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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, so there have been a series of things happening lately at DD's daycare center. I guess in general I have gotten a bit down about the whole place and I was hoping to get some perspective here.<br><br>
I posted a week or so about the unhealthy snacks they provide, which the owners claim is because they "don't have the budget". Well, I have set up an agreement with DD's teacher to give her only the snacks I provide. I haven't discussed any of this with the management at this point, mainly because I don't have that much time to deal with it. I also found out that in the two-year-old room they try to phase out sippy cups. Well, DD has used an enclosed straw cup, instead of a traditional sippy cup since she was 12 or 13 months old. That is what I send with her everyday. The teachers are apparently told to empty the water into a regular cup for the kids to use. Fine, whatever, it's kind of silly. DD knows how to use a regular cup and does so all the time at home so I am not worried about her getting opportunities to do so. My main concern is that she gets offered water enough during the day. I did express this to the director last week and she says they offer water when they come in from outside and at meals. I still am not convinced that this is enough. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">:<br><br>
Recently, there have been a number of teachers who have either been fired or have left. This company has one other location, so with the one teacher she might have gone there I don't know. But two have been fired, and at least two others have left with the last 2-3 months. Maybe this is normal, I don't know.<br><br>
And then, they fired the director yesterday. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/huh.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="huh"> I know that these things are bound to happen, however, this woman, "Terry", was the best one on the staff at interacting with the parents. I really liked her. She was a very professional person and always took the time for me anytime I called or stopped into the office. The letter that went out stated that there were "philosophical and policy" differences between "Terry" and the owners. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll"> I just can't help but feel like Terry really had the childrens' and parents' best interests at heart and I think the owners are more interested in their policies and their numbers. Terry also had her 9-month-old in care there.<br><br>
The assistant director, "Sharon", will become the director. To give some background: One morning a few months ago, I was dropping DD off in her classroom. There was only one teacher and five children. Our state's ratio is 1:3 for 18-24 months (which she was at the time). Sharon happened to stop by the room--she was showing a parent of a new child where their room was. I asked her if there was going to be another teacher coming in. She didn't even seem to know what I meant at first. I had to restate what I said and point out the number of children. Then she said to me, with her back turned to the teacher standing right there <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/disappointed.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="disappointed"> , "if the teacher sees that the number of children is too high, they are supposed to call on the phone for another teacher." Then she started to go about her business. Then she says to me, "It's all a numbers game." I was left standing there picking my jaw up from the ground. I felt like decking her honestly. I mean, I realize it's about the numbers. That's precisely why I had been asking about it. However, as the assistant director of the center, you don't tell a parent that their child is part of a numbers game. And then she didn't actually do anything about what I had asked--she stood there like I wasn't even there until I left.<br><br>
Well, I could kick myself, because I never said anything to the other management staff about this. I said I would and then I didn't. And now this woman, who I had managed to avoid since then, is now the new director. Not that it sounds like it would have had any effect. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">:<br><br>
My husband has had to interact with Sharon a few times and agrees with me, that she is just a nasty person. She is very fake and condescending. She has done nothing to redeem herself at all that I can see. So, basically, they got rid of the only person who was really good at interacting with parents. I don't mean that Terry made problems magically go away, but she at least gave you the sense that you were heard and that there was some concern about it. And they replaced her with the exact opposite.<br><br>
Anyway, another thing that happened is probably an isolated incident, but two days ago, my daughter's fingers got pinched in a door at school. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/mecry.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="crying"> My DD's teacher, who is <i>wonderful</i>, "Margie", told me at least this much of the story. Apparently what happened was that a staff member, whose name I was not given, came down to my DD's classroom to tell them to "keep the noise down" and proceeded to close the door to their room, not paying attention and she caught my DD's fingers in the door. Can you believe it?! It's a daycare center! And two-year-olds! Margie says this woman comes down to her room all the time and complains about the noise. And then she isn't even paying attention to the kids. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shake.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shake"> Now I am in the position of knowing what happened and wanting to make a formal complaint, but I don't want to get Margie in trouble. I don't think she was supposed to tell me who it was. I mean, what should I do here?<br><br>
Today when I dropped DD off the new director, Sharon, stopped by her room. She says to the teacher, "we have inventory today," and "you know I am going to work you today." I am sitting here thinking, one, what inventory? Secondly, when are these teachers supposed to do this inventory? Shouldn't they be 100% focused on the kids? I was thinking maybe they have a floating schedule where a teacher gets a break from the kids on a given week and they do administrative things, but I just don't see that kind of availability of their staff. They are running with the bare minimum of people there. Should I ask about this?<br><br>
Clearly also this woman was trying to establish her authority right at the outset. Maybe I was imagining things, but I don't think the teachers are thrilled about the news either.<br><br>
I guess this is all for now. I just feel down about it and I wish I could ask other parents how their experiences have been, however I don't know how to do that. I don't really see that many of them as I drop my DD pretty early and DH picks her up. And I think the management would get really weird about it. Not that they would have a right to, but I don't know if I am ready to be that parent, yk? Also, it seems to me that they have a lot less kids than they did when DD started back in January. Maybe it's just me or it's the summer, I don't know. Maybe everyone is pulling their kids out and I don't know about it.<br><br>
Additionally, there really aren't many centers around where I live. I am really not comfortable with home daycares, nothing personal to anyone who has them or uses them. It's just not for our family. The preschool I really like is really out of the way for us and has annual registration only in March for a July start. I don't really have many other options that I know of.<br><br>
So, I am hoping for some feedback from you wise mamas! Do I need to write a letter, pull her out, or do nothing and hope it gets better?<br><br>
Today for the first time on the way to school, which is what we call it, DD says to me, "No school, no school." <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/bawling.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="bawl">
 

