The Daycare Movement: Why Your Baby Needs to Start Building His Resume

What, you're not teaching your toddler Mandarin?

It started only a few decades ago with college, the frantic résumé-fluffing and interview-coaching to score a spot in the elite ranks of academic life. Then the prestige filtered down to preschool, and we were enrolling our three-year-olds in extra Chinese and dance classes to ensure them acceptance into prime pre-kindergarten programs. Now we’ve gone a step further, with prenatal mommies scrawling their signatures on waiting lists for newborn daycare.

But with the recent opening of Right Steps in Rittenhouse—a boutique preschool and child-care center that already has two locations in Bucks—and the much-heralded ribbon-cutting at Center City’s Nest—a mini-city for tots and their well-heeled parents that, while it doesn’t offer daycare, boasts a boutique, salon, party room and photo studio, along with a full roster of kiddie classes—why bother with the baby steps? You can launch straight into college-app résumé-padding activities like Nest’s “movement” classes, during which your six-month-old will learn how to begin “exploring its body.” Yes, we are perched on the horizon of the Daycare Movement, which threatens to make our babies smarter and more well-rounded than we are. It begs the question: Is it ever too early to start teaching your kid yoga?

If you ask John and Regina Reydler, owners of Right Steps, the answer is no. Which is why they provide yoga and gym classes for infants, along with ballet and Spanish dance classes for two-year-olds, as well as a ballroom class taught by the same dance teacher who worked with J.Lo for her role in Shall We Dance? (Still content with your piddly local ballet studio? We didn’t think so.)

“Parents are getting smarter, and so are kids. Regular babysitting is not enough anymore,” says John. “And everything matters.” Long gone are the days of Ziploc baggies of Cheerios (organic menus at Right Steps are designed by the same nutritionist who works with the Eagles and 76ers) and babies watching Sesame Street from their playpens (Nest offers a members-only 3,000-square-foot indoor play area).

We feel cheated. How much smarter would we be if we’d had classes to refine our gross motor skills? (Nest offers a 12-week semester of enrichment classes for $432.) Would we be accomplished yogis if we’d started downward-dogging when we were three months old?
There’s no pressure, of course. You can still send your kids to the Y. But good luck getting them into a decent kindergarten.