One of the toughest decisions a new parent has to eventually make is, who's going to take care of my kid when I have to go back to work? And unless you have the luxury of being a stay at home parent (yes, I consider it a luxe to be able to afford to raise your own kid), at some point in time, you're going to research childcare, be it a nanny, daycare, preschool or some other gathering of kids and caretakers.
I did a ton of research (that overlapped with my quest for the best preschools in west LA) and eventually stumbled upon a French immersion daycare in Santa Monica that was owned and operated by a friend-of-a-French-friend. I made an appointment to visit and never looked back.
I can't tell you how much Lulu loves her daycare, Petit a Petit. I feel the same and decided to share my Yelp review with you, in hopes that it might help you learn a thing or two about daycare and more importantly, learn about Petit a Petit:
After researching plenty of daycare and nanny options for our daughter, LMPP, we were thrilled to find Petit a Petit via friends who knew the proprietor, Manuela de Sousa.
Upon meeting the two caretakers, Manuela and Gabrielle, I instantly knew that Petit a Petit was the perfect daycare for our daughter - it was structured, yet not stuffy (something most people expect when you mention French-immersion-anything). The atmosphere is friendly, caring and familial.
Even though I didn't know either caretaker personally, I felt as though I was leaving LMPP with "friends" and frankly, didn't worry much at all from the start. They made the home to daycare transition easy for me, explaining weekly how LMPP might react to my leaving. And sooner than I thought, the routine of daycare was normalized for her.
LMPP has thrived at Petit a Petit. She is half French, with a native French-speaking father and although LMPP only spends two days a week at daycare, her language speaking abilities have exploded. The French immersion experience has been a positively awesome experience for her.
Since the number of children to caretakers is also low, LMPP gets a lot of attention and often when I drop her off, I get barely a wave goodbye (she's so happy to be at the daycare)! LMPP knows that she will spend all day with friends playing, singing, and learning French and often talks about "school" and her "classmates" before we arrive.
The French immersion daycare is operated out of a townhouse in Santa Monica close to several freeways for work commuters. For quick drop offs in the morning, we temporarily park in the alley with our hazard lights on and for pick-ups, we park in the alley parking lot a few doors down.
Aside from the terrific food, activities, and company, the best thing about Petit a Petit is their small enrollment size. Because the group is so small, Manuela and Gabrielle really get to know each kid. And they always take the time to tell me how LMPP did that day and fill me in on things parents want to know (Did she poop today? How was her appetite? Did she do anything special? How long did she sleep for? Any accidents?).
And to further explain Manuela and Gabrielle's dedication to our daughter's wellness and progress in hitting milestones, we potty trained LMPP at 20 months. She wears underwear only and although she has had a few accidents here and there, both Manuela and Gabrielle are super patient with her and their eagerness to be consistent with LMPP's underwear at school, allows for her to be accident-free at home and elsewhere, and we REALLY appreciate that!
I've had the pleasure of referring friends to the facility and now my architect friends have their son attending Petit a Petit too.
Good luck getting a spot should one open up!
We were lucky to stumble upon such an amazing program. While it is not a school, I know that Lulu has learned a lot since enrolling. She is thriving at Petit a Petit and we can't thank Manuela and Gabrielle enough for loving her, the way we do.