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Well I'm not sure that I have much advice to offer. If it were me, I would probably not stay with the center. If your state requires home daycares to be licensed, you may want to reconsider. There are many wonderful programs out there and they are closely monitored by the state. I run a home program and try to keep parents feelings as informed and safe as possible.<br><br>
Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>EStraiton</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Well I'm not sure that I have much advice to offer. If it were me, I would probably not stay with the center. If your state requires home daycares to be licensed, you may want to reconsider. There are many wonderful programs out there and they are closely monitored by the state. I run a home program and try to keep parents feelings as informed and safe as possible.<br><br>
Good luck!</div>
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I may have to consider one, but it will be time consuming to do so. Our state does requires licenses.<br><br>
One of my concerns is that I started to go through the licensing process because I thought I wanted to start a home daycare. I was surprised to learn what is and isn't checked in our state and what is and isn't allowed. I just don't feel the regulations are stringent enough. One example is that you are allowed to have guns in the house if they are in a locked cabinet. That is all. A gun behind any kind of cabinet with a single key lock. Sure I can ask in the interview process and not choose someone who has weapons in their home, but why can't the regs just be stricter, yk?<br><br>
Also, I don't think the drop-in checks are frequent enough.
 

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Yes I would not want a provider who kept weapons in the home. And I would want serious reference checks, etc. but there are plenty of really good providers that you can feel safe with - just may need to interview until it feels right for you.<br><br>
For me, I prefer home care for my children (even before I did it myself) because I wanted the one-on-one care, the security and warmth of a home-like environment and a family type setting. I have a natural childcare directory on my site of providers that follow AP and other alternative parenting choices but I just started it so not a lot listed yet... not sure what state you are in but here is the link:<br><br><a href="http://www.naturalparentingnetwork.com/childcaredirectory.html" target="_blank">http://www.naturalparentingnetwork.c...directory.html</a><br><br>
Good luck mama!
 

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When I started back to work, my dd was 3 mos. She went to an in-home day care. I knew the dcp well and as a matter of fact, my sister's kids LOVED her. Well within one month I was told by the dcp to find another provider b/c I breastfed and my dd was too attached to me. She also stated she would never watch another breastfed baby again, they are too hard <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/dizzy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Dizzy">: . Fortunately, my aunt took my dd and watched her for me. Her dd had breastfed and she knew all about it bfing and she never had a problem w/my dd. My aunt told me my dd was the best child she ever kept (that included her own grandchildren). Well, two years later my aunt could no longer keep her and we tried a different in-home day care. This time, my dd loved it. She stayed there for a year and then I sent her to an actual center for pre-school. The center was nice and very structered. My dd was there for a year before going on to Kindergarten. At the center there were probably two occasions where I had to be called and an incident report filled out. The first one, the teacher accidently hit dd w/the door (she said she didn't realize dd was behind the door), the 2nd incident, a little boy had been having a fit and threw books all over the place and one of them landed in my dd's face. Now that dd is out of school, she went back to the 2nd in-home provider and prefered being there over the center. Anyway, one thing that I learned was that accidents do happen, but more importantly, although the center had a lot of acitivities and such, my dd is not one for alot of confusion and alot of loud, screaming, etc. As a matter of fact, sometimes if the kids at the center got too out of control, they would actually take my dd out and walk her around b/c she would get so flustered and upset, she couldn't handle all that nonsense. I'm just glad I was able to find a provider who had the time and energy to focus a little more on my child as an individual than just another "spot" filled.
 

