Is Bright Horizons Daycare Worth It? (Review)

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So you’re interested in enrolling your child in the best daycare, but you haven’t yet decided on a facility.

Researching multiple options can be time-consuming, overwhelming, and confusing, which is why we’re here to help.

If you’ve noticed a Bright Horizons daycare location (or two!) near you, you might be wondering:

Is Bright Horizons daycare worth it? Here’s a full review.

Bright Horizons has a top-notch curriculum and gets high marks for kind and caring staff. Like most daycares, it can be on the expensive side depending on where you live, and your mileage will vary with the staff and management at each locations. But in general, Bright Horizons gets tons of wonderful reviews and has even won major awards for its high-quality service.

Let’s take a closer look at the curriculum, day-to-day, pros, cons, and more!

What is Bright Horizons Daycare?

Bright Horizons, founded in 1986, is a child care center with over a thousand global locations and 32,000 employees.

Their ratings range between 3.5 and 4 stars from sites such as Facebook (parent reviews), Yelp (parent reviews), Indeed (employee reviews), and Glassdoor (employee reviews).

Bright Horizons is led by an extensive group of professionals. Stephen Kramer serves as their Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Boland is their Chief Financial Officer, and Mary Lou Burke Afonso is their Chief Operations Officer for North America Center Operations. They also have a ten-person board of directors.

Every daycare is licensed with the state in which it resides. All facilities are licensed with no exceptions.

Founder of Bright Spaces, A Nonprofit for Homeless Children and Families

This facility created Bright Spaces, a signature nonprofit program that focuses on improving the quality of life for homeless shelters and other agencies for infants, children, teenagers, and families. They provide safe, enriching spaces to bring normalcy and support for those in crisis.

Bright Horizons Awards and Recognitions

Here are some notable awards, recognitions, and other achievements for Bright Horizons:

  • The Human Rights Campaign gave them a perfect 100% score for the Corporate Quality Index (this is a national benchmarking survey intended to report on workplace equality and practices for LGBTQ+ people).
  • Fortune listed them in their Top 100 Best Workplaces for Diversity.
  • Training Magazine ranked them in their Top 125 Training Organizations. This magazine recognizes organizations that excel in training and development for employees.
  • The Boston Globe listed them as one of the Top Places to Work in 2018.

Bright Horizons Teaching Philosophy Explained

Bright Horizons was founded to make childcare more accessible for working parents and employers alike while providing children with the highest quality of care and education.

They strongly believe in research-based care, education, and environments.

Specifically, these are the philosophies of Bright Horizons for early childhood development. If you would like into more depth or the reasoning behind these philosophies, check out this page on their website.

The Main Philosophies:

  1. Childhood development milestones follow predictable sequences.
  2. Every child’s development is unique and should not be compared to other children.
  3. A child’s environment is essential; it should be clean, calm, clutter-free, colorful, beautiful, and safe.
  4. The adult’s job is to offer challenges in a no-pressure setting by modeling the skill, asking questions, and adapting learning materials.
  5. Children should be allowed to independently problem-solve whenever possible.
  6. Children should be offered choices throughout the day to build their decision-making skills, boost their confidence, and give them some autonomy over their bodies and how their day goes.

For Infant Care:

  • Each baby is paired up with a primary adult for lots of one-on-one care.
  • Each baby has a personalized care plan intended to support individual needs, such as schedules, routines, nutritional guidelines, and other conditions or requests.
  • The facility is thoughtfully designed with safe, soft, sensory-rich spaces that encourage babies to move, roll over, pull up, crawl, and eventually walk.
  • They implement practices that meet or exceed all safety, security, and cleanliness requirements for local, state, federal, and National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) guidelines.

For Toddler Care and Toddler Education:

  • Each child is taught language skills, social skills, and independence.
  • Bright Horizons focuses on decision-making, growth, and autonomy for each child.
  • The learning centers encourage math, art, science, outdoor learning, and exploration, language, reading skills, and fine motor skills.
  • Educators believe in and practice a relaxed environment to allow each child to feel secure, safe, and able to work independently whenever possible.
  • They implement practices that meet or exceed all safety, security, and cleanliness requirements for local, state, federal, and National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) guidelines.

