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Free Play Daycare Issues - Page 3

post #41 of 77
So these people think it's good for kids to play freely, right? I agree with that. But how exactly does it benefit the kids to play freely, with nobody watching them? Wouldn't they be just as happy playing freely, with an adult or two watching on the sidelines? Sounds to me like the care providers' not watching them is because they're too lazy, not because it benefits the children.

And OP, please read your own words: "...we do love and trust these folks for our kids emotional health, but whether they are physically safe is another question..." What is more important than your kids safety?? As long as they're having fun, it's okay if they're seriously injured, lost, hit by a car??

I really hope you reconsider sending your kids there. At least try to look around for another place with a philosophy similar to yours.
post #42 of 77
I've been following this thread from the beginning and I have to agree that you do seem crazy.

It sounds like your day care provider is trying to guilt you into keeping your kids there because she knows no one else will fill your spot and she'll lose her income.

She may be "like a member of the family," but I have a whole slew of actual family members that I would not trust to watch my kids.
post #43 of 77
Honestly, "crazy" seems fairly mild for paying for the privilege to have your kids unsupervised and getting naked with non-family-members who are using illegal drugs.
post #44 of 77
Originally Posted by chickabiddy View Post
getting naked with non-family-members who are using illegal drugs.
Getting naked? I missed that part. The provider was actually TAKING a bath too????
post #45 of 77
my vote is: explanation was not good enough. please find another day care situation.

also? don't let anyone question what you saw/smelled regarding the situation. your memory was strongest right after the event the more you question it the more you will begin to doubt it.

if you smelled it then you know. it is VERY distinctive and there is NO WAY that you could mistake incense for pot. you know this.
post #46 of 77
Wow. just wow.

First of all. Yes, it is an issue that your neighbor doesn't know CPR/First Aid, but they do offer certification classes in Spanish, in most places. And it's not rocket science; I'm sure she could learn even from an English book, with some effort. I really don't understand what her only speaking Spanish has to do with anything. Bilingualism has been proven to give children many advantages, including children with developmental differences. Plus, if she is actually watching the children, the likelihood of her NEEDING to use CPR is a lot lower than in this free-play place.

Secondly, I am pretty "free-range" with my own kid. He plays outside by himself with the neighbor kids. I do not sit and watch him every minute in the bath. When we go to the playground I don't hover. Even if there is a scuffle/fight I let him defend himself rather than jumping in. We don't freak out about minor accidents/bumps/bruises here (and he gets his fair share, lol). So I truly do get the idea of not being a "helicopter" type of caregiver.

However, I cannot think of any situation where there are FOURTEEN children in care and one of the providers has the time to get naked and get in the tub with one of the children. even if there is truly nothing inappropriate going on, do they have any idea the s*** that would hit the fan if licensing happened to visit? I don't know ANY licensed providers who would take that kind fo chance. I think that is my biggest issue.

No matter how close you all are, during the hours that the daycare is in operation, they need to follow the rules, just like everyone else. I agree that some of the rules are dumb (does it REALLY matter if we don't hang all the posters 6 inches from the ceiling?). But their essential purpose is to prevent situations like this, where the people clearly lack the common sense and discretion to figure out what is okay and what is not.

I am not against smoking weed. I AM against using an illegal substance when you are responsible for children.

I just can't imagine taking my child back to a place that was so obviously lacking in common sense. I get the appeal of the free play thing, but just is not worth it.
post #47 of 77
14 kids? I must have missed that part. That is nuts. They couldn't pay ME to watch my kids along with that many other kids. That's not even a legal ratio - licensed or not.

OP, you can still remain in these people's lives as friends, but why on earth you would keep your children there with the info you provided is beyond me. I'm wondering if this is seriously a joke, or something.
post #48 of 77
Originally Posted by Drummer's Wife View Post
I'm wondering if this is seriously a joke, or something.

Me too. I am just finding it hard to believe that someone would knowingly choose this situation for their children.
post #49 of 77
Whether you think it is ok for the kids to free range, it is probably against the law when you are providing care.

