Parenting Start Up Just Made Your Search for the Perfect Daycare or Preschool A Lot Easier!
Finding the right preschool or daycare can be a daunting task. But now, a new app makes it easier for parents to search for the best daycares and preschools in their neighborhood.
San Francisco-based startup, Winnie, has launched the first of its kind – a free, comprehensive, and easily searchable directory of over 5,000 daycares and preschools in the bay area. Listings on winnie.com/childcare include detailed descriptions, photos, tuition, availability data and reviews from parents whose children have attended the daycare or preschool.
"At Winnie, we feel strongly that the lives of both children and parents are enriched when they have access to quality childcare and early education opportunities," said Anne K. Halsall, co-founder and CPO of Winnie. "We want everyone to be able to find this information. That's why we're making it accessible and free to use."
Founded in 2016 by tech veterans Sara Mauskopf and Anne K. Halsall to make parents’ lives easier through technology, its new child care search app for iOS, Android, and web lets parents discover all the child care options available to them, including difficult to discover in-home providers who may not have an online presence.
In fact, Halsall’s first-hand experience in searching for preschools for her own child inspired the idea for the app.
“I really had no idea where to begin. Here I was in Berkeley, this big, vibrant city,” said Anne. “I knew there had to be tons of great preschools all around me, but I just couldn’t find them.” Google was no help, as it only brought up the big, popular schools that had long waitlists. In the end, she learned of a great school in her neighborhood from a local nanny. “If I hadn’t met her at the park that day, I never would have heard of it.”
Tech-savvy providers who maintain an online presence charge almost twice as much as the ones who don't. They are also more likely to be fully enrolled and have long wait lists," explained Winnie co-founder and CEO Sara Mauskopf. "The typical millennial parent is searching Google to find daycares, and finding only the most expensive ones. This creates the false impression that there is less child care than there really is, and it's more expensive than it needs to be."
So What Does This Mean For You?
One of the reasons Winnie’s new daycare and preschool search is so great is that it is more than just a listing of all the providers — it’s a powerful, fully interactive search tool. Parents can use keywords like “montessori” or “bilingual” to find the programs that match exactly what they’re looking for.
Working parents can filter searches to see daycares and preschools than offer 8 hour days! The interactive map that allows parents to zoom to a very specific neighborhood and find providers close to their home or work – even smaller home-based daycares that are difficult to locate through a typical Google search.
Also, Winnie provides links to the licensing database on a daycare’s Winnie page under the “Contact Information” section. Parents can click on the license number to have access to a full report from the California Department of Social Services – including complaints filed against the provider (which is public information).
Parents can even subscribe to notification updates if a complaint gets filed or the provider’s licensing status changes.
Currently, Winnie’s child care search app is available in the San Francisco, San Mateo, Alameda, Contra Costa, and Santa Clara counties, but the company hopes to expand to other regions in the near future.