For Preschooler Care and Education:

  • Independence is encouraged and supported. There are lots of daily teacher-directed small group activities that offer up opportunities to explore, investigate, and discover.
  • Each caregiver adapts their teaching approaches to each individual and incorporates each child’s interests, strengths, and personal needs.
  • The curriculum is centered around confidence-building activities that are intended to make the children make choices, think critically, and solve problems.
  • STEM learning is utilized to encourage helpful future-forward skills.
  • They implement practices that meet or exceed all safety, security, and cleanliness requirements for local, state, federal, and National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) guidelines.

For Kindergarten Preparation:

  • Educators encourage children to reach academic and developmental milestones.
  • Bright Horizons uses creative, hands-on, project-based learning that keeps the children engaged, active, and feeling involved in the activities.
  • Educators teach the children mathematical reasoning, literacy, and scientific investigation.
  • They also help children with multiple and diverse learning activities that help children grow in various developmental areas.
  • Positive self-image, confidence, teamwork, and social skills are a large part of the focus.
  • They implement practices that meet or exceed all safety, security, and cleanliness requirements for local, state, federal, and National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) guidelines.

Health and Wellness Philosophy

Bright Horizons has partnered with Dr. Kristen Moffitt of Boston’s Children’s Hospital to create accurate, up-to-date safety protocols for all of their facilities to implement and strictly follow. Some of these daily practices include:

  • Specific, consistent methods for disinfecting the facilities
  • Daily health screenings
  • Social distancing
  • Regular, daily cleaning of the spaces

Of course, Bright Horizons follows all standard procedures recommended by the CDC, state mandates, and local laws. They aim to go above and beyond what is expected of them, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bright Horizons Day To Day Procedures/Typical Day

Here is the official Bright Horizons Welcome Packet that includes its standard procedures, beliefs, and daily routines.

That guide is over forty pages long though, so here is a quick synopsis to help you out.

Drop Off and Pick Up

Parents are responsible for physically checking in and out of the center every day.

This is to ensure constant supervision and full safety for the child. Caregivers routinely do roll calls, headcounts, and transition track sheets throughout the day for optimal safety.

If you want someone else to pick up your child, they must be on the Child Release Form, and they must show a photo ID. Bright Horizons will refuse dismissal to people who appear to be dangerous or unfit and instead call the parents.


Daily experience sheets and journals are used to keep parents and teachers involved, communicating, and informed about the child’s experiences.

Notice boards are present throughout the facilities. These contain community news, upcoming events, daily practices, staff changes, closing dates, visitors, and more.

Email is also used by the teachers and staff to communicate with parents and guardians.

Meals and Nutrition

Babies will eat according to their individual home schedules.

Parents will need to supply infants with fresh formula or breastmilk every day. Unless prohibited by local or state law, the bottles will need to be prepared at home and taken to the center ready to feed every day.

All leftover contents of heated bottles are discarded after one hour unless the child is still eating. All bottles are sent home at the end of the day for cleaning and refills.

Snacks are provided for older infants and children. Most infant snacks consist of crackers, fruit, and teething biscuits.

Nursing mothers are allowed to visit throughout the day to breastfeed their babies.

(Learn more about provided food at daycare.)

Teacher to Child Ratio

At some locations, believe it or not, there is a 1:1 ratio for infants! They are given an assigned primary caregiver with whom they can create a bond.

It’s more common, though, for the ratio to be about 1:4 in most infant classrooms. Toddler rooms typically see ratios around 1:5 or 1:6.

Staff are certified in Pediatric CPR and Pediatric First Aid and are present at all times.

You will have to contact your local Bright Horizons center to see the teacher-to-child ratio for your area.

Bright Horizons Tuition Examples

Tuition widely varies from state to state and center to center.

