If you’ve decided to work full-time and hiring a stay-at-home nanny isn’t a realistic budget choice, the search for good day care for your kids becomes a looming task. The first problem is, where the heck do you find these places?
We’ve got a list for you of all the locations in Northcenter and Lincoln Square. But first, some background.
The State of Illinois breaks day care centers into two categories: Day Care Centers and Group Day Care Homes. “Home day care” is just that, it’s run out of someone’s home but can only care for up to 16 children. Home day care centers have somewhat less stringent licensing standards – but are also less expensive to operate and are more likely to lower fees. This reporter/parent’s experience is also that home day care centers can be a real hit or miss, and depend a great deal on the owner/caregiver’s personality.
The second category, Day Care Centers, is also licensed by the City of Chicago. They are more expensive to operate, and tend to be larger with many more kids and classrooms. But they also have more requirements for the operators, like more education requirements. As with home day care, day care centers depend a lot on the personalities of the teachers, but because they’re larger, the number of caregivers tends to even things out.
Within those categories, there are separate licenses for under two and 2-6 years old. Within those groups, there are different standards for infants (6 weeks to 14 months), toddlers (15-23 months), and for each of the ages two, three, four and five. Not every center cares for all groups because of the differing standards, so be sure to ask the center up front.
Center Square Journal obtained a list of licensed day care centers from the City of Chicago and added contact information for sites in the Center Square area. There are 28 centers in wards 33, 40 and 47, but only 14 locations care for kids under two. This is where you’ll really begin to see the competition. Some centers, like Concordia Place and Ravenswood Community Day Care, have long waiting lists – longer than two years – for their two and under classrooms.
So with long waiting lists, how do you get your kid in? Luck and registering as soon as possible. Some centers require the child to be born first; some allow you to register as soon as you’re pregnant. It can never be too soon.
And where do you find a list of these places? Right here, in Center Square Journal. We’ve put together a list of all the centers in the Center Square area and added the websites and phone numbers we could find. Got any feed back on some of the places? Please put it in the comments!
Looking for a place further south or east? Check out our article on day care centers in Roscoe View Journal.