how do we do this (preschool transition) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 09-25-2008, 08:18 AM - Thread Starter
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So we have decided to pull dd from her current preschool (many, many red flags, but it's the only local, car-free option, and has the bonus of being bliingual). We have felt very uncomforable since day 1 and a few recent incidents (asking 3 year olds to draw burning houses...houses in part of a theme on safety !!???? one small example) have sealed the deal. To top it off, we just found out there is space in our old MUCH LOVED preschool. We are going to drive dd 20 minutes...and it is so worth it!
We're not too worried about dd, who is going back to a place she loves. But, we have a few issues:
-we want to make this as easy as possible on her--she's had a lot of transitions lately (new baby, new house) and will be saying goodbye to new friends etc.
-we want to withdraw gracefully...this is a small community and we have met many lovely people in the 2.5 weeks we've been there...people we plan to continue to attend playgroups with and have playdates with...people we will likely be in public school with in 2 years time.
-We would like to convey some of our MANY concerns to the teachers...but given that we have already decided to leave, not sure if this is a good idea/necessary.

-We will be gving the school written notice, .likely on Friday. (they need two weeks) and then we will start taking dd to our new/old place as early as next week. Should we do some kind of big goodbye with the school for dd...or just talk to the moms we know & say how we'd like to keep in touch....

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#2 of 4 Old 10-07-2008, 11:55 AM
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I'm bumping this because I'm in a similar situation and am looking both for advice and am curious what you did.

DS has been in a language immersion preschool for a year now and, while he likes it there, the quality of the school has been steadily declining with a much greater focus on academics and very poor handling of the immersion model. (I can say that having taught the same language using a supported immersion model for nearly a decade.) He has a couple of friends there, he likes his teachers and he likes the activities, but as parents, we are getting tired of the absolute lack of communication from the staff and how the teachers are so uncommitted to using the target language. He attends 3 days a week right now.

DS is also enrolled two days a week in our local Waldorf school, where he will be, finances willing, attending elementary school when he hits school age. We are much more satisfied with the teacher and the school in general. The teacher has told me that she has space for DS for the rest of the week if we were to choose that option.

As the one who has worked so hard to raise my son bilingual, I'm saddened at the prospect of pulling him out of a setting where he has other adults speaking his 2nd language to him, so I'm trying to find the tipping point where I say "okay, this is too much and outweighs the benefits"... and to know how to help DS transition out of a school where he's been for a year when the unhappiness with the school really stems from our experience as parents and not his experience.

...soliciting ANY and all of your thoughts!

: mama to T 9/04 and E 11/08
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#3 of 4 Old 10-07-2008, 06:30 PM
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I'll just speak to what I did and from my own opinion. We transferred ds from a preschool he'd been at for 3 years (was a daycare/preschool before he was actually in "preschool"). It wasn't a horrible place, but it didn't meet his needs, imo. We were able to use the summer as a transition, and that worked out nicely, but obviously you're not able to do that. You could take dc for a couple of visits to the new school, so he can get comfortable with it, and you could talk about it excitedly. I think the best way to deliver hard news is to do it sensitively and matter-of-factly - "In November, you will get to go to New School for school." It's good that you are going to stay in touch with kids from your old school; that may make the transition easier.

As far as saying something to the teachers, I probalby wouldn't say anything on the way out the door. Especially since it's a small town. Probably, I'd have addressed my main concerns at the time they occurred. If you've done that, then they know why you're leaving. If not, then you haven't burned any bridges. When I wrote the withdrawal letter to ds's school, I thought about listing the things that made me unhappy, but I decided to stay on their good side, just in case things didn't work out with the other place.

As for other parents, I'd just say that the new school meets your family's needs better. You don't have to be specific, if you don't want to be.

It's frustrating that the schools are both bilingual schools! I could completely identify with that frustration. We're not in an area with any language immersion programs/bilingual schools, so we don't have that option. I will say that with just my husband (and me) in a VERY English-speaking community, ds has done very well and is very bilingual. Even if his schools aren't. I think his overall education and well-being is most important in this case.

Best of luck to you both!
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#4 of 4 Old 10-11-2008, 11:38 PM
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Since your child was only there a very short time, it makes sense to have the goodbye be proportionate to the time. A brief goodbye and a lot of excitement about going back to "old friends" while acknowledging that dd will still see "new friends" at play dates, etc. With the other adults, you can just say it wasn't a good fit for your child. You can put your concerns in writing to the director. It may help them learn and shift their direction a bit if they do get your feedback.


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