I went to a number of day care centers before I settled for the Kinder Schule in Mapo. For the first three months, my son only attended a twice a week, 2 hours program. This month, I have enrolled him for a three days, whole day program. Whole day program starts at 10 in the morning until 2:20 in the afternoon. The bus would pick him up at 9:20 am and would drop him off at 3:10 in the afternoon.
We started last Monday. Unfortunately, the school called me to inform that my son had a fever.
If I will be asked by a foreigner who has a toddler and who does not know how to speak Korean (like me!), I would recommend this school. The owner (Michelle) speaks very good English. A Korean teacher (Jen) also speaks very good English and they have an American teacher (Liza), as well. My son goes to her whenever he feels upset or lonely.
Kinder Schule is quite expensive. It’s rate is way above the regular daycare because it is a franchise. One month for one toddler is priced at 850,000-won. For those who are aware of the daycare rates around Seoul, this may sound irrationally expensive. In my case, I have no choice:-).
But more than having no choice, I have personally experienced good service from the management. The owner, Michelle, went out of her way to reach out and talk to me about my son’s progress. I call Jen even during weekends about any concern. I have seen how comfortably my son sits down on Liza’s lap. During the first days I left my son in the daycare to be on his own for two hours, I have seen how he automatically runs towards Liza for comfort. When he got used to being left in the daycare, he willingly reaches out his arms to be carried by his homeroom teacher. Sometimes, he forgot to kiss me good bye.
This week, when my son just stayed at home because of his throat infection (which is just viral – no antibiotics this time, thanks!), I got phone calls from his teachers to ask about his progress.
For a stay-at-home mom like me, it was also a struggle letting go of my son. We were together twenty-four hours a day. We started from me being with him in school, then me leaving him for two hours on his own. Now, I wouldn’t be eating lunch with him anymore for three times a week. The transition is good both for me and him:-).
For those foreigners who are trying to find a good day care for their toddlers, this is the only day care I could speak highly of around Mapo… for the simple reason that I can’t relate with other daycares because they don’t speak English (not one staff) and I don’t speak Korean.
For a better alternative? Diligently learn your Korean:-).