When daycare goes bad

Filed under: Toddlers Preschoolers, Preschoolers, Work Life, Childcare

Back in January we switched Nate out of a home-based caregiver situation (one caregiver to five kids) to a larger preschool setting. Initially we were quite pleased with the new daycare/preschool. Nate seemed to be doing better with more kids around, and there certainly was a comfort in the accountability factor of having more than one person looking after our son.

But as time went on, we began to see some cracks in their system. After a few late morning arrivals, I noticed that snack time (which always sounds good on the printout posted outside the front door) was nothing more than a sugary treat with some sliced fruit beside it. (Toaster strudels, Rice Krispie squares, etc.) Things we would only reserve for a special treat on occasion were being served up twice a day.

The lunch menu also left something to be desired. Upon examining it more closely, I saw their reliance on frozen and processed foods. But for some reason, I felt bad to complain about it. The caregivers looked so tired by the end of the day, I felt like my grumbling over chicken fingers would come across as middle class snootery.

The tiredness of the caregivers was another issue. Were they looking so grumpy because there weren't enough of them to handle the after-school parent pick-up rush? Clearly, the caregivers weren't to blame -- they were doing the best they could with what they were given -- the head office was where we had to look for answers.

After a few murmurings in the playground, I noticed I wasn't the only dissatisfied with the level of service we were paying for. Most parents kept quiet and kept their kids at this centre because of the social aspect -- these kids are tops! Plus, there aren't a ton of good, affordable daycares in the area. But as things got progressively worse, some parents decided that maybe we should get together and find a way to work with the daycare.

Do you think this is the right approach? Our first meeting is tomorrow. I worry that where children are involved emotions will run high and it will turn into a witch hunt as opposed to something that empowers the women who take care of our kids. Does anyone have any advice from their own experiences?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.