By Isabelle Kuhlmeyer
Photo Credit: Savanna Smiles
When I was about 6 months pregnant with my first child, I decided it was time to start looking at childcare options since I was planning to go back to work full time after my maternity leave. At that point, I had lived in the U.S. for over 17 years (I am a French national), but it was my first experience searching for childcare in this country. Naively, I thought: “How hard can it be?”
I was looking for a childcare environment and not a nanny because I believe socialization is important from a young age and I was also hoping to have French spoken to my child daily. However, after visiting countless childcare centers, I realized it was going to be a difficult endeavor with waiting lists averaging 18 months, very high costs (who can afford $2500 a month?), and very few bilingual childcare centers.
Since I did not know any other parents of young children, and needed childcare I was comfortable with, I decided to open a French immersion daycare.
I know, that sounds extreme, and maybe my hormones were way out of control by that time in my pregnancy, but I decided to give it a try. The house next to mine was coming up for rent and it seemed like a great sign!
I started the process with DEL (Department of Early Learning), but there were too many limitations and hoops to jump through to get a license. However, opening a preschool for 4 hours a day doesn’t require a license. It really did not make sense to me, but since I was planning to open a safe and good environment, pay taxes, hire a good employee, I thought that was the way to go.
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