Recent experience with Dwight Way UC daycare

We are currently have our baby in a nanny share, and are happy with the arrangement.  

However, we've been offered a spot at the Dwight Way UC childcare center starting this fall. (UC daycare generally accepts children once a year in the fall, with other openings only offered if a child drops out.)  We want to evaluate the option.  Does anyone have any recent experience at this location, or at UC childcare in general?  

Some background: They keep the same kids in a room together for the entire year instead of transitioning each child to a new room as they age.  My baby would be one of the older ones in the "class", nine months at the beginning of the year, with children ranging from 3-12 months. The teachers and students then all move to the next "class" together.  A pro of accepting this spot is that we would be able to get into one of the UC pre-schools later on.  However, we like the attention she gets with the nanny share.  The cost is approximately equivalent, although UC daycare offers more hours and is slightly cheaper.

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I sent my daughter to the Dwight Center at UCB ECEP for 2 years before moving up to an older toddler class at Clark Kerr. She started at 3.5 months and is now almost 3. Overall I'm very happy with my decision to send her there. The good and the bad:

If your slot is in IR2 with Maritza and Marta, I highly recommend them as teachers. They're very warm people, and are pro's with little ones. Maritza was like a second mom to my daughter.

Re staffing and attention: they have 2 credentialed teachers plus a TA per classroom, which is above state licensing standards.  In addition, UCB paid student assistants (SAs, not to be confused with TAs) do a lot of the grunt work (washing bottles etc) so that the teachers can focus on the kids. (However, students are *never* alone with babies in the room without a teacher.) I used to nurse my daughter at daycare every day, and had plenty of time to observe. The babies get lots of personal attention from the teachers and also the student assistants who help cuddle them, feed them and read to them. My daughter truly thrived there, and I think she's better off in terms of social skills etc compared to if she had been in nanny care.

You've probably noticed that the facility is spacious for the number of kids. Once they start walking, the infants are allowed to explore the larger toddler yard which connects to the infant yard. Transitioning to the toddler room is painless because they move up as a group. They also serve healthy, mostly organic food and milk.

We're also happy at Clark Kerr toddler center, and are looking forward to preschool at the Harold Jones center in the fall. It's a total relief not to be jockeying with preschool applications. Their policy on toilet training is to wait until the child and parents are ready.

The bad:

My only complaints about our experience at Dwight/ECEP: turnover, and the number of days off.  I think we had particularly bad luck (someone moved to another part of the state after inheriting a house, another person got injured, and there was a family emergency of some kind). We were lucky to have Martitza providing continuity -- she's technically a TA but is highly experienced. Staff stability has been great at Clark Kerr, and it's the same at Harold Jones preschool. They're closed for about 4 weeks out of the year, over winter and end of summer. As academic staff at UCB I have a lot of overlapping holidays, but end up needing to find 2 weeks of temporary nanny coverage every year, which is a pain.

Feel free to message me if you have any questions!

Both our kids have gone through the ECEP program at UCB. Our son will go to the preschool next academic year. The teachers at Dwight way that we had were wonderful. The teachers at Clark kerr toddler center and Harold Jones are equally wonderful. At least one of our most recent teachers at Dwight Way will watch your baby ( they are- one each - in each classroom). I highly recommend them. I have found our kids benefitted from the interaction with other kids. The ratios are high vs. other schools and the kids have been well attended to- no dearth of affection and they are bolder, learn more and more adaptable as a result. Both children have close bonds with the kids that they have journeyed with ( and us with several of the parents). Ecep uses student assistants as well and the kids love them. 

If you have any specific questions on facilities and staff let me know. Happy to help