Thursday, February 14, 2013

Daycare, ultrasound, etc.

I found out yesterday I am #148 on the waiting list for the ultrasound program. They take 24 students a year. Ouch. They told me it's a 2 year wait so I assume a lot of people drop out while waiting. I am thinking next fall isn't looking too good, though.

 The bright sides to this are that my mom will be retired then (free/cheap help!), the boys won't be infant/toddlers by then (and please god sleeping through the night! Even if we are all in our bed! ) Joe's new job is going extremely well so far and they are pretty decent about raises/bonuses, so the cost of FT childcare in a couple years-on one income- will be a lot more comfortable than it would be now or even next year with toddler rates.And maybe it will work out that I could have one last baby, and stay home w. him/her for a bit, before starting school. (NOT anytime soon, thinking when Matthew is 2 we'll start thinking about seriously trying or being done, that would be a spring baby and hopefully I'd start school in the I had in mind for this year with Matthew sorta.)

The downside is..ugh. 2+ years!?! I am going to go out of my mind being home with both boys all day every day. I would like it way more if it was part time.

So, we'll see.

Luke and I looked at a preschool today. I had wanted to put him in some kind of program, part time, a few hours a week. To give him some socialization/new toys/experience away from mommy/etc. And to give me a break!

Anyway, I can tell I am going to have a hard time with this. Working in daycares, with two year olds...for a few years, I have very specific notions about what I want to see and do not want to see. When I was 18, over the summer before I left for college I worked at a "bad" daycare. TV for all ages, no curriculum or real projects, very sketchy on stuff like ratios, etc. Then I worked at really good military daycares. They have NAEYC accreditation, which is the highest level there is, it's very difficult to get and maintain. To renew it, they send someone out every 2 years, they spend several days going over everything and observing everyone. They don't do time out. They don't do tv at all ever. Cameras in every room. Etc. The staff have fingerprinted FBI background checks and clearances that take 6 months to be completed (as opposed to the state hwy patrol check and dfs check that is just state-wide and not always up to date at the mediocre daycare,).

Anyway. There aren't even that many NAEYC programs here. They tend to be $$$ and have waits and don't do part time till 3+ because they can fill full days for 2's and under without it. So I know going into this, to some extent, I may have to settle sorta. And I am okay with it mostly, he's not going to be there fulltime and I mostly want somewhere he can go play without me.

So I went in today knowing it was no NAEYC program, but it is super duper cheap and 5min away from me and 5 min from my mom. They have a nice playground. I really wanted to like it and for a long time tried to talk myself into it. While I was there I even told the director we'd "probably" sign him up. But there is just too many red flags for me.

-The classrooms are tiny and have hardly any toys.This was a church program so it is exempt from state licensing. I don't think they'd get a license with the size of those rooms and # of kids they cram into them. The toy thing is huge.
-Most of the room is a table for learning and carpet. She showed me all these dumb nonsensical worksheets they are doing. My kid doesn't need to be tracing the letter N at age 2! That isn't even age appropriate! It was mostly like real school, it seemed to me, but for 2 year olds! He has many years of worksheets worksheets ahead of him, not at age 2!
-Saw two tv's. A class (3 or 4 y.os) were watching a charlie brown movie, in a dark classroom with the door shut and a single teacher when we walked in. That is not to say she was doing anything wrong, but that would not fly on sooooo many levels elsewhere. As a teacher, it's dumb. I always considered the cameras were for my own protection, esp. with two year olds who get hurt often and don't talk the best yet, as they were for the kid's safety.
-It is from 9:30-2 with no naptime even for the 2 year olds. Again, not really an age appropriate expectation. (Many of our 3 and 4 year olds still napped!) I don't know if Luke will be napping this fall, but I do not want to encourage him to not nap! (There isn't even enough room in the class for them to nap if they wanted to!)
-They use time-out for discipline. Not horrible, but it depends how it's applied. Do they get time out for not sitting at the table doing worksheets? Meh. I'm just not a fan of time out in daycare, I managed a class of 14 toddlers without it. (If a kid was violent or tantruming, we would remove them away from others but immediately told them they could come back when they were ready,,,and if I recall correctly we got dinged for that on our evaluation.)
-When we walked in. we walked past the 2 y.o's and their teachers walking outside. They smiled at us,  know they saw me. When we left, both teachers were sitting on a bench talking and possibly facing each other, not interacting w/ the kids at all and possibly not even watching them. KNOWING I WAS THERE.  We didn't even have a bench on our playgrounds and if I was sitting, it was on the ground with the kids looking at bugs or drawing with chalk, etc. The other teachers and I talked but not ever like that. Our director would have kicked our butts!
-I called and asked some questions and made an apptmt for today. The nly info they had for me was my first name and my kid would be 2 in April. They let me in without asking for ID or anything, no phone number, address, nothing. Any Joe Schmoe can call and ask some questions and go for a tour around little kids. Maybe this is normal?

Anyway, the search continues. I am looking more towards "daycare" part time options, I think.


Brooke said...

I agree with all your red flags! Yikes. You've got to feel good about it, even if he is just there for "playtime." Our daycare doesn't have cameras, but it has no televisions! (yikes!) and the preschool does creative art projects, not worksheets.

You might look into Mother's Day Out programs at some churches? They are often more about supervised playtime rather than a learning curriculum for 2 year olds.

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