Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Crucial Timing of Making Gummy Worms

The other night I got to attend my first parent meeting at the boys' school. I was all excited about this milestone, as I typically get. Fillip was surprised I didn't make cupcakes. Me too. Let's just say, this meeting didn't quite go as I expected. It turns out, we weren't all there to qvell over the perfection of our children, one-upping each other over who wields the green crayon better, but to let the director know just what a terrible job the staff is doing there. I didn't get that memo.

First contention- curriculum
The pre-K parents were up in arms about the curriculum not being taught. The Director, new within the last couple months, was prepared for this. She told us at least four steps she was taking to ensure that this problem was resolved. It was news to me that kindergarten is so difficult to get into! I just thought you needed to be about 5 yrs old in September when school starts. Little did I know. One parent went to the kindergarten orientation only to decide to keep her child back because she isn't qualified. She transitioned her child from another place where she was learning, but crying everyday because her teacher was mean. As this parent said "but, she was learning." As if that is enough. Obviously, she was aware that there were standards the children must meet to move on. Why wasn't she participating in the teaching process at home? Another lady disgruntedly announced that her child had been at this school since he was 2, was now 5, and she has been unhappy the whole time. Um, how apathetic are you to keep your child in a place you don't think is worth it for THREE years?

The parents then moved on to building security, suggesting architectual changes to make it more accomdating for them. They also have a problem with the calendar. Sometimes the calendar will say it is Gummy Worm Day on Tuesday, but they don't actually make them until Thursday. Since they entice their kids out of the house by the calendar, the kids think they are lying, and they have lost credibility with the little ones. When the Director said there have been staffing issues, and that is why activities needed to be rearranged, that started up a whole new firestorm. At that point, every tiny thing brought up, was a source of contention. "You never informed us that a kid had set off the fire alarm, making everyone evacuate. When my kids said they left the playground with lights and noises, I told him to stop telling stories!" First, what is wrong with a creative mind telling stories? Next, why didn't you inquire about that with the staff? My gf finally spoke up saying that when she drops her daughter off she asks each of the teachers what they are going to do that day. When she picks her up, she asks each of the teachers what they did that day. Whoa did those moms get defensive! "Of course I do that!" However, when it was mentioned that teachers had been rearranged among the classrooms, that mom was the first to throw her hand aggressively in the air, demanding to know why she wasn't informed that the teachers had been changed. She didn't know that teacher was teaching her child. Well, if she truly was communicating with the teachers daily, wouldn't she know?

I finally spoke up saying that we had 2 boys there, had to make a quick decision to enroll, and it had been a challenging few months, but that we had received nothing but support and accomodation from the staff there. We have been so happy with this place. Hayden sings new songs and plays new games all the time. He is clearly learning. When we didn't think his teacher was a good match (among other issues), he was switched to another class. Logan lights up when one of his teacher walks by, and I arrive to find them holding him, playing with him, bragging to me about his new accomplishments.

Sure, I now am aware that there were areas needing improvement that I was not aware of, but I was so resentful that these parents felt this forum was appropriate. As the evening wore on, I grew more and more frustrated sitting their listening to them say the same things over and over, knowing that my boys were going to bed soon. I finally got up and left before the meeting was over. I didn't get to see Logan that night as he was already in bed. I had a few mins to read to an overtired Hayden before he went to sleep, and the rest of the evening to try to shake the negativity I felt was clinging to me from that meeting. The next day I called the Director to reiterate what a wonderful job she and the teachers are doing, as well as get the actual policy information she had intended to share at the meeting.

Maybe I'm not quite ready for PTA President of the World, just quite yet.

1 comment:

Ann said...

I know what you mean. I love my daycare - think the teachers are awesome. I do know parents who complain endlessly (despite that it is the 'best' daycare in the city). I remember hearing one parent ask why they didn't use organic maple syrup - given the price we pay, who could afford organic maple syrup.

I think my lack of criticism (I wouldn't care what day gummy bear day was - just bring home the recipe, please - that sounds so cool!) helps my children - who can resent someone who never complains.