Infant Daycare in Tokyo with Summerhill Baby

By Mia Moranza
April 16, 2014
Families

Finding daycare options for babies in Tokyo can be a difficult task, especially if both parents don't work full-time and therefore don't qualify for the government-supported programs. But a new, flexible service offers professional childcare for infants aged three to 12 months. It's the perfect option for new parents who work part-time, or even for those who just want a bit of "me" time.

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Summerhill International School’s new program Summerhill Baby was created to provide a nurturing environment; a “room to bloom” for babies. Parents can drop off their little ones on a part-time, full-time or flexible “one day notice” system. The service is run by Monique Deguchi, owner and director of Summerhill, and managed by Gaelle Chatenet, herself a mother of a Summerhill student for the past three years. Throughout the years moms at Summerhill have been asking for a daycare service within the school so that they can leave their babies along with the older siblings. This, coupled with a general lack of infant daycare options in Tokyo, caused Monique to start this very unique daycare service.

Since it opened last year, the baby daycare has been steadily gaining recognition among the expat community, not least because of the one-to-two caregiver-to-child ratio, which ensures that each child receives all the attention and nurturing they need at this young age. To keep the environment pleasant and comfortable for the babies, there is a maximum of eight children allowed at any given time.

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Summerhill Baby offers a great deal of flexibility as well, which is particularly appealing to parents who juggle work with other commitments. Some parents choose to use the service every week on set days and times, while others book each week at a time according to their needs. As little as 24 hours notice is all that’s needed to make a booking, making it useful for one-time appointments as well. The daycare is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, with a minimum stay of two hours at a time.

The daycare has been totally designed with babies in mind. It is bright and beautiful, with a big open space where little ones can learn to start crawling, walking and discovering freely. The room is fully baby-proofed so that the children can enjoy the feeling of exploring safely under the guiding hands of the caregivers. In addition to this kind of free play and exploration, days at Summerhill Baby also feature more structured activities, such as singing, dancing, story reading and playing with puzzles, musical instruments or building blocks. On days when the weather permits, children who are old enough to sit up get to enjoy some sensory fun in the outdoor sandbox on the school premises.

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Thanks to the low child-to-caregiver ratio, the staff at Summerhill Baby can be quite accommodating for requests and special needs. For instance, they try to follow each child’s home schedule for naps and feedings so that the children will adapt more easily, and the routine established at home won’t be disturbed. New parents are asked to fill out a questionnaire to help caregivers understand the specific needs of each child, and each day caretakers keep a journal for each child that is shared with the parents so that they can read all about their child’s day.

Interested parents are invited to visit Summerhill Baby in person to meet the caregivers and see the facility. Upon signup, a one-time registration and insurance fee is required, after which the daycare charges an hourly rate. Discounts are also available for those who use the daycare on a full-time basis. Summerhill Baby asks that bookings be made atleast 24 hours in advance, but of course earlier notice is always better to ensure a spot on a busy day. Cancellations can be made free of charge up until noon of the day prior to a scheduled visit.

The Deets

Address: Summerhill International School, 2-13-8 Motoazabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Tel: 03-3453-0811

Open: Mon-Fri, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.