image_testimonials2Even before my first son was born, I had a vision in my mind of the place where my child would spend his days. I wanted to find the place that was, above all else, safe. I wanted my baby to feel safe and happy when I was not there, as well as to be kept safe from physical harm. Beyond this very basic need, I wanted to find a place where the staff and the children were thriving. This means a place where the staff choose to stay year after year because they feel rewarded personally and professionally, and they have chances to learn new things through ongoing training or in working with other educated and passionate colleagues around them. This means a place where the children learn through structured play, and as they grow older they gain confidence and skills to negotiate surprisingly tricky social situations found in a group of 4-year olds around the Lego table as well as the basic knowledge of letters, numbers, and rules of a game.

I had no idea how hard it would be to find that place in a big city among long waiting lists. During my pregnancy I toured 9 different childcare centers in the Seattle metro area, and I put my name on waiting lists for several of them. But the one that really felt right was Kidspace, and I had that feeling from the first time I walked through their door. Every day I have been there in the past 3 years to drop off or pick up my children, I still feel the same way.

Let me share some of my favorite things about Kidspace. The fresh food that is prepared on site every day and served family-style – my son would be called a picky eater by any standards, but his top 3 favorite foods are the pasta portofino, apricot chicken, and bean burritos from the Kidspace kitchen. The dance, music and sign language programs offered for each age group on a regular schedule by talented local resources – you can’t imagine the fun that happens when Sandy comes with her banjo or drums and engages each class with her original songs. The time spent outside in the fresh air every day in the sun or drizzle – this playground is where two of my three children have learned to go from crawling to riding cars to pushing wagons to stumbling through the wood chips to running in a game of freeze tag. The language that is part of the Kidspace philosophy using respectful words that teach and encourage at the same time – one morning recently my 3-year old son gave a prime example of this when he said, “Mom! I am getting frustrated with these husks in my oatmeal!” The personal relationship we have with so many of the staff in various classrooms who know me, my husband, and our 3 children all by name – last week one of the teachers shared the story with me of how my 17-month old daughter watched out the window as her older brother was playing on the playground and she yelled out a big “Hello!” to him. The very special staff members who genuinely seem to share my amazement and wonder as my children grow and learn before their eyes – they cannot wait to tell me what new words my son said today, or to show me the picture they took of my daughter putting on her own socks.

My mother lives out of town, and she has heard me tell her many times how grateful I am to be able to give the gift of Kidspace to my children. One time when she was in town I brought her to Kidspace and showed her around to many of the classrooms and play areas and introduced her to staff. Later that night I asked her what she thought. She said, “I never really thought about what makes a good child care center. Now I understand what you talk about. It is not the building itself, the carpet or the curtains, or the size of the rooms. It is the way the children receive so much sincere love and attention when they are there.” That is how I feel about Kidspace, and I know my children feel it, too, from the smiles on their faces.

Jami C.
November 2009

Kidspace has been a wonderful place for my two boys, ages six and three. The staff is experienced and wonderful with the kids and I trust them completely. They are very psychologically based and are consistent throughout the daycare with how they handle certain situations. I can leave knowing that my boys will be cared for and loved while I’m at work all day.

The teachers are always very calm and patient (even with our spirited children!), and the kids learn so much ranging from how to eat a meal at a table to how to be polite and take turns with toys. Each year before the transition to the next classroom I am always sad to leave the current teacher but am always pleasantly surprised that I like the next teacher just as much! My children are able to form new bonding relationships with the teachers and are at the next level of development in a slightly older group of kids.

The kids get such a variety of experiences because Kidspace brings in different people each week to entertain, teach and interact with the kids in each classroom, including someone who teaches music, someone who does dance and movement and even someone who teaches the kids sign language. The kids love it!

As a parent I also learn so much about how to interact with my boys just watching the staff at Kidspace. They also offer parent education nights that have been very helpful with topics ranging from eating to sibling rivalry to how to keep your house safe for your kids and your family.

I highly recommend Kidspace and can’t say enough positive things about it!

Gail S.
October 2009

When you are searching for childcare for an infant, it is difficult to know exactly what you are looking for. Someplace you can feel good about bringing a baby or small child, someplace that feels safe. It is (relatively) easy to find a place that meets a childs basic needs – food, diapering, etc. But hard to tell which center will meet other needs – emotional, psychological, developmental.

After touring several childcare centers prior to the birth of our first child, we found ourselves frustrated with the questions of how to choose, because there was no place that felt totally comfortable to us. We decided to tour one last place on our way home one day. I can remember just walking in the door, past the murals painted by children, the family photos, sounds of laughing children, thinking, “Yes! This is it! This is the place I’m going to bring my child!”. I’m not sure what it was, but I knew instantly.