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I would definitely take my child out of that center. I hope you can find something else that you can all be happy with.<br><br>
Amy
 

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A certian amount of turnover is normal but this situation sounds like the teachers are jumping ship. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
I'd start looking for a different situation right away. Trust your gut feelings - especially about the new director. It seems she is more concerned with running a business than actually seeing the children are cared for. I think there is a line between annoying things (like the straw cup thing) and red flags - like the ratio in the room not being legal.<br><br>
Im so sorry mama <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 

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Gosh, this daycare sounds alot like the first daycare we had our DS in. They didn't keep a close eye on the ratios. They would also switch the caregivers around in the classrooms without notifying the parents. The lead teacher in my son's class was out sick almost every week. It made it extremely difficult for DS to settle in with all the changes. The food was horrible too. I complained about the ratios to management and they hired several rotating substitutes. I was impressed with their desire to improve but things still just didn't seem right for DS. We left after 4 months when a spot opened up at one of the places that had a long waiting list. It was also our #1 pick but it just took a while to get DS in. The new place only closes the classroom doors at naptime. Otherwise they use baby gates. This prevents all the finger pinching in doors. They also have a happy staff that gets bonuses at Xmas and for their B'days. They have health insurance and tuition reimbursement (they require at least a 2 yr degree but many of them are in school pursuing their bachelor's). We certainly pay for all the extras the teachers get but we also benefit from it as well. The turnover is the lowest in the city. When teachers do leave, they wait until the start of the new school year so the kids are not disrupted anymore than necessary. The food is healthy and the caregivers and directors are loving. These are the things that make a great daycare center. I hope you will find someplace better soon. It sounds like the problems will never be solved at your current daycare until it changes owners.<br><br>
Kim
 

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You seem to have a lot of strong feelings about this place already. Trust your instincts.
 

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This sounds similar to what happened at dd's first daycare. Really loved it then the director got interested in maximizing profit. We could never find out really how dd's day was b/c teachers got switched around so much. Then favorite teachers began to leave. Fortunately for me a co-worker who is much more outgoing than me also used that daycare. She started calling favorite teachers up to find out where they were going. Then called me and both of our daughters basically followed their favorite teachers. And we're in a daycare now that does have some turnover but the classes are smaller, the teachers are there all day and they're paid better with benefits.<br><br>
Personally, no offense to anyone who runs one, I was never interested in a home daycare. All the ones we looked at had TV time of 1 hour or more per day. The 10 kids to 1 person ratio also made us nervous my dd's 2-3 year old room has 10 kids and 2 teachers. Not to mention I didn't know who we could use as backup should the home dcp get sick or decide to take a vacation. At least at our daycare center there is a floater, the director, who can fill in when someone is sick.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I should have said that I think that in general our center <i>is</i> conscientious about ratios, I just think that Sharon was being very defensive about it in that situation I described. I think she didn't want to be called on it--she wanted to be in control and she clearly wasn't. And then she quickly blamed it on the teacher standing right there. So not cool. Terry, the now former director, was always trying to keep tabs on the ratios, but she was honest too, and would tell you if the teachers were slacking a little or if they were having trouble with the scheduling. Mistakes I can handle. An attitude of "we know what's going on, you don't need to be concerned with it", is hard to tolerate.<br><br>
And that said, I think there are problems. Thank you <i>so much</i> for your feedback, mamas--it's really helping me sort things out in my head. A few things you all mentioned above that ring very true for us are:<br><br><i>Anyway, one thing that I learned was that accidents do happen, but more importantly, although the center had a lot of acitivities and such, my dd is not one for alot of confusion and alot of loud, screaming, etc. As a matter of fact, sometimes if the kids at the center got too out of control, they would actually take my dd out and walk her around b/c she would get so flustered and upset, she couldn't handle all that nonsense.</i><br><br>
My DD is like this. I feel like she is getting used to it a bit...sadly. I feel bad that I have forced this on her.<br><br><i>I think there is a line between annoying things (like the straw cup thing) and red flags - like the ratio in the room not being legal.</i><br><br>
Yeah, ITA. I don't know why I mentioned the sippy cup thing, I think it was a follow-up to my food post. I am just frustrated with the food issue and am frankly kind of mad that they are blaming it on the budget. And I am mad that they are more concerned with outlawing sippy cups in the two-year-old room than they are with buying nutritious food, yk?<br><br><i>The new place only closes the classroom doors at naptime. Otherwise they use baby gates. This prevents all the finger pinching in doors.</i><br><br>
DD's teacher has the kids put their hands on their heads anytime they are coming in or out of a doorway. She says it's a fun game for them and then she knows that their hands are always away from the hinges. A super idea I think. Our center has the doors and wooden gates attached. I rarely see the doors closed actually.<br><br><i>We could never find out really how dd's day was b/c teachers got switched around so much. Then favorite teachers began to leave.</i><br><br>
That's how it seems at our place.<br><br><i>Fortunately for me a co-worker who is much more outgoing than me also used that daycare. She started calling favorite teachers up to find out where they were going.</i><br><br>
And that's what I think I need. Some sense of what is going on, but I am not pushy enough to do it. Did she call them at home? How did she get their numbers?<br><br>
Thanks!<br><br>
ETA, the general vibe I get from the center is that they are very concerned with meeting the licensing requirements, but just want to meet the bare minimum they have to. So they become nuts about policies and really stop focusing on all the other stuff--that is stuff that's really important. And I think they will lose a lot of business this way. It may be slow in happening, but it will happen. And they might not realize it until it's too late. It's a shame because I was happy with it at first. And now I just feel like an idiot and have the mama guilt because I chose a crappy place for my DD. I know I shouldn't feel like this but I do, yk?
 

