I’ve written a few times in the recent past about Emmy’s transition from a “waddler room” to a “toddler room” at her daycare center. While at first I was trying to be optimistic about the required change, I am no longer feeling so rosy about the situation. The new room that Emmy has transitioned to is rubbing me the wrong way for so many reasons, a few of which I have listed below.
Issue #1: Em has been placed in a room with children theoretically ranging in age from 18 months to three years old. The problem is that in reality, all of the nine other children in Emmy’s classroom are way more on the 3 year old side of the spectrum than they are on the 18 month old side of the spectrum. This means Emmy is surrounded by kids that are twice her height, who have three times the motor skills she has, and a vocabulary of about ten times as many words as Em is currently speaking.
Initially, I was looking forward to Em being around older kids. I thought it would be great for her development. But when I realized that she would be the ONLY little kid in a sea of older toddlers (and in my mind, three year olds don’t even qualify as toddlers, since they are no longer “toddling”), I got a little nervous. The new teachers tell me that all of the kids in Emmy’s class think of her as “the baby” of the group and treat her as such. Every time I have arrived at pick up in the afternoon, Emmy is being held in her teacher’s arms, as if the teacher ALSO thinks of her as a baby. I don’t think Emmy’s development is going to thrive if she is treated like a baby among big kids. I just wish she were with kids who were more her age and at her level of development.
Issue #2: For the three weeks that Em was transitioning to her “toddler room”, she had two teachers who seemed very lovely, engaged, and interested in Em’s adjustment. Those teachers have disappeared. I know one of them left the daycare center altogether. I am not sure what happened to the other teacher. So Emmy’s first few full days in her new room have been spent with new teachers with whom she has no familiarity. Not very helpful at all.
Issue #3: For the first two days that I dropped Emmy off in her new room, the teacher’s assistant very aggressively grabbed my daughter out of my arms. She didn’t even give me a chance to say goodbye to Emmy! Em was howling up a storm, screaming “mama!” and the teacher’s assistant just whisked her away and made a “shoo”ing motion at me. I’m sorry.. whaaat? That is just NOT okay in my book. It was Emmy’s first week in a new environment. I should be allowed to stay a few minutes with her, to ease her into unfamiliar surroundings.
I didn’t want to make a scene, because I figured the LAST thing Emmy needed on her first week in a new classroom was her mama screaming at the people she was supposed to trust and connect with. Instead, I turned on my heels and quickly exited the building. I headed to my car where I cried into my steering wheel (daycare issues combined with pregnancy hormones do not combine well). I felt so confused, frustrated, and hurt.
When I dropped Emmy off at daycare this morning, the teacher’s assistant did not grab her from me (thank goodness, because I was ready to whollop her if she did). But Emmy tensed up when the teacher came to get her from me. Her whole body went rigid and she turned her face away from her teacher as the teacher approached. When I finally handed her off, Em screamed bloody murder (and I went to my car to cry again). To me, that is not a good sign.
Issue #4: When I dropped Emmy off at daycare this morning, Em’s teacher had misplaced an incident report from yesterday, stating that Em had bumped her head. When I inquired as to what had happened, her teacher told me she had been sitting in a chair that was meant for BIGGER KIDS, and that she fell over in the chair. So why was Emmy allowed to sit in one of the big kid chairs to begin with? Why didn’t they just put her in a chair that was more suitable for her? Rrrgh.
Issue #5: When we arrived at Emmy’s new room this morning, there was only one other three year old boy who had arrived prior to us. The boy was sitting by himself, on (not at) one of the classroom tables, looking completely bored out of his skull. Neither the teacher nor the teacher’s aide was trying to engage him in activities. The entire time I was there (a good 15 minutes or so), neither of the teachers spoke a single word to the boy who was sitting by himself, staring at the windows. It was just so weird, and felt very wrong to me. Very wrong.
Because of the above listed issues, and a few other weird mother’s instinct kind of feelings I’ve gotten from Em’s new room and teachers, I’ve decided to look for a new daycare program. I have an appointment to check out one program tomorrow, and have an application in at another program that came highly recommended from a co-worker. I’m hoping that one of these centers will work out. I know that at both centers, Em would be in a room with children who are more her age, which comforts me greatly.
In the mean time, I don’t know if it is worth talking to the director of Em’s current daycare center. I feel like all of my concerns are valid, but if my intent is to take Emmy out of their program, is it worth stirring the waters and voicing my issues? Because the other children in Em’s class are so much older, their parents might not share many of my worries. Still, in the interim, I would like to not dread bringing Emmy to her daycare room for three days each week, and if there is anything that could be done to help resolve some of these matters, maybe that would be of some consolation.
What would you do in my situation?