I'm having some concerns about our daycare center. I have three sons, one who started at the center we use now, and is now in 2nd grade. The other two sons are 21 months and 3 1/2 years old. In early January, 4 of the teachers we liked best quit. They got into a dispute with the owner about pay and benefits, and gave two weeks notice. She told them not to return to work. This really was awful for the parents and the kids -- no goodbye.
Since then, it's been rough -- preschool has been okay because the lead teacher is still there, is wonderful, and so my 3 1/2 year old wasn't as affected. But the 21 month old was like velcro for weeks afterward -- very clingy with me, very needy. And that's because he was so attached to two of the four who left, and was just transitioning to a new classroom, and when they left, he was left with teachers he hardly knew.
I feel like the director is great with kids and has a knack for picking good teachers, but as a manager, she's got some weaknesses. The question is whether I can live with these. She's not so great at organization and planning, but the one that bothers me most is her seeming desire to have things look and sound good, and her aversion to delivering bad news in a simple and direct way. There has been a good deal of concealing... examples:
When the four staff members (all related to each other) walked out, she said that they "tenured their resignation without notice." Later that day, they contacted me to say that they HAD given notice, wanted to say goodbye, love my kids, and were TOLD not to come back. Apparently, things got ugly in the meeting where they asked for more money, protested certain rules, etc, and they walked out with 2 weeks notice and then the director told them not to come back. I think she was was afraid of them poaching clients, or else poisoning the place with their discontent. Either way, less than honest and straightforward with me about what happened.
About two weeks into our short staffed situation,Director sends a memo home on a Thursday evening saying that K, one of the toddler teachers, will be out for a week starting the next day because her husband is having a hip replacement. Okay, life happens, and I don't hold it against K in anyway. But such surgeries are usually planned months in advance. K said when I asked her that she knew since November that he would have surgery in late Jan or early Feb, but was pretty dodgy about when the date was nailed down. I'm thinking weeks in advance. I called Director that evening to tell her how disappointed I was at the short notice, and how I couldn't imagine she just found out about this a few days ago. She said she wanted to be sure to have a plan in place before letting people know. I told her the more I know, the better I do. I also thought to myself that in retrospect, I wish she had told us about this surgery the day the 4 who quit quit, by way of letting parents know about upcoming challenges. We could have all pitched in -- I would certainly have given a half or full day of my time, and I know other parents would have as well. Instead, we found out about the situation too late to do anything about it.
Last week, I noticed that one of the preschool teachers she recently hired to work 8 to 2 wasn't there all week, so I asked DS's favorite teacher if she was still working for the center. She informed me that said teacher was having medical issues and had been told to cut back her work hours by her medical team. 3 memos in the past two weeks came home about new hires and how all of the changes are an opportunity to "renew and refresh", and how excited she is about the new toddler teacher, and none of them mentioned this. Again, concealment, as I see it. And, as I said to DH last week, it's not one affair or act of concealment, it's more like a state of affairs.
In summary, I think DS does well with the preschool teacher, but aside from her, there isn't muchholding me to that center anymore.
I visited another center on campus of the hospital where I work, I'll call it BH. I liked BH and really felt like the classrooms were set up to facilitate learning and exploration, and that all of the teachers I met were educators, not just caregivers. But, a move can be difficult, and although BH is close to where I work now, what if I have to change jobs? BH also provides good benefits, including health insurance, something our current center does not do. If I'm going to pay an arm and a leg for childcare, I'd like to know that my money is providing decent support to my kids' teachers.
I spoke with another parent who works at the hospital and recently moved her kids to BH. She said the transition was tough and she wished that the teachers helped her kids adjust more. But, she said she likes the curriculum at BH a lot, and that the teachers are generally happy and all have been there for a number of years (NO turnover). They boys visited BH and liked it a lot, enjoyed exploring there, and I sense they would do well there. I just dread making the move. Any advice on how to the move easier on them?? It's one thing to have a couple of fun visits there, another to be dropped off to spend the whole day!