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Mama, there are definitely some red flags there. One thing I've figured out with putting my ds is daycare is that there are things that I don't necessarily agree with, but they aren't putting my ds in danger. So, the cup thing, the types of food they serve, etc - well, I may not like it - but it's not putting ds in danger (although I do think they should offer drink more frequently at your center.)<br><br>
But, high turnover, in general can be expected at a daycare center. I used to take care of enforcement of the daycare ordinances in our smaller community and we saw high turnover like this at MOST centers (we actually tracked each employee/training/and fingerprinted them.) BUT, the HIGHEST turnovers we saw were in facilities that just weren't financially stable, hired whoever they could b/c someone quit unexpectedly, and didn't have a good working relationship with the parents.<br><br>
The truth about ratios is that, yes, there are LEGAL teacher/child ratios - but things do happen that impede this. Someone unexpectedly called in sick, someone quit, etc. In that case, there should be a director who can "work the floor". But, unfortunately, it does't always happen this way. But, if it's consistent - then there is a PROBLEM. Whether that be staffing, financial, etc.<br><br>
With the high turnover and inappropriate staff/child ratios - I would be concerned. And, if I were you, I would check to see if there is a Child Care Resource and Referral Office that you can contact (these are generally state-run and each area of the state is divided into regions.) Then, I would call to see if they have any complaints from parents on file. (They should divulge this info to you if your child is a student there - they did in our state anyway.) And, if that doesn't work - try contacting the City and asking if the daycare records for that center are considered public information - then request copies of all complaints. (And, if licensing is state mandated rather than City - follow the same procedure above, but with the state daycare licensing office.) This is all providing that you are considering keeping your child in this center.<br><br>
Otherwise, I'd be tempted to start looking elsewhere for childcare. And, even though it's tempting - I wouldn't discount home daycares. Some states require licensing - and believe me, checks are done no less frequently for home providers than for centers. (Most states do checks 1-2x/yr no matter the type of facility.)<br><br>
My ds has always been in home daycare and will be until he starts preschool. I feel much more comfortable knowing WHO ds will be with all day, everyday. That he'll get the attention and adult interaction that he needs and loves and that she'll make sure he eats LUNCH <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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Sounds similar to daycare dd use to attend. She would cry of a morning not wanting to go. She too had her fingers slammed in a door. A teacher didn't see them in the door and shut it. I was called at work because her two fingers turned black and blue and ice was not helping the pain. I signed and accident report and got a copy for my files. I took her to get checked out and pulled her out the next day. Found a family run daycare that does have a waiting list and we had to leave her with grandparents until the spot came open. I believe it was about 2 weeks. She has been there ever since and she loves going to preschool.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>MoonJelly</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">So, I am hoping for some feedback from you wise mamas! Do I need to write a letter, pull her out, or do nothing and hope it gets better?</div>
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I think you've already answered your own question. Pull her out.
 