On the tour, we witnessed several interactions between teachers and children. This is where we viewed what it is that sets Kidspace apart. Every action between teachers and children was positive. Teachers at the child’s eye level calming them, showing them how to interact with each other and with adults, teachers respecting every aspect of the child – his feelings, his personal space, while at the same time, remaining the adult, in control of the situation, respected by the child.

Our family, with children ages 8, 6, and 2, has been at Kidspace for over 8 years, and we have never once considered moving. We can see in our Kidspace “alumni” children the positive skills they learned at Kidspace, the love and respect they give to and receive from one another. I think that we, as parents, also learned by how to better interact with our children by observing the wonderful staff each day. Each successive room, Infant through Pre-school, provides new learnings and discoveries for our children and for us.

When we bring our children to Kidspace, it feels like bringing them to an extension of our own family, as we feel like our children are as loved and cared for as they are in our own home.

Laura and Bill D.
January 2003

Dear prospective parent,

As a parent of two children at Kidspace, I wanted to provide some information to prospective parents about the quality of care at Kidspace. To open, I am a researcher by profession, and thus spent some time looking into the factors related to quality childcare. My research on what constitutes good childcare enabled me to make my decision about the best childcare for my children. The major (statistical) findings regarding quality childcare are:

  • Quality childcare has experienced administrative staff with training in child development.
  • Quality childcare has a lower turnover rate of staff, and administrators who support staff via good pay, benefits, and other perks.
  • Quality childcare expects staff to obtain ongoing training in child development and to be trained in early childhood education. They also tend to have at least some college.
  • Primary care providers are well trained in child development for the age range for which they provide care e.g., their expectations are consistent with a particular developmental age; their activities are appropriate for the emotional/physical/social skills necessary for successful involvement in activities; and their philosophy for socialization (e.g., consequences, norms for behavior) of children takes into account the child’s perspective and understanding of the situation which varies by age.
  • Quality childcare has low child to staff ratios.
  • Quality childcare tends to be more expensive and typically seeks additional funding or support from grants, government subsidies, corporations, churches and/or other fund raising activities. Typically, tuition is not enough to support quality childcare.
  • Quality childcare in also typically accredited by professional childcare accreditation programs.

After reviewing the current research, I interviewed and visited several sites for childcare about two years ago and was very impressed with Kidspace. I immediately signed up on the waiting list.

On all of the factors above, Kidspace excels. Their commitment to excellent childcare is evident. Michelle and Fran together have over 22 years of experience in childcare and child development. Kid Space has a very low turnover rate, which speaks to their ability to meet staff needs (for example Helen, the infant room teacher, has been at Kidspace for 10 years and Kathryn, in the Dino room, has been at Kidspace for 4 years-both of which are remarkable teachers). Staff receive monthly trainings in addition to the training expected for lead teachers (college degree and training in early childhood education). Kidspace receives additional financial support through parent participation and fund raising activities, which allows them to meet the financial needs of staff, as well as offer quality experiences and learning activities for the children enrolled in the program. Furthermore, Kidspace is accredited by NAEYC. Plus, although not a factor in the literature on quality childcare, they have an amazing food program!

As a mom, perhaps the most important factor when making my decision about childcare was the ability of primary caregivers to meet the developmental needs of my children in ways appropriate for their age and ability. I have been so completely satisfied with this element that I wanted to write a testimonial for the Kidspace web page. My main concern for my children’s childcare experience is that staff get to know my children and treat them in a manner that is caring and accepting.

Although there are numerous positive experiences I can recall, I will share a recent one. Recently, the fire alarm went off several times because of a problem in the wiring. I happened to be at Kidspace in the infant room. My three year old was very scared and wanted to stay with me in the infant room, which was fine. I tried taking her back to the Dino room for the music program that she loves, but she was too upset. After about 15 minuets, Kathryn, the lead teacher in the Dino room, excitedly came to my daughter and said they were ready to sing a particular song that my daughter loves, and did she want to join them-it was perfect. My daughter was distracted enough to forget why she was upset and joined the other kids for her favorite song. This interaction was perfectly age appropriate (distraction, focus on something positive, and succeed in rejoining the group), and gave my daughter the opportunity to move away from fear into having fun. The primary care providers at Kidspace have proven to be very caring and understanding, and at the same time have provided my children the opportunity to develop new skills and gain new confidences on a regular basis. In closing, both my research and experience has led me to recommend Kidspace as an excellent choice in childcare.

Monica O., Ph.D.
December  2002

PS-one other really nice characteristic is that there is a direct dial phone in the infant room so you can call and see how your baby is doing. Whenever I call, even if it’s a few times a day, they always reassure me that calling is perfectly fine, and to call whenever I need-in Helen’s words “that’s why we have a phone in the infant room.”