Chess At Daycare???

I used to think that the role of daycares was limited to offering your child a safe environment to learn and play while being surrounded by their peers and loving teachers. However, as I’ve looked around I’ve started to see that more and more daycares are trying to set themselves apart by providing unique offerings that provide a little something extra. It can be somewhat a matter of taste but I wanted to share some of the things that I’ve seen in my exploration so as to inform parents in their search for the right daycare.

Facetime with the Mayor

As a little kid my parents always told me I could be President of the United States one day. Whether that’s true (or whether I’d even want to be…) is another question but needless to say I was fascinated with government as a child. As such, I would have relished the chance to visit the mayor’s office and be able to stand at the rostrum at City Hall which is exactly what the kids do at one of the daycares in Somerville I’ve found (photos included).

The Center takes advantage of its close proximity to Somerville City Hall to bring the children there on occasion. The center director there believes that it’s important that children are involved in the community that surrounds them. That’s why on top of visiting City Hall the children also visit aged nuns at a retirement home for retired sisters and sing and put on shows for them. I think it’s really amazing that kids are getting this kind of community exposure and building the habits of helping others so early on!

Chess Anyone?

I can’t exactly remember the first time I played chess. I know I was probably around the age of kindergarten when I learned to play checkers and I can remember thinking the first time my brother tried to teach me chess that the rules seemed incredibly complicated. “How could anyone learn this?!”, I thought.

Well not at a daycare I found in Newton. At this particular center there is all sorts of regular programming- including ballroom dancing, Russian math class and- most surprisingly- chess class. Apparently the children start learning chess when they are toddlers. How does a toddler learn chess? Apparently quite readily. The teacher starts by teaching the children the different pieces and usually by the time the children are 4 or 5 they can play a game. It’s great that at such a young age, children are getting a such a great opportunity to develop the mental agility and critical thinking that chess engenders.

Music Class to the Max

Back in college when I worked with children I found that music was a surefire way to deal with any child. That probably explains why my earliest memories of nursery school involved all of singing. It’s something that a great many children respond to.

However, there is one daycare that I found that makes that concept the core of their care. They don’t just have music class, the whole day is structured around musical instruction. There are instruments for all ages and a variety of play stations focusing on different musical elements like percussion and harmony. Each month the center focuses on children’s music from different cultures as well and produces their own proprietary illustrated children’s book with music from that culture. So one month they might have Jamaican children’s songs and the next month they might have Turkish children’s songs. All the while having people come in to teach the children music from their cultural background.

Specialness is out there!

There are a great variety of daycares out there and choosing the right one for your child is the consequence of many factors. However, feel free to ask daycares about any unique offerings that they have and if you’re starting to think that all daycares look the same then have faith that there are many out there that can offer you that little something extra that you and your child deserve.

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