What is Dearest?
Dearest is an online platform that connects families with personalized early childhood classes and educational care providers. Based on your schedule and individual needs, Dearest helps you find the most suitable classes or educators for your child.
What is the difference between Dearest educators and tutors/other childcare providers?
All Dearest educators have a minimum Bachelor’s degree and proven experience in teaching and childcare. In addition to the rigorous vetting process, Dearest Educators are also trained to tailor each session based on your child’s learning needs and craft a report that will help you track his/her progress. We have an educational coordinator who monitors the development of each child to suggest the right content.
How do you select educators?
We have an extensive and rigorous screening process when recruiting our educators. Typical Dearest educators are certified teachers from top programs, Masters & PhD students studying education, STEM educators, and are passionate about teaching children. We have 6 layers of screening. Resume screening, scripted phone interview, in-person interview, in-person tests, reference check, and background check. Current acceptance rate is 3% out of the applications we have received.
How does it work - how do I choose a provider and book a session?
You have different options to book your child’s early learning experience through Dearest. If you choose to book in-home early childhood classes, all you need to do is select the preferred timing and take a quiz for us to plan a great class for your child. We will set up weekly classes with educators and activities that match your child’s needs. You can also add friends to the classes as a form of play-date. The classes can be skipped, rescheduled, cancelled anytime up to 24 hours from the session’s starting time. If you choose to do tutoring or educational childcare, you can search (https://www.dearest.io/parents/searchresult?position=0) the available educators by inputting the date, time, your child’s age group, and/or your child’s interests. Once you find a great profile, you can request booking or message him/her directly through the profile. Feel free to reach out to our educational coordinator at community@dearest.io to get a recommendation based on what you are looking for.
How much does it cost to join Dearest, and how much does each session cost?
We believe that every parent should have access to the best early childhood resources, and that’s why joining Dearest is completely FREE. When you decide on choosing a class or educator, the cost of the session depends on the class / educator and time duration of your booking, which are clearly specified at payment. To pay for our system maintenance, Dearest trainings, and credit card transaction cost, we charge a platform fee of 8%. Costs are always listed before you confirm your booking, so there would be no surprises.
How do I pay the providers?
When you send a booking request, you will be asked to input your credit card information. For classes, your credit card will be charged on a recurring basis, when the details of the classes have been set up. If you send a booking request through an educator’s profile, your credit card will be charged when the educator accepts the booking. For a recurring booking, the first session will be charged at the point when the educator accepts the booking, and the following sessions will be charged 48 hours prior to the session start time. To manage the payment process well, we have a strict policy against families paying our educators directly.
Are there any additional fees?
There are no additional fees. If you needed to extend the hours in the last minute or reimburse the educator for some materials, there is a function where you can make additional payment on our platform. Go to “My Bookings” > “Past“ tab > “Session Details” button > “Additional Expenses”.
How do you(/can I) track my child's progress?
Our educators plan every session based on your child's learning interests and past progress. After each session, you will receive a learning report that covers the learning goals, activities, schedule, and tips for other educators and parents for continuity. We will be tracking your child's progress over time and across different educators if your child engages in different types of activities through our platform.
How long in advance do I need to book a session? What if I need someone last minute?
Our service is on-demand, so you can book whenever you want. However, our educators are only required to accept the booking within 24 hours from the booking request, and they need the time to prepare for each session, so we would not be a great provider for urgent needs. Also, popular providers are usually booked and thus unavailable upon short notice, so we advise that you book in advance if you have a preferred provider. When you do need to book last-minute, email us at contact@dearest.io and our team will try their best to match you with a great Dearest.
I need someone to come in every day or consistently.
Most of our families end up hiring Dearest educators in a regular way. We recommend doing a shorter session first before scheduling recurring sessions with the educator. This way, you would be able to see how the educator works with your child.
What is the cancellation policy?
We have a clear 24-hour cancellation policy. You need to cancel at least 24 hours before the session start time. When you cancel in time, we will refund the session fee. We will however keep the platform fee of 8% as we need to pay credit card transaction fee for payment and refund. If you pass the 24 hours, the providers would have made customized session plans and possibly declined other opportunities to be with your child. Therefore, the fee will not be refunded.
Can I reschedule my booking?
Yes. We have a rescheduling function on "My Booking" screen. As long as it is 24 hours before the session start time, you can reschedule. You need to send a reschedule request and the provider needs to accept it. If they cannot accept your rescheduling for any reason, the booking will be cancelled and our team can suggest a suitable provider for your child.
Is Dearest available in my area?
Currently, Dearest is available in New York, NY, and focuses on Manhattan. Let us know if you would like Dearest in your neighborhood by emailing us at contact@dearest.io!