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Isn't "Infant Education" Just A Fancy Term for Daycare?

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that well-heeled parents in Manhattan are fighting to get their children into “infant education programs”. The article makes the parents sound elitist and ridiculous for going to such lengths (and such an expense) for their newborns and toddlers.

There is one program that the article mentions that seems pretty crazy. It’s for the Childrens’ Creative Learning Center, which opened in Midtown last month, costs $2,555-a-month and has room for twenty newborns.

But besides that, the other programs in the article just seem like quality daycare centers that you would find anywhere else in the country. People can put children into daycare without seeming elitist and ridiculous, right?

The writer talks about a trend in “infant education” and makes the parents seem silly for exploring such options and competing for spots while their children are still in utero.

I guess that makes me part of “the trend”.

When I was in my second trimester, we visited a school/daycare center in lower Manhattan to see if we could secure our unborn child a spot. My husband and I both planned to keep working (I would return to my job after my three month maternity leave), but we weren’t sure if we wanted to hire a nanny or put our daughter into daycare.

It never occurred to us that we were doing anything obscene except looking into necessary child care options in Manhattan.

We got waitlisted. So instead, we found a wonderful nanny who continues to take care of our daughter to this day. Which is a good thing, because two years later, we are STILL on that wait list.

If parents are fighting for spots, it is because lack of daycare and preschool space is a real issue. I believe Manhattan parents are competitive for good reason.

This year, we put our daughter into a toddler transitions class (for kids 18-24 months old who didn’t meet the September cut-off) partly because it would ensure a spot in the preschool the following year.

She goes for two mornings a week and absolutely loves it. She is exposed to a lot more than she would have been at home and I believe it has been a great benefit to her socially. And this February, while all of my friends were flipping out over whether they would get into one of the 5-10 preschools they applied, I avoided the process entirely.

I think the author of the article was trying to spin a larger “infant education” story out of one ridiculous new program.

Looking for child care for a kid under two is not a Manhattan thing nor a well-heeled thing. It is a reality for every working mom.

And unfortunately, a very hard thing to come by in Manhattan.

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