Our son is 22 months old and this is his second experience in a childcare setting. We call Ryan sunshine personified - he is a happy, smiley little guy. He is also a little guy who has had a pretty rough start to his little life. Much of his first year was spent at SickKids but he handled multiple surgeries, hospital admissions and more visits than we can count, like a champ. Every doctor, nurse, support staff always commented on how easy going and happy Ryan was. Our buttons were always bursting with pride.
Given all of Ryan's health issues, as his parents, we went through a very hard time. As his Mom, I was diagnosed with anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. For any parent, the thought of sending your "baby" to childcare can induce an incredible amount of stress. For me, it was completely shattering. The thought of not being there to protect Ryan was always something I struggled with but like many parents, I had to go back to work.
His first daycare experience was at 15 months old at a centre that we felt confident in. Around 18 months, our happy baby disappeared. We told ourselves it was just separation anxiety, or the terrible twos coming early. At one point, we even considered taking him to his neurosurgeon at SickKids to see if something was wrong in his brain. He wasn't settling into the toddler program at his previous centre. He was crying all the time - a weepy, depressed cry. He didn't want to eat his dinner. He looked terrible.
After hearing about Childventures from a friend, I made a desperate call to Matthew at the Oakville location to see if we could set up a visit. Matthew was simply incredible. He answered my questions, took the time to listen and without even seeing Childventures, he made me want to enroll our baby. He arranged for my husband and I to do a tour the next morning. All I can say is...WOW. From the moment we stepped through the doors, we felt the magical energy that fills every aspect of Childventures. Our tour led to a lovely conversation with Kathryn who showed such empathy to the journey we have had and an afternoon visit which led to another planned visit for the following Monday. Monday arrived and our visit was going so well that we decided to leave Ryan for the day. He didn't even bat an eye when I left.
With the help of his amazing teachers - Tricia, Katie and Victoria, Ryan made an effortless integration to Childventures. Yes, he is a little teary sometimes at drop off but those tears dry up quickly as he is warmly and lovingly comforted by Tricia each morning. I then take a peek at the webcam (such an amazing feature for this anxiety prone Momma!) and see that our little man is a happy camper almost instantly. Ryan's Resource Consultant (someone from the Region of Halton who works on his developmental milestones) called me yesterday after her visit and was beyond thrilled to see Ryan happy again. We now have to revise his developmental plan because suddenly our baby is hitting every milestone. He is chatting more than ever before. Learning new words each day. And more than anything else - Ryan is truly thriving thanks to the loving care he receives at Childventures.
I like to call Childventures the Disneyland of Daycares. The beautiful centre is bright, clean and offers so much visual appeal and excitement for young minds (and adults too!). From Chris' warm smile at the front desk, to Kathryn and Matthew's generous and accommodating natures, to the lovely chef who crafts delicious and healthy meals each day and of course the teachers who not only have such a deep love and commitment to the children but clearly a true love for what they do - Childventures is Ryan's home away from home. As an anxious Momma, I can honestly say that I now love doing morning drop offs because it means I get to see a glimpse into the exciting day Ryan has planned for him. At the end of the day, I receive the most thoughtful reports that always include Ryan's WOW moment of the day - duets on the piano, dancing on bubble wrap and examining frozen plastic spiders with a magnifying glass - these reports help me feel a part of his day and are so cherished by us.
We cannot thank Childventures enough for bringing back our beautiful boy's sunshine personality and helping him find excitement in learning. This Momma has been told that I have sparkle back in my eyes and it is all thanks to Childventures.