A Few comments on Day Care

21 Jun

I got the word, and I officially retain my status of teacher.  The lady who got the job of behavior intervention specialist has been doing it for us and several counties for the past several years.  She is second to none and I'm glad someone got it who was so totally qualified.  Big Boss said that several good things were said about me by the interview committee.  That was nice to hear.  Truth be known, I'm actually relieved that I didn't get this.  It is going to be a huge job and I fear bigger than what could be done by one person.

 

And it also means that I will be able to continue with the story of my SID/PID class and the people involved for another year!  It would be a bit tough having a teacher blog without actually being a teacher.

 

ESY is going okay.  Darius does well at his preschool.  He initiates social interactions with his friends, follows directions and follows the routine of his class.  He does use a number of words, but he is a quiet talker so is not often heard.

 

So let's talk a bit about day care settings.  There is the good, the bad and the ugly.

 

Darius attends a day care facility that is state-of-the-art, with a computer lab, theater and a gym.  The classrooms are large with lots of chairs, tables and activity centers.  The facility houses classrooms for infants through kids up to the age of 12 and the cost is around $100/week, give or take $20 depending on the age of the child.

 

Darius is in a class with about 20 other 4 year-olds.  And the kids are active!  It has been a long time since I was in a classroom of so many typical young kids.  In fact, I don't remember ever being in a group like that.

 

Unlike a regular preschool, this is a day care that happens to be run a lot like a preschool.  Parents are dropping kids off and picking them up throughout the day, beginning as early as 6 a.m. and they can stay as late as 6 p.m.  The children are typical, but it is easy to spot several who have varying degrees of exceptionalities.  There's one who is probably mildly MR, and then there is one boy who is going to be referred to an EBD class in the future.  And then the girl who is all over the place and someone will say is ADHD.  These things just sort of shake out over time among so many kids.  It's easy to see who is average and then there is one girl who is clearly above the rest of her peers.

 

20 four year-olds is a lot of kids.  The lead teacher is Ms. Margie who has been teaching for over 25 years.  And her experience shows.  She can command attention from all of the kids and engage them all with amazing skill.  It really is a pleasure to watch her at work when she is at her best.  The kids get unruly or loud and she is right there and redirects them back on to the task.  That's not to say she's perfect.  She was doing calendar during circle time the other day, and had the kids reciting how it was the 20th of January. 

 

Ms. Margie's assistant is Ms. Sue, who is a lot less experienced and a lot less skilled.  She often has problems controlling the kids and keeping them on task.  Her method of discipline is yelling and threatening the kids, which is not very effective.  By the time it is time for me to leave (@ 11) Ms. Su is already physically exhausted.

 

Unfortunately, the class is divided between the two women.  Ms. Margie takes a larger group, but Ms. Sue seems to draw the toughest kids, which happens to be most of the boys.  So with the class divided into smaller groups, Ms. Sue has limited opportunity to collaborate with her lead teacher.  They really have no chance to plan together so have to take it on the fly.  The result is  a lot of downtime and confusion despite have a relatively structured schedule.  And the result of that is some pretty bad behaviors. 

 

Frequently, there is the little boy or girl who wants their mommy and is crying.  While distressing, this is not so bad.  Then we have one kid who pushes another, and then gets smacked in retaliation.  That can get serious.  So at anytime, there might be 3-4 kids crying.  Then there are some that may be yelling.  And then there is the defiance that 4 year-olds are prone to do.  And then Darius gets sick of it and has a meltdown.

 

It is a loud, busy place, this day care.  I see good interactions but also some not so good that would give me cause for pause in putting my own kids in daycare.  Day care teachers and their assistants are the lowest trained and lowest paid people in the country.  Supposedly, kids are our most valuable resource but if you look at the folks charged with their care on a daily basis, you would hardly know it.  They do not have union benefits or representation.  There is some state regulations on day care centers, but not much in the way of protecting and caring for their workers.

 

The one Darius attends is probably one of the better ones.  But it is still a tough place for the kids and a tough place to work.  But it has been an educational experience to observe and participate in over the summer.

dick 

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2 Responses to “A Few comments on Day Care”

  1. CaliforniaTeacherGuy June 22, 2006 at 6:48 pm #

    So…”the life” is still choosing you! You seem to be at peace with the outcome of the interview and the path that lies ahead. Your positive attitude bodes well both for you and your students. I’m sure you’ll have a great year! I’m looking forward to reading more of your thoughts.

  2. Dick Dalton June 23, 2006 at 8:36 am #

    LOL! Thanks, TeacherGuy! You’re right! The life *IS* still choosing me, for good or ill. I look forweard to being able to share some other thoughts whenever it is that I get some.

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