A Brighter Day – at Bright Horizons Center City
A Philadelphia family finds a daycare that feels like home at Bright Horizons Center City.
It’s been almost nine months since Eklovya Jain’s and Pranita Dhamdhere’s two-year-old daughter, Dhriti Jain, started attending daycare at Bright Horizons in Center City. “My husband and I both work from home so she was home with us for a while,” says mom, Pranita Dhamdhere. “Once she started walking early at 10 months we knew it wasn’t manageable to have her home with us.” The couple also knew that it was probably best for their daughter to have the opportunity to socialize with other babies and children.
Having just immigrated to the United States from India a mere three and a half years prior, the American daycare system was a completely new concept to the couple. “Back in India, none of the children in our families went to daycare,” says Eklovya Jain. “You have aunts, uncles, and grandparents either living together or living close by, so family takes care of the children.” Without the support of their families here, it was hard for the parents to consider dropping their daughter off at a place to be taken care of by strangers. “It was new for us,” continues Jain. “But we didn’t have our village of family and friends here to help us with our daughter, so we had to accept our reality.”
After several daycare visits to establishments within a reasonable distance from their city home, they came upon Bright Horizons Center City. “My first impression? I remember how bright it was,” says Dhamdhere, laughing at the irony. “So many places we toured were in basements of buildings that were very dull and dark. Bright Horizons is light and bright, and has such a positive energy that you feel as soon as you walk in the door. I knew right away it felt different from all the others.” From the first tour, with its colorful rooms and vibrant teachers, Bright Horizons seemed to be a place Dhamdhere could see her daughter coming to every day.
Katrina Bell, Center Director at Bright Horizons, immediately made a positive impression on the parents. “I had so many questions at the beginning of the process of enrolling Dhriti,” says Jain. “Katrina educated us on protocols and procedures. She explained everything so thoroughly and patiently. It really put us at ease.” Another thing that Katrina said that comforted the couple was that they could come to Bright Horizons at any time during the day to see their daughter. “It was difficult for us in the beginning to not see Dhriti all day,” says Dhamdhere. “So it helped to know we were welcome to come in and visit her. It gave us a lot of peace of mind as we were adjusting to daycare.” Nine months in, Bright Horizons continues to have open dialogue with the parents. “We’ve asked them questions about everything from child development to behavior and they are always happy to help,” says Jain. “They never make us feel like we are inconveniencing them. They want to help. We consider the teachers at Bright Horizons as a second family.”
Bright Horizons Center City serves children ages six weeks to six years. More than a daycare, Bright Horizons has programs with developmentally appropriate curriculum for infants, toddler, preschool and pre-K. “They have Dhriti on a routine each day,” says Dhamdhere. “That is so important at her young age.” There are both structured and unstructured times throughout the day for developmental play (outside play, too, when weather permits). “When we walk into Bright Horizons each morning, every teacher is so happy to see every child,” adds Jain. “The teachers are saying, ‘Good Morning’ and they are asking the kids if they want a hug. It just sets the right tone for the day—for us and for Dhriti.” Because that is something Jain and Dhamdhere have come to learn about American daycare centers like Bright Horizons, the children have to be happy and comfortable in the environment, but so do the parents. “Every day our confidence continues to build that she’s in a place where she’s loved,” says Dhamdhere. “And the way Bright Horizons has supported us as Dhriti’s parents proves that we couldn’t have picked a better place for her.”
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All of these locations are fully NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) accredited, one of the most comprehensive and prestigious accreditations in the field.