I enrolled her in daycare for two days a week starting in mid-July, just before she turned two. Things didn’t go as planned, and she hated it. We began to make some progress, but she still wasn’t excited. The end of September rolled around and I went ahead and signed up for the live-cam at the school. At first I was consumed with just watching her all day. Then I started to realize that something wasn’t right.
Remember, I was only sending her two days a week; sometimes I paid for an additional day. When I dropped her off, she wasn’t always crying, but she was never excited. Enough time had passed, in my opinion that she should want to go to school and see her friends and play. This was not the case. She always either cried or left me, looking back with her big, beautiful eyes that were full of disappointment. I didn’t understand why. When I picked her up, most days she was so happy to see me she was in tears and ready to roll out! She was off the wall crazy and hyper until way past bedtime. Why, after being at daycare for six or more hours, was she so wound up?
October began and I started obsessing over the live-cam. It consumed my days, when it shouldn’t have. Looking back, I am glad it did because it led me to make the decision to withdraw her from this school. Let me explain how I saw her days go by and maybe then you can understand my heartbreak when I realized why she had sad eyes and cried tears of joy when I picked her up.
I dropped her off between 8am and 9am. At 9am, they all went to their respective classrooms with their teacher. They would all just roam around the room and free-play while the teacher set up an activity. They would all sit down and participate, and then around 10am they would have a morning snack. As each child finished their snack, the teacher would begin to clean up the messes as the children proceeded to free-play again. Occasionally after snack time I would see them line up at the door and leave the classroom, only to return about 15 minutes later. My assumption was that this was a bathroom break…which was across the hall and not in the classroom as it should be.
Free-play seemed to resume as the teacher tried to contain rowdy kids and clean up messes. 11:30am rolls around and lunch time starts. They all sit, eat lunch and the same routine ensues. The teacher cleans up as the kids finish eating, and then she began to set up the cots for nap time, which started between 12-12:30pm daily. Then they slept until 2:30pm. Once the lights were turned on, the cots were picked up as the children got up, and as soon as that was finished it was snack time. Around 3pm they were finishing their snacks and beginning to free-play once again, as the teacher cleaned up messes. That is about when I picked her up.
Now, let me just tell you this…this happened every day. I even watched the camera on days she was home with me. They were never gone long enough to have had time to play outside, and I only saw them leave the classroom once in the 6 hours I watched. How is that helping to potty train? Not only was the bathroom across the hall, they were only taken once a day? By law, they are required to take the children outside to play unless they have an indoor gross motor-skills room, or so I am told. It was no wonder my child literally paced around the room clutching her sippy cup and twirling her hair all day. She was bored out of her mind and didn’t get the attention that all the kids deserved. She rarely even picked up a toy to play with. She was in zombie mode, staring at the same four walls all day long. The teacher was overwhelmed with children acting out, with no additional adult help. I do not blame the teacher; I blame the establishment for not having their stuff together, to put it nicely. My daughter was miserable. She was bored. She was NOT getting the things I put her in school for.
Another issue I had with this particular place was, that there were children in her class that were only 18 months old. They needed help eating, and needed extra attention for crafts because they were so young. Not only is that not really allowed, it also sets the teacher and the older children back. The toddler room was full, so to continue to take more kids and make more money, the director (she was also the owner) placed the “more advanced” 18 month olds in the 2-year-old room. I understand putting one in there that is almost two, like my daughter was when she began. Not one that is 6 months or more from turning 2. There was also one little boy they pulled from the toddler room because he was a biter. He literally spent the majority of the day in a highchair, even in the 2-year-old room, to avoid conflict. That in itself was horrible to see.
There was supposed to be a two week notice policy on withdrawing your child from the school, meaning I would have to pay for two additional weeks before I could stop paying, even if she wasn’t going. I was not going to have this. I told my husband at the end of October that I had watched long enough (about 6-9 days of her going) and was not taking her back. I went home and wrote a nice yet stern letter to them explaining my issues. I explained that it was “in everyone’s best interest” they do not charge me the two week fees. I had my husband proofread my letter, and he said I was too nice, but agreed it was ready to be sent. I e-mailed the letter and then dropped a hard copy in the mail.
It took two days, but I did get a voicemail and an e-mail response to my letter. They apologized and agreed that I did not have to pay any additional money. I did not return contact with them. I have since put down a deposit on a new daycare and am waiting for a spot to open up for her. They have a live camera as well, and are aware of the issues I had at the previous daycare and assured me that will NOT happen here. I will definitely be taking advantage and obsessing over the camera until I am totally satisfied with my child’s school. I urge ALL parents to try and come up with the money to pay for the camera if you have the opportunity. It was no more than $30 a month, and it really showed the true colors of the establishment, as well as showing me why my child was miserable. As you know I am a big fan of following your mommy instinct and once again it served me well.
When have you ever followed your mommy instinct and were totally 100% right?
Until Next Time,
The Not-So-Single Mom
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