Whenever you decide to make a change for your child, it can be scary. Am I doing the right thing? We all get set in the routine- the familiar and comfortable. But, what if what’s comfortable isn’t what’s best? We faced these things this past fall when I began to wonder if the daycare facility where CJ spent three days a week was really the best place he could be. Aside from me being at home with him, of course- that isn’t an option right now. So, if he has to spend his days in a care facility- is he in the best one. In October I came to a resounding conclusion. No. And for several reasons:
1. While only being there three days a week, he would come home several times a month with bite marks that were bruised. He was also cited on numerous occasions for biting as well. Although he never bit in any other social situation with children. I began to wonder if they just left them in a room to gnaw on each other. They sure as heck weren’t educating them. Which leads me to:
2. He was out of control- behaviorally. I know that I am the parent and it is my job to parent my child. At the same time when the child is in the care of someone else for 8-9 hours a day- it is imperative that this other caregiver(s) be in cooperation with the parent(s) on how to raise the child. And in my opinion that includes teaching the child how to act. To do otherwise, makes it harder on everyone.
3. They had no educational curriculum or structure. CJ is nearing four. He is smart. They were not sending him up to the next room and wouldn’t tell me why. Now this facility is where WC went and at the time I received assessments twice a year where they tested him on age appropriate skills- letters, number, colors, shapes, etc. I had clear knowledge of his educational progression towards kindergarten. After a year and half, CJ had nothing. It seems they completely quit attempting to provide them with an education or instructions on how to be a decent person.
So, I made the decision to look into other options. WC had started going full time daycare at three and a half and it was getting to the benchmark for CJ as well. He still stayed with my mom for two days of the week. And she also lacked discipline and structure-but she’s the grandparent, so I give her more lenience in that area. But, I knew I didn’t want him going to the current place full time. The first of November I put him on the waiting list of a good Christian school in our area. I’d know a bunch of people to defect from the old daycare when they first opened when WC was there. I prayed, I read, I though, I asked around. I wasn’t sure how long it would take or if we should put him there. So, I prayed some more. Early in December my cell phone rang. It was the Christian school telling me that they had an opening in the 3 room. Would I like to come in for a tour?
That afternoon the boys and I toured the “new school” as it was being called by my boys. I liked what I saw and what I heard. CJ went right in and started playing with the toys. The teacher for his class was out on maternity leave and wouldn’t be back til the end of December and I was welcome to come back then and meet her. I took the enrollment packet home. CJ left calling the place “his new school.”
I filled out and returned the paperwork with a little hesitance. I spoke with the owner and we decided to set his start date for the first of January- that way he could finish the year at old daycare and I could have time to provide notice. I wrote my notice that I was withdrawing his enrollment at the end of the year and turned it in. Then the daycare director expressed what I can only describe as relief. She said she was worried about having to move him to the next room because a child that he didn't get along with was in there. So, they were holding my child back in a lower level room simply because he and another child didn't get along? That didn't seem fair for his development.
At the end of December we were able to visit the new school again and meet his teacher. CJ skips down the hall to the new classroom and happily begins to play with the toys in the new room. I spent about a half an hour speaking with the new teacher and sort of explaining where we were coming from and the challenges that we've faced and his old care wasn't structured. And what I wanted for CJ. When we left, I was completely convinced that this was the right move. She completely understood and explained to me her philosophy and that she has three children of her own. She believed that it is her job to help the parent raise the child.
He started his new school at the first of January. The facility has a webcam that I can access from my computer at work. The first time I pulled it up- I found him sitting in a chair having a time out. Yep, that looks about right. The next time I checked in, they were having circle time. I looked and looked but couldn't see him in the circle. Then from across the room, a head popped up from behind a low bookcase. I just shook my head. Every child was in the circle-but mine.
I spoke with his teacher when I picked him up. Obviously, she could tell that he came from a facility without structure but she assured me that he would get used to it.
And so far he is adjusting well. He's playing well with the other children- no issues with biting. He's happy there. When I pick him up, he isn't in any hurry to leave. I haven't had any problems with him not wanting to go in the morning. He goes around the house singing little songs he's learned there. So far this is turning out to be a really good decision. I'm hoping that in this new environment his learning will really blossom like it was before.