I am not an extremist but this place needs to be shut down before someone really gets hurt!
post #50 of 77
Even with your update I still think that you shouldn't have your kids somewhere where that many kids run around unsupervised. I really don't think that this meets legal requirements for supervision of daycare children. You can call your local daycare licensing department to be sure if you care to. I never felt like my dd wasn't safe at her daycare. She attended two free play daycares that also had rules to keep all kids safe and supervision that met NAEYC adult to child ratios and the city guidelines. I think free play without adult interuption is important, but so is safety and having an accident prone child would make me even more set on putting her in a safe place where she would be supervised.

I also have to wonder if this is a joke though. Having kids unsupervised in a center where you don't feel they are safe, people are getting naked with them, and the teachers smoke pot sounds to ridiculous to be true so I truly hope it isn't.
post #51 of 77
Thread Starter 
This is no joke, but I know that stories sound exaggerated when you can't see what is happening in person.

I don't mean that they send the kids outside and don't watch them AT ALL.
They just are not "helicopter" caregivers, a term someone used earlier. In summer, the kids are outside almost the whole day, besides eating and napping. Usually one of the three is outside, doing some gardening or rock work or sitting in a chair watching the kids while one is inside cooking or watching kids. However, when a few kids want to go outside alone to play, they will let them, while watching occasionally from the window.

However, the backyard is a really cool playscape with tunnels, a zip line, etc, and you can't see all the kids at once from the window, that's what worries me. They also have a stone water fountain on the back deck of the patio that is only 2-3 inches deep that kids can step into and do water play. I've never seen kids there without being watched. They couldn't drown there unsupervised unless one of them hit their head and fell into the water and nobody came to the rescue. There are always a bunch of kids there playing at the same time. They have a few small trees that the kids climb on their own, and yes--occasionally I worry that my son will fall the wrong way and get hurt, even though it's only a few feet down, but I like the fact that he can climb trees. Many kids don't do that anymore or can't do that because their parents are too protective. I did all those things when I was a kid.

They just began taking babies, my DD was the first, and then they decided to take more infants mixed in with the older kids. Originally they were going to rent another house, but the ratio with infants is different and was too complicated and I don't believe they were able to get a license, but they do have a license for this place, because I've seen it displayed. Many of the older kids who turned 4 have now left and gone to other daycares, much to the dismay of the other caregivers here. I don't know the reason for this, but they have several more young children signed up for the coming summer. The babies would never be unsupervised, they are very clear about that. In fact, they believe in "wearing" them or spending a lot of direct contact with them, one on one. They even asked DH (who had been unemployed for a while and spent time there helping out) if he would want to work full time as an extra caregiver. They were willing to pay him good wages but then still charge each kid while he was there, and it just didn't add up for me. By the end of the month, he would have still come home with hardly nothing. He would have made sure the kids were safe, he is very good about that, and he thought it would have been a good switch from his manual labor job. I make more money in the family and have the health care, so I couldn't have done it.

My DD isn't walking yet and I might switch her to another place when she is walking, but there are not many options for babies until they get to be 18 months, except for my neighbor. This morning I took my DS to my neighbor and my DD to the daycare. I dropped my DS at the neighbor and he cried (he doesn't like it there, prefers the daycare because there is more interaction with kids and he likes his caregivers. My neighbor is ok, too, just boring), and my DD thought she was going there too and started wailing!! When I took her later to the daycare, all the tears stopped, the other caregiver held her, and she didn't even notice me! I even came back because I forgot to drop something off, and she still had not flinched from the lap of the caregiver. She was very happy, that's what makes it so hard. DD has not being going much to the neighbor and I know this is why she cries, it will just take some getting used to.

DD and I take baths all the time together. I relunctantly still do so with my DS, too, but he's getting too big soon and needs to take them on his own. Is that weird for some of you, even within your own family? I'm just trying to get a sense for normalacy here. I do trust the women at this place to take baths, but they only do so with DD, not my DS. No one else has taken a bath with any other kid that I know of, and certainly not a male (there is one male who works there). Some of the kids will take baths together, but my DS is too shy to do so, but he will with us at home. I realize the point of my story is that she was smoking weed the one time, and that was NOT safe. And I did not feel comfortable with that and I still haven't talked with her about it. Besides that one incident, I have not smelled pot on any of them or ever witnessed them doing so while taking care of kids, but I do have the feeling and the knowledge from other people that they do "light up" when their day is done. I think they realize the implications if they were to "light up" while watching kids, and I think this was a mistake. Does it make me wonder if they do it more often after seeing it with my DD? I think I would be able to tell, because I have a nose like a bear. I guess I am making excuses.

