Leaving Daycare

Let’s review for a second: Over the past 3 1/2 years since Jack was born, we’ve tried a few different childcare options. Our initial in-home daycare choice turned out to be a hoarder, we tried a daycare but Jack got sick so often that we left, then we had a nanny come to our house for about a year, when she moved on we started Jack at another daycare.

Okay, I think you’re all caught up.

When we started Jack at his daycare, he was almost two and we LOVED the two’s teacher. She was fantastic and I was dreading the day that Jack would age out of her class. When he turned three, he was moved into the three-year old class with a new teacher. I tried really, really hard to keep an open mind because our first teacher was admittedly a hard act to follow. However, we never totally clicked.

After a year of him being excited to go to ‘school’ and learn, suddenly he didn’t like going anymore. The three’s teacher wasn’t quite as ‘warm and fuzzy’ and Jack just didn’t seem like he was learning as much. We also had multiple issues of him saying that another kid hit him. And then Jack started hitting at home.

At this point, I started looking into other options and found a preschool that offered a Montessori-based curriculum. I was intrigued, so I did a bunch of research… but wasn’t quite ready to pull the trigger. Change is hard and I was worried about moving Jack from a place he was familiar with.

Finally, there was the last straw. One day when I picked Jack up from daycare he told me that his teacher was “not nice” because she hurt him. I asked what happened and he showed me how the teacher took his hand and twisted it around.

Immediately I was both sick to my stomach and furious. With my hands shaking, I wanted to hunt that woman down and slap the ever-living heck out of her.

However, Jack’s three and doesn’t always tell the truth… so the level-headed side of me wasn’t really sure what to do with this information. We were literally leaving for vacation the next day and his teacher was going to be on vacation the following week. Even if I had turned my truck around that instant, we wouldn’t see her for 2 weeks AND I wasn’t sure at that time whether the hand twisting had actually happened.

However, when we asked him casually over the next few days why his teacher was not nice, he repetitively showed the exact same hand motion…convincing me that it had probably happened.

I still didn’t feel comfortable making a report to the center director though, because it was very possible that Jack might not be telling the truth. The teacher had 20+ years of experience and it just doesn’t seem fair to tarnish that based on the word of a 3 year old.

I was done though. I made an appointment to observe the new school the day we got back from vacation and was so impressed that I immediately filled out all the paperwork and wrote out a check.

Jack started at his new preschool a few weeks ago and the transition seems to be going quite well. We decided to increase his days to three each week (he was doing just two) in order to give him a more ‘typical’ schedule before kindergarten in a couple years. He still misses a friend from his old school (I left a note in his cubby asking his mom to reach out if she’d like to do a play date… but haven’t heard anything), but seems to be making new friends easily.

Jack says he has fun in his new classroom and especially likes the outdoor playground, garden and chickens. I’m hoping to see some behavior changes and I’m also crossing my fingers that we can get over that last hurdle of potty training issues.

As for his old school, even though it’s been 6 weeks since the hand-twisting incident I still wonder if I did the right thing.

Part of me feels like I should have reported the incident to the director, but I didn’t want Jack to spend the next two weeks with the teacher after that conversation (we had to give two weeks notice before we left). I was considering reporting her after we had moved on, but I heard through the grapevine that she was going to be leaving soon. I don’t know if there were other instances like the one with Jack, or what… but it seemed like it wasn’t going to be her choice to leave. Having lost a job myself, I certainly feel for her. However, in her case it may have been best for her to move on.

I’m curious, what would you have done?

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8 thoughts on “Leaving Daycare”

  1. Non parent’s 2 cents. It sounds like the daycare wasn’t a good fit for Jack. I think you probably did the right thing not mentioning the hand twisting. I feel like I could easily be holding my nephew’s hand only to have him wiggle and twist away and manage to hurt himself. Especially if I were trying to keep him out of the street or away from a strange dog or something. Neither of which are likely scenarios at daycare, but given toddler twistiness, it’s totally possible that Jack WAS telling the truth but it was all accidental. Then again, if the daycare is about to can her maybe she is kind of awful. Hard to say, but I’m glad he’s happier with the school he’s in now.

    1. When I asked him to describe what happened in the situation, it didn’t sound like it was accidental. But, like I said… he’s 3 and he likes to make things up sometimes. Just the other day he told me that he didn’t have lunch and we literally just finished eating!

  2. To be honest, I think that the previous school should have asked YOU why you were leaving. Taking your child out abruptly (even with two week notice) should have raised some sort of flag for the school.

    And, if asked, you should have answered honestly.

    I’m glad though that you believed Jack. It teaches him a very important lesson – that he can trust you and that you will protect him if someone is hurting him.

    I read a (wiki) article about Sesame Street recently that is (sort of) relevant. Apparently, part of the reason that Sesame Street decided to make the adults believe that Snuffy was real (even though they never saw him)was due to some high-profile cases of child sexual abuse in the mid 80s. They wanted kids to know that if they came to adults that they would be believed.


    1. Thanks Diana, that’s really interesting. At this point, do you think I should email the daycare and tell them… or is it a moot point since I heard the teacher may have been let go for other reasons?

    2. I agree with Diana. The school should have given you the opportunity to address the reason(s) you were leaving. But, that’s a “should have,” so it’s a moot point. I honestly don’t know what I’d do. I don’t have kids, but I think I would tell the school even though you already left. If I were the parent of another child at that school, I think I’d appreciate it.

      1. I think (and you know I don’t have kids yet) I would send a letter indicating your reasons for leaving. I would lay out some of the things you said above – great experience in 2 y.o. class, but in the 3 y.o. class it was not as good of a fit, Jack didn’t seem to be learning as much, didn’t gel very well with the teaching style, etc. Then I would go on to say that there was another incident that concerned you and you wanted to make them aware. You can even explain that you understand that children may misunderstand or misinterpret a situation, but you didn’t want to take a chance and just wanted them to be aware.

  3. I think I would have talked to the teacher. Listen to her side. It’s going to always bug you that you didn’t. I wouldn’t go over the woman’s head and talk to the director first — that would be weird. Just a face to face with the teacher. I know it would have been hard and I know it sounds all easy on my end. I have a wonderfully kind but confrontational husband and he always does these kinds of things for us! (Go get your hubs to do it.)

    1. Honestly, if it had been his last teacher I would have felt totally comfortable saying something. I just never really hit it off with this teacher and didn’t feel comfortable saying anything. Especially if my son had to be in her class for 2 more weeks…

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