Switcharoo

We started out going to a small, sole-proprietor daycare with The Big Sis back in April 2007, then The Little Sis started going there when she began daycare in October 2011. Once The Big Sis was in school and needed after-school and summer care, we moved her to a daycare two blocks from our house that has both a daycare and an after-school/summer camp program. (Our original daycare does not offer programs for school-age kids, so keeping her there was not an option.) Ever since The Big Sis started at the new place, I’ve mulled over whether we should switch The Little Sis there too, as it would be incredibly convenient to have them both at the same place. But while there were some annoyances at the original daycare, it was not enough to make me want to uproot The Little Sis and cut our ties there — we had gotten to know the people at this daycare incredibly well, and we knew they liked us quite a bit too.

But ever since The Big Sis’s preschool teacher left, there has been a great amount of turnover in the preschool room at the original daycare, and I really wanted The Little Sis to have a good preschool environment so she gets as much as she can from those years, as she’ll be starting kindergarten as a newly turned 5-year-old and at a slight age disadvantage in that regard.

I kept thinking about it and finally decided to see if we could get a spot at The Big Sis’s daycare, as moving now would give The Little Sis two full years there, and hopefully give her some time to make some good friends there before going to kindergarten in 2016.

We had to wait a couple months, but we were told we would be able to get in once school was out, with The Little Sis’s first day on June 9. Telling our old daycare was hard, but we kept our withdrawal notice positive and didn’t want to leave on a bad note. We couldn’t tell The Little Sis too far in advance about switching, as she’s still only 2 and wouldn’t fully understand, so we finally starting talking about it more this past weekend.

Yesterday, our first day, was difficult. Very hard. She was scared and clingy and frowny and had silent tears in her eyes, poor girl. I knew she’d be fine, but I still emailed the director an hour into my work day asking her to check on The Little Sis. Not surprisingly, she said The Little Sis was doing fine, and she even emailed me an hour later and told me she’d gone in there again, and once again she was doing great, which was certainly a relief. We’ve never really had hard drop-offs with The Little Sis, so it was heartbreaking to see her so sad yesterday. We talked about her day last night, and talked about how she’d get to be brave again this morning. Last night, she was talking about going there just fine, but this morning her tune changed and she said she didn’t want to go there, and she didn’t want to make new friends. She was still sad and clingy and frowny at drop-off this morning, but it wasn’t quite as hard for me today because I knew she’d be fine once she got settled.

I know this is the best decision for us in many ways, but the transition part of it is challenging for sure. Give it a week or a month, and I’m sure she’ll be fine. So far I like the two teachers I’ve met (she has a third one too that I haven’t met). One teacher is one class away from her master’s in early education, and the other one does have her master’s. Between the two of them, I’m pretty sure they’ve exceeded the advanced education of all of the old daycare teachers combined. I think that was the problem with having so much turnover at the old place — I think the old daycare drew teachers that, while good with kids and with childcare experience, didn’t necessarily go into it as a career but more as a job, whereas my understanding is that the new place requires more education of their teachers (and I suspect they are compensated accordingly, helping keep turnover lower). Already she came home having learned a new song and a new way to count, so I look forward to seeing how things go over the next couple of years.

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