Thursday, October 24, 2013

Preschool issues

We love the preschool that my kids go to. They have both been going there since they were 3 months old, and I couldn't recommend it more highly. It's a chain daycare, but the director was the most amazing woman. There was barely any turn over (VERY rare in a daycare setting) and all the teachers were wonderful. We had fun events in the evening that we could go to with the kids and the children were really ahead of the curve when compared to other kids (not that I'm biased or anything).

You may remember, about 6 months ago, I talked about the director being asked to leave. They assured us that it wasn't anything to do related to the children, and after MUCH drama, assured us that nothing would change, or if it did change, it would change for the better. I had my doubts, but rolled with it.

We've now come to the point where it is obvious that things are NOT better. Or the same. They are worse. We have lost several teachers, the ones that have been there forever seem unhappy, and the new director just doesn't rub me the right way. And it's frustrating. But until recently, I was continuing to accept it, as my kids were still happy and the classrooms were decent.

But then they switched Maggie's classroom. The old director always had 3 preschool groups: Young Preschool, Older Preschool, and Pre-K. And that was one of the things that drew me to this daycare, as I feel that a year difference when you are 2.9 versus 3.9 is HUGE. But the new director changed it to one Preschool class, and then a Kindergarten Prep class. When confronted, she says that this is what all the other centers in this chain do. Well, I didn't pick the OTHER centers, did I? And many of the other parents felt the same way. It's just hard to think that Maggie is getting great learning opportunities when half of her class is unable to sit still through a whole book or talk in full sentences. We lead a big push, and we convinced her to change back to the Young and Older Preschool classes in January - but after this year, they won't do it again.

And just as we are feeling pretty great about winning that battle, one of Cam's Kindergarten Prep teachers quit. I'm on the parent council, and she told us that there are 150 job openings in early childhood development, so it's been hard to find a replacement. I feel like we never had turnover issue like this in the past, so it's infuriating to me that we are dealing with it now. I also feel trapped, as it's really to late to switch Cam anywhere. And the only way I would pull Maggie for next year is if her best friend went with her. My kids are too comfortable there to risk pulling them out - and they are getting a good education there.

But during one of the parent meetings, I blurted out that 'We were promised that nothing would change, or if they changed, it would be for the better. That is NOT happening." Needless to say, I got an email from the director the next day asking for a private meeting so we could discuss my thoughts. That is tomorrow morning, and I'm not really looking forward to it. I frustrated and tired of needing to be sure that my kids get what they need. For the amount of money I'm paying for this center, I would expect I shouldn’t even need to worry about it (and I didn't for over 4 years!). To some degree, in the back of my mind, I remember my Nursery School when I was a kid. We just played together in the basement of the local church. And I turned out just fine. But on the flipside, I know what the kids before mine got, and I want the same level of excellence for them.


Stace said...

That's ridiculous. THere are very few good daycares out there, so for them to go through and change it "like the others" is insane. As for the educational value-- it's hugely important. More and more earlier demands are being placed on young children. As a first grade teacher and a former K teacher it's often said that Kindergarten is becoming the new first grade and first grade is now basically second grade. I learned multiplication in 3rd grade. We now introduce it in 1st. We might not have needed those foundational skills and playing at preschool was enough, but your kids are going to need them in Kindergarten to thrive and your preschool needs to provide that!

Deborah said...

This is frustrating. It sounds like your preschool was amazing before, though!

I am having some struggles with my preschool, too. It's not "perfect" but it's not so bad, and like you my son will be going to kindergarten next year so I question whether it makes any sense to change now.

It's good that you have these meetings and that they listen to you. I hope it gets you somewhere.

HereWeGoAJen said...

That is so frustrating. I hope you can find a good solution that doesn't force you to move your kids. I hate it when I feel like I have to fight for everything.