If you are a first time parent or relocating your family to Bozeman you may be shocked when you start looking for local daycare providers.
Did you recently find out you are expecting or are you relocating with children to Bozeman? DO NOT WAIT, START LOOKING THIS SECOND. Daycare providers may have waitlist times of 1+ year! I was told it would be 6+ months before I could get part-time care through a daycare provider.
How To Find A Daycare In Bozeman?
- Childcare Connections - A complete game-changer for me. Daycare providers inform Childcare Connections when they have vacancies. If you complete your wants and needs form they will provide you a list of providers who match your criteria.
- Friend referrals
- Facebook Groups - You have to request to join, but they often post updates on incidents within care providers, vacancies, etc.
How Much Does Childcare Cost In Bozeman?
This depends on the type of care you are looking for. Do you want a small in-home daycare? Are you looking for Montessori? Do you want a large care provider? Are you looking for a nanny? Daycare providers (excluding nanny's) range in cost from $700 to $2,000 a month. The Montessori care providers are often a premium. Nanny's range in price from $10 - $25 per hour.
Part-time childcare is often at a slight premium. When I was looking for childcare I was told part-time care started around $500 per month.
When Can Your Child Start Daycare?
The minimum age for daycare providers is 6 weeks
What To Do If You Cannot Find Childcare?
Personally, I went to as many childcare providers as I could locate that fit my needs to get my spot reserved on the list. Reserving your space normally costs money, however, some in-home providers do not charge a waitlist fee. Many daycare providers charge around $50 to reserve your spot.
When Is The Daycare Closed?
Some care centers take off for national holidays and then take a specific number of vacation days a year. This can equate to 6 weeks or MORE a year of NO childcare.
Are Vaccinations Required?
Registered Daycares - require kiddos to be vaccinated.
Drop-in Daycares - are not regulated by the State of Montana. They may feel safe but they do not have to follow the same guidelines as full-time care centers.
Pros & Cons: In-Home Facilities VS. Child Care Centers
In-Home Care Facilities
Pros - Maximum of 6 children to 1 care provider. No more than 3 children under the age of 2 at any given time. Fewer children mean less exposure to germs and more individual attention with a family-like atmosphere. They have one adult which they can form a close bond to and can personally assess your child on a day to day basis.
Cons - There is only ONE care provider. If the provider has an emergency or becomes ill you have no care for your child.
Child Care Centers:
Pros - School like atmosphere. Children have to learn to be around many other kids and personalities from a VERY young age. Large facilities may have a more structured atmosphere and curriculum. Faculty is also monitored by other faculty.
Cons - Many care providers at one time. There might be some turnover with care providers which reduces the bond the child may have. An increased number of kids may reduce the amount of individual supervision a child has. Exposure to many more germs.
QUESTIONS TO ASK THE CHILDCARE CENTER / DAYCARE:
- What days are the childcare/daycare closed during the year?
- What is provided in the tuition fee?
- Is there a waitlist fee? Is the waitlist fee refundable?
- What items are the responsibility of the parent to bring for their child?
- What is provided by the child care center? (food, milk, etc.) Do they follow a State lunch program?
- Are there late fees if you pick your child up late?
- What is the experience of the staff? What is the staff turnover?
- What is the policy if you decide to change from full-time to part-time at a certain point in the year?
- What are the daycare hours? Can the hours change?
- How much time do they get to spend outside? Do they get to go on walks?
- What is the protocol for food or milk sensitivities?
- How much TV is watched?
- How close is the daycare facility to your house or work?
- What is the sick policy?
- What is the policy if your kid bites? (THIS HAPPENS MORE THAN YOU THINK)
- How long does the care facility plan to operate? (IMPORTANT FOR IN-HOME CARE FACILITY)