Home       About Us       Salsa Store       Referral       Lifebooks       Recipes       Videos       Blog Headers

Monday, November 12, 2007

There was no love in that room

The girls and I visited a local preschool today in the hopes that it would be wonderful and they could attend for a few mornings each week. And it was a complete bust. I had such high hopes... It was really expensive (IMHO), but the program sounded so great. I was already planning how to spend those precious few free hours and thought the girls would absolutely love regular activities and interaction with other kids. I had checked out the preschool last week, taken a guided tour (without the girls), asked a million questions and received a million right answers. But, and this is a big "but" that only became clear in hindsight, the little class was outside on the playground when I took the tour, so I didn't really get to observe the teachers and kids in action. TubaDad and I were psyched! We bought children's books hyping up how great preschool is (the girls' favorite was DW's Guide to Preschool), talked to the girls about it for days, and then the girls and I showed up today for our visiting appointment. And I was so disappointed. The office administrator brought us over the classroom and introduced us as visitors who were trying out the program. One worker (they're called "teachers" but frankly they weren't worthy of that title) wearily glanced our way and said hello, the other one didn't even look up. I stood in the doorway for a few minutes then brought the girls over to the little table where the other kids where having snack and helped them into chairs. Nothing was offered to Ro and Ree. The grumpy lady finally asked if the girls would like some water and gave me two little paper cups to fill up from the water fountain. Ree spilled hers and no one noticed as I cleaned it up. A couple of other kids spilled theirs too and just played in it unnoticed. Oh well. Eventually Weary Lady moved to the carpeted area and said "circle time!" At last, I thought, some of that action they spelled out in the typed schedule! But sadly, she just opened a bottle of bubbles and blew on it for about 5 minutes while the kids virtually ignored her. Meanwhile Grumpy Lady grabbed one child at a time, plopped them down at the little table, inkstamped their hands and pushed them onto a piece of paper that had been pre-labelled with their names. Then she shooed the kiddo away and placed the paper in a rack by the door. I'm certain this was going to later be touted as the "art project" the children had heartily enjoyed during the day. There were also two inconsolable kids who cried the whole time and never seemed to get any affection or special attention. Weary Lady made a half-hearted attemp to hold the little scared girl's hand if she walked nearby. Grumpy Lady pretty much ignored the girl and occasionally addressed the sobbing little boy if he happened to wander into her path with "Jed, I'll be right there (sharp sigh). Mama and daddy will come back (another dramatic sigh)." After about 40 minutes of watching kids vaguely wander around, I packed the girls up, went to the office and checked out. They asked how everything went and, well, I was pretty honest. They seemed shocked. They said it must be just that age group of class (two to two-and-a-half-year-olds) or the fact that it was a semi-structured classroom, or maybe since our girls were so "advanced" and could follow instructions they would be happier in the older classroom (for two-and-a-half to three-year-olds). I would have checked out that classroom (at least to see if those "teachers" were any better) but they were out on the playground and I wasn't falling for that "how beautiful is this empty classroom and our thoughtfully typed schedule" bit again. Oh well, onward and upward. Anyone have any great suggestions for finding a good part-time preschool? And is it too much to ask that the teachers actually like kids and like their jobs? My expectations, by the way, to give you all a really good laugh, were that we'd show up, be introduced, and the teachers would smile at the girls enthusiastically and say "Well hello Ro and Ree! It's so nice to meet you. Would you like to join our class for the day? Right now we're coloring with crayons, maybe you could come sit here next to Rachel?" Ugh, I'm cringing at my naivete. As an aside, the girls are napping right now, kind of. They climbed into their little furry chair and passed out. Funny!: