From the Forum – Bright Horizons – reviews/experiences? and House of Falafel

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Bright Horizons – reviews/experiences?

“Hello. We’re about to move from abroad to Washington, with a very new baby whom we’d like to get on a daycare center waiting list. But from afar, it’s hard to discern the quality of each one.
Does anyone have experience with any of the following:
Bright Horizons L Street
Bright Horizons George Washington University
Bright Horizons IMF
Finding Dreams in Children

If I’m missing an obvious source of reviews, please could you kindly point me in the right direction?
Thank you!”

221 Upshur Street, NW

House of Falafel (Petworth):

“Anyone know if this place is still open? Or did they drastically reduce hours? I’ve been by there a few times recently and it’s been closed. Love this addition to the neighborhood – quality food for a great price. Hope it’s still open!”

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21 Comment

  • There was discussion on the Petworth Parents listserv back in March that the owner of House of Falafel had indicated he would have to close if business didn’t pick up. Haven’t heard anything since then.

    On Bright Horizons, our son attends another Bright Horizon location than the ones you asked about, but there are likely a lot of similarities because it’s a fairly rigid corporate childcare center. There are positives and negatives that we’ve experienced. Negatives were particularly experienced in the infant room. The communication wasn’t great and they somehow always failed to let us know when there were issues. For instance, they don’t mix formula if your child is hungrier than usual, but no one ever told us that until we asked why none of the formula we’d brought in was being used. Even more of an issue, for infants they allow them to sleep on demand, which I liked, but they needed to have “sight and sound” lines to the infants while sleeping. So despite the fact that they had a semi-separated (half-wall) room where the cribs were kept, they would pull the cribs out into the middle of the loud playroom area for babies to nap, which is obviously not conducive to napping. The toddler room (12 months/walking) is much better from our perspective. They have a schedule that all kids are on, with a single nap in the middle of the day.
    On the whole I haven’t been particularly happy with our experience at Bright Horizons, but they’re not such a bad option.

    • I don’t work with Child Care in DC but I do in Maryland and that “sight and sound” policy is probably based on a state or DC regulation. I’m not a fan of Bright Horizons for a lot of reasons–primarily how they pay and treat their employees–but that particular one isn’t their fault.

  • might want to check out DC Urban Moms forum for day care reviews. There is a lot of cattiness and rumors, but it’s the internet so that’s not surprising. Visiting yourself will help a lot. And most places have long waitlists, so you may end up applying for a lot of them and being happy that you get in somewhere!

  • I really hope House of Falafel survives, but have also noticed the slim window of open hours.

    I am guessing they are not getting enough foot traffic during the day to warrant staying open. I think part of the problem is that the branding of this place is pretty bad. The menu has excellent food other than the falafel, with good portion sizes, and is a legit coffee house as well. Before when I was there, the owner expressed to me that he wants the place to be a neighborhood meeting spot much like a coffee house. But to anyone unaware, if you don’t want falafel, then why go here? Is there such thing as pro bono branding/marketing assistance?

  • You should get on several centers’ wait list. I don’t know any of the Bright Horizon centers myself though.
    The home daycares in DC are very closely regulated and I would encourage you to look into them as well. There’s bound to be a few within walking distance of your residence, which is a great situation too. Some people on a neighborhood listserv (Petworth Parents) put a list together:

    If you know which neighborhood you’ll be living in, you should join any parents mailing list for it, and even for other close-by neighborhoods.

  • Not to drive traffic away from POP, but for the child care question you might try searching the forums on DC Urban Moms for prior reviews. A fresh posting there may get some responses as well. Take it all with a grain of salt : )

  • Just apply to every day care you can afford and cross your fingers; unless you work at one of those places, the waitlists are so long that you’re probably not going to have the chance to CHOOSE anyway.

  • I hope House of Falafel is still in business. I went when it first opened and the owner was really nice. The food was excellent as well. The owner runs – or at the time he ran – a food truck. He was planning to use the restaurant as prep space for the food truck and to open the restaurant for customers at the end of the day when the food truck hours were done. I recall him saying that he picked that location because of the rent. If he was further down Upshur, or somewhere on Georgia Ave, and operated that place full time, he would make a killing.

    • I had falafel from his truck once and I wasn’t impressed. It took a long time to get my order, and the falafel balls were lukewarm and not very crispy.

    • I can see why some people might complain about the current location, but given that it’s a new business, it’s would be very hard for him to find something more affordable further down Upshur and closer to Georgia. However, I’ve noticed they are no longer upon during lunchtime on the weekends like they used to be.

    • Probably didn’t help that the busiest day at House of Fallafel on the Saturday after a posting on the neighborhood listserv encouraged folks to go featured a shooting right outside the door at 2 in the afternoon.

    • I tried House of Falafel on opening day and is was horrible. My lamb gyro sandwich was wrapped in a cold tortilla with three pieces of cold lamb and a few pieces of chopped iceberg lettuce with no sauce. My two orders of fries, $8, consisted of about 15-20 fries total… very disappointed. The place doesn’t deserve to be open anymore.

    • I hope it makes it. I have only been once (because of the location) but my wife and I really enjoyed it. With the arrival of summer, I had hoped to return.

  • We send our toddler to the GW bright horizons. We are happy with the care and my hold is excited to go 90% of time. Which I think speaks well. I feel comfortable with the care she receives and she has developed very well since entering at around 14 months. The admin/coordination can be frustrating and the price is also on the high end. All in all happy with the care, which is the most important. Hope this helps.

  • I did not care for the Bright Horizons centers when we visited; I found them to be regimented and warehouse-like. I ended up going with a home daycare that we are absolutely in love with. But I would cast your net a little wider, because the odds of you getting into any Bright Horizons or corporate center are not good. Their waiting lists are a mile long, and even if you happen to work for the agency hosting the center it’s not likely you’ll just slide right in. DCUM is a good resource if you can comb through all the catty, weird stuff. Also get on your neighborhood’s listserv.

  • Just as an fyi – Bright Horizons IMF is only open to IMF and World Bank staff.

    • Omg, the WB/IMF daycare center that sends Glamour pics of your child by email daily with a description of their day is a Bright Horizon center?

      • What I really meant was professional camera, professional looking photos. I just googled “glamour shots” and it’s not at all what I meant. SORRY.

  • The question is whether bright horizons likes you. Without some sort of preference there is no way you are getting off the waiting list at any of these before your child turns two. Time to start thinking about nanny shares.

  • I definitely recommend Bright Start daycare at Georgia Ave. and Kennedy St., NW. Our daughter has been there for 15 months and we are very happy with their care. They also had a free summer program that our older daughter, at 5 years old, went to all summer last year. Very caring staff. There has been quite a bit of turnover in the past few months, but the new staff has been great as well. It’s expensive, but all day care in DC is expensive. Good luck.

  • Last time I visited House of Falafel, the owner stated that he would no longer be opened for lunch – not enough business to sustain it. He seemed very disappointed about it. Food was good, he and the counter person working were both extremely nice. Hope business picks up for him. It is a tough location though…a bit far afield from the foot traffic from both the Metro and Upshur St.

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