I was so adamant last week that I was taking them somewhere else, but I'm having a hard time between the safety issue and the emotional/loving issue, which I think they are very good at. I will update more. For now, my DS goes there and DD goes there one day a week. I hope I don't regret this.

post #52 of 77
The bath issue is with someone not directly related to the child taking a bath with them. To me that would be like my dc's school teacher taking a bath with the kids it just isnt right any way you look at it. It is a whole different thing when it is family.

You can love someone with your whole heart and still be bad for them. Bottom line your children's safety comes first over everything else.

If children are escaping the yard like you said in the OP then they are not being watched close enough.
post #53 of 77
wow. just wow.
post #54 of 77
It is not OK and not normal for a child care provider to take baths with your child. Seriously. sometimes I read stories like this and just wonder what your own past is that you would think that is a normal thing.

Why does a grown woman want to be naked with your child? Hello?
post #55 of 77
For the sake of the children involved, I'm praying this thread is a joke (and I'm not a religious person...)
post #56 of 77
Originally Posted by Minaret View Post
This is like an extended family, my kids love it there, and they have helped us in many other areas. (We don't have many friends--its a rather tight community and seems difficult to make new friendships), so we do love and trust these folks for our kids emotional health, but whether they are physically safe is another question... They are not pediphiles, I know that. They do have a license, and they cook all healthy meals for the kids, sing and read to them at bedtime, all kind of good stuff, but is it safe enough that I don't have to worry about them? I don't know--I don't feel completely safe, but then does anyone? I wish I could be with my children and not work full time.
NO. It is not. Look, DS's preschool is pretty groovy and free play-ish and all. The director posts here on MDC! They do NOT take baths with the kids, nor let them play outside unsupervised, nor have sharp trim on the slides, nor smoke pot while on the job, nor any of that scary stuff you're talking about. And honestly, while that playscape sounds nice, I think it requires MORE supervision than average, not less.
post #57 of 77
Your rationale for it being ok that the caregiver gets naked with your daughter does not make any sense. yes, my DS sees me naked when I bathe, but that doesn't mean he should see everyone else naked, and vice versa. There is NO excuse for any child care provider to take a bath with one of the children s/he is watching. No excuse.

Emotional health is essential. Having a loving place to take your kid is essential. However, all the emotional health and love in the world doesn't go too far if a kid escapes out the back fence and gets hit by a car. Or drowns while being unsupervised. Physical safety must take at least the same priority. For me, that's a no-brainer.
post #58 of 77
I still think it's strange, but maybe that's b/c I saw Oprah the other day with the Lisa Ling interview of the woman. It's on Oprah's website, but it does mention the sensitive topic of abuse. I am not saying that is the case here, but it does raise a number flags. I would not be comfortable with my children at that childcare center, but that is me.
post #59 of 77
I can imagine a reasonable caregiver deciding to bathe an infant during the day at daycare. I can't imagine a reasonable caregiver deciding to bathe *with* the baby.

I think you are making excuses. I think that caregivers who really care about the emotional well-being of the children in their care attempt to ensure physically safe circumstances (the fact that no major changes were made after children got out of the backyard would kill the warm fuzzies for me).

And while you say that you've seen their licensing certificate, in your shoes, I would be calling up the state licensing board to check on it. Some state licensing boards have websites, which is handy. Take a look, see the status of their license, when it expires, when it was last renewed, and then give a call and suggest that they send an inspector out that way.

I hope you don't regret this either, but I just can't get my head around the idea that you are sending your kids here every day. I would be way too worried to leave them.
post #60 of 77
I am less concerned about actual damage from taking a bath with a daycare baby than the very clear evidence that the care providers do not have appropriate boundaries.
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