The Search for Annabella’s New School

Yesterday we took grandpa to visit Annabella’s daycare, Little Angels. It’s a Spanish immersion daycare that worked well for her in the past. We had looked at and spoken to “ALL” daycares in Palo Alto (dozens), and found that this one suited her the best. It looks cozy for her long afternoon naps, and Katia, the Peruvian owner, is warm and nurturing. Unlike some other Spanish-immersion daycare owners, Katia also speaks good English. Since it’s situated on Waverley (the same street as Steve Jobs’ and Larry Page’s houses), it’s got bonus points for being on one of the most upscale, walkable tree-lined streets. It’s also close to our house and close to Jonathan’s Stratford school.  They like to call Annabella “mama”, and there were lots of hugs and kisses and healthy meals. The kids look great, and the parents are nice. Annabella also brings home cute artwork almost everyday.


However, we recently discovered that they let the kids watch cartoons daily (that’s a big NO NO here in my opinion.) Also,  ever since the owner went on maternity leave, the daycare doesn’t really feel the same. I love that Xiomara does Annabella’s hair almost everyday, and they’re tolerant of busy parents. Yet, Annabella hates school!!! It’s been a year, and she still cries so much every morning during drop-off. Every time we mention Katia school, she’d say ‘Annabella don’t go to Katia school. อะเบย่าไม่ไปเรียนคาเทีย’ฟ้าฝานไม่เอาคาเธีย

At times we thought perhaps it’s just our daughter’s nature, but deep down I wonder if it’s going to be different at a different school. Also, she’s a bit too old for daycare now (there’re 2 other kids older than her though.)

Grandpa thought that it’s too dark and not airy enough, and the teachers don’t look professional. He suggested that we look for a more expensive school. Actually, at $1,600/month, this one is among the most expensive “home daycares” in town already. Last year we were hesitant to send her to big schools because we imagined it’d be too cold for a one-year-old baby. Annabella is still our little princess who wants to be picked up and hugged a lot. So imagining her at JCC, where kids roam around, and have to switch classes in the afternoon with different sets of teachers, makes us think she’d be more at ease at a home daycare.

So we looked at The Learning Center again. We had been on the waiting list for 1.5 years already, and we’ve been waiting and calling. This time we’re lucky to get a space! But it’s in January. 🙁 Also, while TLC would have been perfect for Jonathan as they make volcanoes and play with dirt, I’m not sure if we have gender bias, but I don’t appreciate these aspects for Annabella as much.

Luckily, we found Au P’tit Monde French Preschool that’s just opened in September!

It’s a brand new branch with another more established branch in San Francisco. It’s got great reviews, and it’s FRENCH! We love everything French. Actually, per our request, the new faucet we bought from Restoration Hardware got the fancy French labels that says Chaud and Froid rather than Hot and Cold. 🙂 We just went to Provence, France, last year, and we’re planning another trip to France this Christmas. And of course I used to take a French class … Thinking that our little girl will attend a French preschool and learn more about the French culture, right here in the Silicon Valley, got us really excited.

So we checked out the school yesterday, and again today during the open house.

It’s wonderful. It’s bright and airy. It’s the most beautiful preschool (on a par with Google’s children centers). It’s new and clean. And it’s got educational toys that kids love.

Annabella’s face is brimmed with joy.

, and she couldn’t stop playing with the wooden doll house, the foam blocks, the dinosaurs, the pretend kitchen, the outdoor tricycles, and the balls (she says Annabella SHOOTS!)

After we left the open house, Annabella still talks about what she did at school.

Daddy also says “It’s exciting that Annabella is going to this school!” Also, the director and head teacher, Coralie, is wonderful. The days are semi-structured with a daily schedule. They also have a really neat art room, and kids help cook fun bakery or organic food twice a week. 😀 Sounds like a place I’d want to attend myself. :))

Most importantly, Annabella makes friends! I haven’t seen her play with kids her age that much (except when we went to Victoria), but here the kids talked and played with her. A really nice boy named Kawela (from Hawaii) introduced her to spiders, dinosaurs, etc., and a cute little girl, Simone, likes to talk to her. 😀

I think Jonathan will love picking up his sister as well.

(Another school I think Annabella will love is Casa Dei Bambini Montessori. It’s lovely and we can tell the director loves kids. But the new branch with available spots is too far (Menlo Park), they provide no lunch, and the school ends too early at 3:30.)

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