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The daycare we were at, the teachers were also willing to babysit on the weekends. So my co-worker had some home numbers via that. Also one daycare worker that was still there was a good teacher that she felt comfortable pulling aside and talking to to find out what was going on. Fortunately dh is also good at talking to people to feel comfortable asking the tough questions when necessary.<br><br>
I really think one of the best things is to have contact with other parents at a daycare regardless of whether it's home or center. My co-worker and I compare notes and present a united front when something needs to be dealt with.<br><br>
Also at least in Vermont we have a website you can go to to look up violations and complaints. So you might be able to get better insight into whether everyone is leaving or if it's summertime. I do know in my experience the centers we've been in summer is a much quieter time.<br><br>
Overall, you sound uncomfortable. It's hard enough being a wohm so you really should feel good about your daycare. Or at least confident. This is a good time to start looking around since summer is slower before the fall rush begins.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>MoonJelly</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">So, I am hoping for some feedback from you wise mamas! Do I need to write a letter, pull her out, or do nothing and hope it gets better?<br><br>
Today for the first time on the way to school, which is what we call it, DD says to me, "No school, no school." <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/bawling.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="bawl"></div>
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Pull her out. You've mentioned too many negatives, IMHO. I cannot see that writing a letter will do much good to change ALL of those things.
 

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If your DD isn't comfortable there anymore, and your gut is telling you something is wrong, by all means pull her. It's not worth worrying about her all day while you're at work.
 

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I would be out of there ASAP. It is not a good situation. Clearly, their priority is not the children and I would not be comfortable with that one bit.<br><br>
Maybe Marge knows how you can contact the old director who you liked. She may have be able to recommend another school - directors have connections.<br><br>
I would be on the phone to my first choice and see if they have any openings. Registration twice a year is normal but kids can move out of town during the interrim, there could be a spot.<br><br>
Allie
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Well, a couple of good things happened since I last wrote. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"><br><br>
One thing is that I have called around to some other centers. I found one center I didn't even know existed and it's just as close. And I found out about another but I have to call back to find out if it's open to all public as it is located in a private Catholic school.<br><br>
I also sent an email to a mom friend who I know from a playgroup while I was a SAHM. I had known she was looking for a daycare starting in August when she goes back to teaching. I know she toured our center several times. I trust her judgment and I knew she probably checked out all the centers in the area. Well, she wrote back today and said she has registered for our place. She said, out of all of them, she was happiest with ours. I had mentioned I was looking around, so naturally she became concerned. I shared with her about the firing of the director and a few other things but without as much detail. We'll see what she says. However, I already feel <i>a lot</i> better that if we stay I will know another mom there. Yay! And our girls would be in the same room after September. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
The other development is that my DD has a new second teacher as of this morning! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"> She will take the early shift in DD's classroom. So now she won't have to go into the older twos room from 7:30-9 with a floating teacher. Plus, this new teacher has a calm, quiet demeanor which my DD does really well with. I guess she had been visiting this week and DD already knows her a bit and went right to her today with no fussing and seemed really comfortable with her. And with DD being able to be in her own classroom, it will be quieter just for the simple fact that there will be less kids, and who are younger, and frankly, a lot quieter. The older twos room has two kids who just started daycare for the first time and are, naturally, pretty upset about it. They are often crying and it always seems to upset DD, and for that matter it upsets me too! She seemed <i>so</i> relieved to be able to go into her own classroom right away this morning. She had been saying "Margie, Margie" all the way down the hall because I know she didn't want to go into the other room. Now DD will have a little more stability and comfort. I am really, really, relieved. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/happytears.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="happytears">:<br><br>
So, while I still may move her at some point, at least I can relax a little while she is still there. If she likes the teachers, that is what really matters. Maybe the changes are related to the new structure of management, I don't know. Personally, I just think it's coincidence, but I will try to keep an open mind about this new director--at least for a while. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="innocent"> Maybe there will be some other good changes. Also, this morning I saw one of DD's old teachers who I thought had quit and she's still there--another good thing as she's a really good one.<br><br>
Thanks, mamas, once again, for all the helpful words. I will keep you updated. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 
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