Confessions: Preschool Red Flags
What to lookout for when you’re looking at Preschools
Preschool take 1
As many of you know my son started a preschool three weeks ago, what you may not know is I pulled him his 4th day. This school was NOT a good fit and expected far too much from a first timer like Dom. I know what you’re thinking, oh you’re THAT mom, no. When on the second day the teacher complains that he won’t sit through circle. The third day complains he doesn’t nap for the entire nap time. Then the fourth day they call you in an hour after drop off only to explain that your child has tantrums that are too much, because he throws himself on the floor, and that he’ll need to wear a helmet….yes a helmet. You realize that you’ve made a H U G E mistake. There was even more nonsense that followed during this meeting, and I took deep cleansing breaths and was incredibly proud of myself for not telling the to fuck themselves. I simply collected my son, our shit, and asked for our money back.
A little backstory
Dom has never been away from me or in a school setting. He has a speech delay which does elevate his level of frustration because OF COURSE. Before you ask…yes the school was made aware of all of this information and more. Needless to say after basically being told my son had a spectrum disorder I made 30987957279 appointments and called everyone I’ve ever worked with and knew. I spiraled like a psychopath and reached out to basically everyone for support. Everyone that actually knew and worked with my son had they same response. I immediately feel better. FOLLOW YOUR GUT. I’m incredibly thankful that I pulled my son early enough to not have been effected by such a toxic place/people.
Now onto the red flags….
10 Red Flags to Watch for in Your Child’s Preschool
What really matters and what should you watch out for? It may not be the things you expect.
When you send your child off to preschool, there are so many factors to consider in finding the right fit that it can be overwhelming. What really matters and what should you watch out for? It may not be the things you expect. I have seen centers with beautiful materials and organic snacks that put too much pressure on children to read and write. And I have seen a wonderful preschool with no windows, that has all of the other elements of quality that studies show children need, like warm and nurturing relationships with adults; well-organized and well-regulated classrooms; and lots of outdoor playtime unless it is pouring rain or bitterly cold.
The things that matter most can be the hardest to observe, especially if you aren’t trained in child development, because they happen in the conversations, cuddles and content of the day. But you can learn to look for important clues, even during a brief tour.
Here are ten warning signs that a preschool is missing the mark:
1. Teachers yell at kids or shame them.
Loving, trusting relationships are at the heart of good preschool classrooms. What child can trust an adult who calls her lazy or shouts, “What’s wrong with you?” Plus, it’s important for preschools to teach children how to regulate their emotions and behaviors, and teachers should model how to be calm and handle challenges.
2. Children are expected to sit quietly for more than 15 to 20 minutes.
2/3 even 4 year olds are naturally curious and energetic, and still learning to focus. Asking them to sit criss-cross-applesauce for 45 minutes is just asking for trouble.
3. Teachers take away recess or outside time as a punishment.
This is not only devastating for children, it is counterproductive. Many children who struggle with self-regulation actually need more opportunities to move.
4. There is no daily routine.
Young children need consistency. They thrive when they know what to expect and get anxious when they don’t. The daily routine should be posted in a place and visual format where kids can see and understand it.
5. Activities never change or don’t hold children’s interest.
Thoughtful teachers rotate materials and introduce new projects, to keep children engaged and push their thinking forward. If children are running around at center time rather than getting engrossed in the activities, something is amiss.