Unfiltered Mommy

An honest view of parenting in today's world

Picking a preschool

on February 7, 2014
  • When I was five months pregnant with my first daughter, I started researching daycares. I knew that I needed to get an early jump on because I was looking for the perfect place. I was planning to return to my full-time, four-day a week job when my baby was just five months old. I know, I know, some of you are thinking, “Wow, five whole months?” I only got six weeks, 12 weeks…” Luckily for me, I moved to California just before starting my family so I got to take advantage of their very generous (for this country anyways) maternity leave. I work for a large organization which has a childcare center with a preschool that gives priority to employees of my company. I had always heard that the waiting list can be pretty lengthy, so when I was nine weeks pregnant, I called and placed my name on the waiting list. The gal who answered the phone when I called to schedule my tour told me to be sure and make other plans in case they didn’t have a spot available when I was ready to return to work. When I toured this center, I saw a few things that didn’t sit well with me. In fact, when I got back to my car, I called my husband and cried.  I called the Director to clarify a few things and after hearing her snarky responses, I decided that this was not the place for me or my daughter, at least not until she would no longer be an infant.

At first I wasn’t sure if I wanted a center or a home daycare provider so I researched both. I toured 3 more centers before I knew that home daycare was more my style. After calling umpteen licensed home daycares and touring four or five, I found Dora. Dora is a sixty-something Argentinian woman who told me that she has three grown children and has been providing childcare in her home for the past 30 years. She was like a grandma to my daughter and I always knew that my most treasured gem would be well taken care of.

Fast forward to today. My daughter has now outgrown the loving grandma daycare. She is a very bright and active child who needs stimulation. She soaks up every word she hears and has a thirst for knowledge so we have decided that even though I am home on maternity leave with my second daughter for the next three months, she needs to go to a preschool setting. So, the search begins once again.

I returned to one of the centers I previously toured now that I was looking for a school rather than infant care. The young man who gave me the tour, the son of the owner, explained all the different areas to me and let me ask all my questions but it still didn’t seem “right”. He told me how the children did, X, Y and Z but I couldn’t find evidence of any of the things he mentioned. The prices were also a little steep for me but I figured that you get what you pay for and I was willing to pay more if a place met my expectations. I also toured a new place near my home which just opened up. The Director seemed a little fake but I really liked the different classrooms for art and science. She also told us about the curriculum they use to teach the older children how to read and write. My husband went on this tour also and he thought it sounded good and the price was right so I scheduled a 2 hour classroom visit the week before my toddler was scheduled to enroll. I had really high hopes that this would be the place but unfortunately I was not impressed. The lead teacher did not have control of the classroom and kids were running all around doing whatever they wanted. Kids were pushing each other, climbing on things and she spent the majority of her time attempting to redirect the children by saying “No thank you”. I mean, what is that? If kids are being dangerous, saying “no thank you” isn’t going to teach them to stop being reckless. This is something a burned out teacher does. They try to get through the day. In fact, I felt the need to intervene numerous times when I saw things that were unsafe. I left this school thinking that I should call and offer to do some training on classroom behavior management for the school or some counseling for the teacher who is clearly no longer enjoys her job. Maybe she was having a hard day because the kids were hyper, maybe this isn’t a typical day. Whatever the reason, I felt like I don’t want my kid to either A. get hurt as a result of the lack of control, or B. learn these behaviors. I looked for the Director on my way out but she was not in her office.  I expected her to call me that afternoon to see how the visit went but she didn’t call. She didn’t call the next day either. On the next Monday, the day before my child was to start, I left her a message stating that we would not be attending the school. No phone call to find out why, which I find odd. You would think that the Director of a school, especially a school that has only been open 4 months would want to know what changed my mind.

Now, please know that I am not delusional. I know that no place is ever going to be perfect but I do have some expectations that are nonnegotiable, mostly revolving around safety and well-being. Today we did a visit at the preschool my neighbor’s children go to. It definitely felt like a better fit. We are planning to enroll in March so stay tuned…


2 responses to “Picking a preschool

  1. ingridann78 says:

    Can’t wait to hear where she ends up!

  2. Thanks ingridann78! We have decided to try the school that my neighbor recommended. She will be starting next month.

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