Over the past few months, I've mentioned daycare woes.Let me start at the begining on this one.
We officially started full-time daycare in January 2006. Prior to that we had done as much home-care as we could and had done some part-time day care at two chain-centers (Goddard School and Lipton Corporate Child Care). Neither of those was financially viable as a full-time option - and even if they had been, I would not have chosen the Goddard School we used again.
We ended up at a local community run daycare, loosely associated with our public school system. From the first day there, we LOVED the center. The teachers were good, friendly and LOVED the kids. Included in the price, the kids are served breakfast (some days hot items) with fruit and milk, Lunch (almost always hot) with veggie, fruit and milk, and snacks. It was close to home and convenient for drop-off/pick-up. I got involved in the Parent Association immediately and Clark joined in a few months later.
In November of last year, the Director of the center, who had been there for more than two decades resigned. She took a position as a kindergarten teacher in the township.Since then, things have been in a slow crumble. The day-to-day care has continued pretty well, but we have gone LONG periods of time with no director; we had one for 6-8 weeks (Feb Mar time frame) one "acting" Director for 6-8 weeks (June-Aug time frame) and now have another. In addition, a new Asst Director was hired in April and the old one left in June. There have been long stretches of time with no leadership - no point-person - no one who had ALL the information about what was going on - no one who was totally RESPONSIBLE.
The parents association started bringing this up as an issue (along with other items) at the March meeting - by June we had all been labeled as troublemakers. I really didn't think too much of that until late-July/early August when the following happened:
I had been keeping loosely in-touch with a former center staff member who sent me information about how the parents association had been presented to the acting director and what actions were going to be taken.
1)The acting director was told that we had written to the board of directors with our issues without "going through channels"; and that we were being unreasonable about our requests - we were requesting staff coverage of the front entrance for all hours of business.
2)Further, the parents association was going to be disbanded and new parents would be hand-selected who were "committed to the center".
3)Then, one of the main teachers in Ronnie's classroom went on vacation. A teacher who loves him very much. The whole time she was away, I was told every day that Ronnie had had behavior issues. As soon as she returned the issues vanished. It really made me wonder about what was going on in that room...what the teachers were being told etc.
At the begining of August I had half-heartedly begun looking for other places. For reasons 1&2 above, and because we're starting to worry about kindergarten...our town only does 1/2 day and the before-and-after care associated with the school has a bad reputation. So one of our requirements if we were going to "bail" from the current situation was for the new center to have kindergarten offered. I went to and/or called at least a dozen centers between home and work. It was CRAZY - in the sort-of affordable price range - there was no one that offered everything you'd want. Of course for 300-800 more a month per child....one place even had a swimming pool.We settled around 3:
#1 we're on the waiting list for - and has almost everything we'd want - the drawback for this one is that it is associated with the Catholic Church and closes the month of July.
#2 is in a strip mall - the classrooms have half-walls separating them from each other and the play area is across the parking lot. This one is a single-proprieter who has one other center. Plusses are that they do the nap-time laundry as well as food. In addition to offering kindergarten they also offer before&after care and our town will bus to them.
#3 is a brand-new facility but is corporate-owned and has that "by-the-book" feel. They have a wonderful in-door play area as well as a decent outdoor area. BUT - they do not offer food in the price or even as an add-on.
Then item 3 happened - and that brought back memories of having seen some things happen with the pre-school classroom that weren't to my liking...and one of those was hammered home by the child of a friend being asked to leave the center and labled ADHD.
I became convinced I had to have the kids - esp. Ronnie OUT of there. So, last week, I paid the "enrollment" fee at #2 and scheduled the kids to start there in a couple of weeks.
I gave notice last Friday at our current center - and still have mixed emotions about the whole thing. Clark asked me on Friday "What are we gaining by doing this?" and one thing is kindergarten and a presumably better before-after-care program, but besides that? I don't really know. All I know is that I'm not comfortable with the current situation anymore. What makes it harder is that I loved it so much for a while.