One of the benefits of many resorts are the childcare programs. When we went to Mexico this past winter, I chose not to send our children, wanting to be with them as they froclicked at the beach and in the pool. I also was hesitant about the quality of the care, their safety and their comfort with a new group of people. However, when Smugglers' Notch Resort offered to treat my kids to time at their camp, I figured we would give it a try. I also kept my expectations low, assuming that I would get a phone call 5 minutes after I dropped my sons off, asking me to pick them up. Instead, they barely wanted to leave, choosing instead to keep playing trains!
Smugglers has two programs for young children. The youngest, under age 3, can go to Treasures, their day care center. Older children take part in a huge range of camp and activities. In that sense, it is possible to consider Smugglers' a change of pace from paying for camp at home. (Camp and day care are included in one package price. However, you can also pay another price that doesn't include the camp option. Finally, you can send kids to the daycare center on an hourly basis.)
While my 4 year old could have gone to camp, he wanted to stay with his two year old brother instead at the Treasures Child Care Center. Smugglers was happy to accommodate that request.
I couldn't have been more impressed, nor my mother who is an elementary school teacher. The facility itself is spectacular, full of color and light. Each room is set up for a different age child, from infants to 3. The rooms have books and interactive toys with huge windows facing the mountain. In fact, in the winter, young children can learn to ski right on the edge of the daycare center and parents can ski up to pick up their children! The facility includes a nice playground, as well as access to the Smugglers' grounds.
The staff couldn't have been more wonderful. In fact I am sure that the sweetness of my children's counselors made them excited to return for a second day, even when we gave them the choice to be with us. The counselors clearly took the time to get to know my kids, to welcome them and make them feel safe. And my kids were so happy to just play. I was thrilled that their morning activities included a nature "hike" and a painting project that I wouldn't have done in our immaculate condo!The facility offers lunch and tries to keep it healthy, At the height of the produce season, they are even part of a CSA that provides food from the Valley Dream Farm. On the first day my boys had mac and cheese, brocolli and apples. Other options include English muffin pizzas, pasta and meatballs and summer salads. I also appreciated that the Food Service manager, Peter Brown, eliminated all trash from the food program, teaching kids to compost instead! (You can read more about that here.)
Finally, this place felt so safe. As soon as you enter, children are giving name tags, and I received a card that I needed to pick my kids up. They asked detailed questions that included addressing allergies. On our second day, the counselors began by asking, "Has anything changed since yesterday." And, as we left, each child got a written report about their time at the Center! All these details created an atmosphere that encouraged parents and children to smile.
For more about the Treasures Center click here.
For more about camp for older children, click here.