's menu in advance. This lets me know what they plan to serve and prevents me from duplicating dishes when I put together our family's weekly meal plan.
Henry is more willing to eat noodles since watching other kids in daycare enjoy them.
Here are a few of my impressions about the quality and variety of food Henry receives at daycare:
  • The staff say that he is a great eater. There is nothing he refuses at least to try.  
  • The menu includes a variety of foods that we do not usually have at home, like lasagna, chili and tuna sandwiches. There are also many typical "kid foods" such as corn dogs and tater tot casserole.
  • They do not serve much international cuisine except for Mexican dishes like tacos and refried beans.  
  • The menu includes fresh, frozen and canned fruits and veggies. 
  • They do not seek out organic and non-GMO foods.
  • Since starting daycare, Henry is more willing to eat noodles. Previously, he seemed to find the slippery texture of pasta to be amusing but not edible. Now, he has no qualms about gobbling up the spaghetti or pad thai that I serve at home. I am guessing that it was helpful for him to see the other children eat noodles.
  • They provide one afternoon snack each day. It frequently includes fruit, yogurt, cheese and crackers. Veggies are on the snack menu occasionally. Sweet treats like cookies are served about once per week. Consistent with our snack routine at home, they do not give the children a morning snack or allow them to nibble throughout the day.
  • There have been a few times when Daddy and I were disappointed in the menu offerings. One day, the children were served a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch. The same day, they were given half of a pb&j sandwich at snack. On two occasions, the staff served mashed potatoes with hamburger gravy as the main entree at lunch. In my book, gravy does not constitute a quality protein choice.
Henry loves refried beans after trying them at daycare.

Overall, I think the staff are doing a good job but there is room for improvement. They try their best to provide a well-rounded menu for the children in their care but sometimes they do not offer the most nutritious options. I am guessing that cost plays a big factor in their meal planning decisions. I would like to see them offer more fresh produce and a wider array of flavors, but they have exposed Henry to dishes that he does not get to experience at home.

Daycare food grade: B


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