Contact your local Bright Horizons center for an accurate ballpark of what you can expect to pay.

In New York City, tuition is approximately $40,000 per year.

In Pheonix, Arizona:

  • Preschool is $215 for five full-time days, $161 for part-time three days, and $114 for part-time two days.
  • Two’s / Transition is $246 for five full-time days, $184 for part-time 3 days, $131 for part-time 2 days.
  • Toddler is $263 for five full-time days, $198 for part-time 3 days, $140 for part-time 2 days.
  • Infant is $274 for five full-time days, $205 for part-time 3 days, $145 for part-time 2 days.

In Seattle, Washington, prices are about $2,000 per month.

In Boston, Massachusetts, tuition ranges from $1,279 to $3,125 per month.

As you can see, there’s a huge difference depending on where you live, how old your child is, and how much childcare you need.

Call up or visit your local Bright Horizons and they’ll be happy to give you more up to date pricing.

What Real Parents Are Saying About Bright Horizons Schools

Here are real Bright Horizons reviews, submitted by both parents and care providers.


Here are some common compliments with Bright Horizons:

  • Friendly, welcoming staff
  • Bright and clean facilities
  • Good curriculum, happy children

Corrine Prazak says:

“We switched to Bright Horizons Daycare in December and have loved every moment of it. just wish I had done it a lot sooner!

The staff is fantastic, the environment is so welcoming, they do creative crafts, their snacks are great, it’s a wonderful place to be!!

I would recommend Bright Horizons to anyone who is looking for childcare, you won’t go wrong choosing this daycare for your little ones! My heart is at ease each and every day I drop off my 3-year-old twins.”

Melissa B. of Financial District, NY says:

“I am not a yelper, but when your only child goes to day care for the first time and it’s beyond fabulous, I had to share. I was a nervous wreck, but even after my intake meeting with my daughters teacher, I started to breathe. I have never experienced such professionalism, Love and understanding like this.

The notes everyday and pictures just make me so happy and set my mind at ease. She has even sent me emails mid morning to let me know that my daughter is doing great! My daughter has grown leaps and bounds. The curriculum is outrageous.”

A current anonymous employee at Bright Horizons said this on Glassdoor:

“I have been working in BH for 1.5 years, and I have to admit that this is one of the best places to work in! From VPs to directors to managers-everyone is so supportive of my situation. No one forces anything upon me. It is considered to be a family. I would highly recommend others to join this.


Here are some common complaints with Bright Horizons:

  • High staff turnover
  • Incompetence (unchanged diapers, lack of supervision, too much TV time, poor communication with parents).

Jamie-Lee Moretta says:

“My 1-year-old daughter constantly came home with poop leftover in her bum after they ‘changed her’ poopy diaper, so bad that she developed a rash so bad that it started to bleed.

“The last major incident before I took my kids out was when they told me my son had fallen down “2” of the little steps going down from the roof (their play area.) My son woke up the next day with 2 black eyes, bruises covering every side of his head and bruises on his body. I took him to the doctor immediately and reported the daycare to child services. It was clear he fell down both flights of stairs and they tried covering their butts by saying only 2 stairs. My son was 3 at the time.”

(Diaper rash is a problem at most daycares — here’s why.)

Akane O. of Paoli, PA says:

“Like the other reviewer, our 6mo old son came home without food as well. They are very understaffed; mornings are always a chaos & violates the state mandated student: teacher ratio all the time. I went to pick him up one day, he was screaming, diaper wet. The two teachers chose to ignore him instead of taking a second to address his needs. We never went back.”

Wrapping Up

Bright Horizons has 1,100 locations across the globe, with each facility offering different services, rates, and childhood educators. It is difficult to know how your local center operates without giving them a call or visiting.

With that said, this daycare has above-average reviews, some impressive awards, and a thoughtful curriculum.

At the very least, Bright Horizons should be on your daycare shortlist — it’s well worth a visit!

For more, check out:

Hope this helps!