Daycares in Lebanon: Providing care or just another Business Venture?

Who is truly monitoring the numerous daycare centers (garderies) in Lebanon? What roles do the syndicates and Ministry of Health doing to protect our children?

As a full-time working mom – I was obliged to place both my children in daycare centers at very young ages as I could not place them with any family members. Both were placed in a well-known day care that was located exactly next to my office which was a true blessing. It is a clean location, with a very large number of students but equaled with the number of supervisors and teachers.

Now I am in need of finding a new day care that is closer to home – as now I work part-time from home and the rest in my child development classes located all around Beirut.  And this was the start of my adventure…

In one day I visited around 5 day care centers that are located within a 1 kilometer radius from each other. All I can describe my tour was shock and disappointment. Yes it is a very small sample – and does not reflect the whole system – but they exist and have enrolled children attending them – don’t these children count?

In general many of the centers were hesitant to allow me to tour the classes – which left me uneasy – “do you have something to hide?” I asked myself.

One very well-known day care bluntly told me that I cannot come without an appointment not even for a tour… after insisting with the other day cares they made calls to the classes “to prepare themselves”…

In general they were all dark – but all had outdoor garden spaces for playing outside. But what about the winter – while moms are at work their children will sit in poorly lit rooms? How will it affect their developing eye sights?

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Not one daycare I visited had any form of visible sanitizer or would give me a clear answer on how they clean their toys. We all know that babies and children get sick… but viruses are in the body earlier than the symptoms become visible (fever etc…) shouldn’t we take precautions at least?

Nutrition based menus? Shouldn’t this be a must for all nurseries?

So who is in charge of monitoring these daycares?

Even the 2 registered daycares said that they are part of the syndicate but this does not help or aid them in any way… neither curricula, content, cleanliness or anything else…

So what should a working mother do? Send her children to the nearest day care and just spend all day praying that all is going well. Accidents happen they can happen anywhere – even under a mother’s supervision but there is a responsibility to be upheld. A standard that is needed!

Not one daycare could assure me that all their monitors were trained in pediatric first aid – except the nursery nurse. But what if she was absent that day?

In 2012, due to the death of a 3 month old baby in a daycare center – we were promised a strong and strict regulation that will be installed… since that fateful day and as usual once the media hype died down our politicians, leaders and all other bodies swept the issue to the side as there are more “interesting” issues they need to follow-up.

As a mother all I can tell each and every daycare owner, politician and official… there is nothing more important to us than our children.

Opening a daycare should not be a lucrative business venture to enter… with the ever rising tuition fees more and more parents are being obliged to remove their children from one day care and placing them in less expensive ones. Some day cares are reaching monthly fees of 800$ if not more and the lowest are 300$ a month.

As mothers we need to unite and do something… I refuse to wait until I hear of a new incident to take action!

Send me your feedback! We need to take action!

 

 

 

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