When I gave birth to my first daughter 4 years ago, I was overwhelmed to say the least. Between breastfeeding, sleepless nights, taking care of a newborn, and dealing with my own postpartum issues, my plate was full. But on top of all of that, I had to figure out child care so I could return to work 6 weeks later. It turns out my experience is not uncommon. Many women spend their entire maternity leave—if they are lucky enough to get one—in search of the perfect daycare or preschool.
This frustrating process is what led me to create Winnie, a platform that connects parents with licensed daycares and preschools. I knew that there had to be a better solution to the problem of finding child care and helping parents understand all their options was the first step. Winnie, which now has over 2 million parents in its online community, offers detailed insights to parents, such as daycare licensing status, prices, parent reviews, photos, and more. We recently launched our comprehensive database of daycares and preschools throughout Orlando. Parents can see all providers on a map and filter by things like availability, age, and hours of care as well as share their experiences and read reviews from other local parents. Ultimately the goal of Winnie is to make it easier for parents seeking child care to find a great option that meets their needs and budget.
One of the coolest and most useful parts of Winnie’s platform is that it lists hard-to-find in-home daycares as well as larger centers, and all programs are licensed, inspected and regulated by the state. In-home providers traditionally have not been listed online so parents only really found out about them through word of mouth. Winnie works directly with these providers to learn when they have open spaces and make that information available to parents. Although Winnie didn’t exist when my first daughter was a baby, I was able to use it more recently to find my daughter’s preschool as well as an infant program for my younger daughter.
Choosing a daycare or preschool for your child is such an important decision but the process of finding one is time-consuming and extremely frustrating. I created Winnie to make this process easier for parents. Parents can use Winnie’s free mobile app or website to see all of the Florida licensed child care providers and compare prices. Based on the data Winnie has collected from providers, the average cost of child care in the state of Florida is $755/month, but pricing is highly dependent on the age of your child, location of the program, number of hours you need care, and how much flexibility you need in that care.
Sara Mauskopf is the co-founder and CEO of Winnie, a website and mobile app that helps parents discover daycares, preschools, and more. Winnie is used by over 2 million parents across the United States and is available via desktop, iOS or Android. Sara is also the mom of two young daughters, Bryn (4) and Aubrey (1) and in her rare spare time she enjoys eating, sleeping, and showering.