Ayden was bouncing off the walls excited for the first day of school. There was NO apprehension about starting at a new preschool, for either kid. Rylee was excited too, but Ayden was beyond excited. He woke up by himself at 6:30 (not unusual), cracked open his bedroom door but then shut it again. He got dressed all by himself (he picked out his clothes and laid them out the night before), then came out and wanted his breakfast. Then he was asking to get his teeth brushed. I made him wait on that, because I thought he might want more to eat when Rylee ate her breakfast.
We ended up having to wake Rylee up at 7:00. She wasn't quite ready to get out of bed, until I reminded her that she got to wear her new Rapunzel dress to school. That's what SHE was most excited about!
Tony took the day off work so he could be there for their first day of school drop off and pick up, with the plan of also getting some more stuff done around our new house (still lots of cleaning, painting, unpacking, settling in to do). The kids were excited that we both would be taking them to school.
|They were pretty skinkin cute!|
|Ayden is pretty adamant about wanting to stay a kid "forever and ever"|
They are going to a small private Christian Academy this year, which offers grades preschool all the way through high school. There's only 72 kids in the whole school, so it is pretty small, but Ayden and Rylee's preschool class has 18 students. Not small. No big deal since they had 18-20 last year, but they also had at least 3 teachers every single day. This year there is one teacher, and a teacher's assistant, only 2 teachers to the 18 preschoolers.
I digress though. The drop off process was chaos. I expected that since it was the first day of school. They had each of the grades line up, then they went into the sanctuary by class, leaving their backpacks in the lobby lined up. Then they went through morning announcements (which really don't apply to the preschoolers at all), say the Pledge of Allegiance, introduced all the teachers, and sang a few worship songs. After all that, the kindergarten and preschool classes lined up to use the bathroom before heading to their individual classes. This took forever. Finally they were ready to head to their class, only the teacher forgot to have them grab their backpacks. Tony and I, and a few other parents went back to grab all the bags.
Once everyone got settled into the classroom, the teacher did a roll call. It was the most awkward thing ever, which is also the best way to describe this preschool teacher. She didn't even know that one of the kids goes by Topher instead of Christopher. The TA knew, and even Tony and I had already picked up on that before this point. There were no name tags at the tables for the kids. No name tags where the kids were supposed to hang up their backpacks. No name tags for the kids so the teachers could learn their names!!!!
Tony and I left after the roll call. There was only one other mom still in the classroom at that point; everyone else had already left. As soon as we got in the car, I told Tony how disappointed I was. REALLY disappointed. This was not the teacher I had interviewed last spring. This teacher was not personable, and she definitely didn't seem at ease with a group of preschoolers. Not only was she extremely unorganized and not prepared, she was super awkward. She never approached a single parent or child at the beginning, only introducing herself if approached.
The saving grace is that I do like the TA and I am sooooo grateful that she will be helping in their class. The other positive is that we left feeling very proud and relieved that Ayden and Rylee are so well adjusted. They were able to roll with the flow, and were well behaved throughout the chaos, despite it taking an HOUR before they actually were settled into their classroom and did something.
After we picked up the kids two hours later, we took them to the park and out for frozen yogurt to "celebrate" their first day of school. While Tony and I are extremely disappointed, they at least had fun and were excited to go back.
On Friday, their second day of school, I stayed once again (I was the only parent that did) to see if it got any better. I stayed through the morning announcements, pledges, and singing. I waited through the long bathroom line before heading to their classroom. One little boy had an accident and the TA took him to help change his clothes. Once we finally all got to the classroom, the kids were asked to find seats at the tables and be quiet. There were a few scuffles over who got to sit where, because once again, there were no assigned seats. The teacher then waited for the TA to get back with the other little boy before getting started. When she did arrive, the TA started to make name tags for the kids. Ummmm, you'd think that would have been done in advance? While this was going on, the teacher gathered all the kids to sit around her on the floor while she sat in a chair, where she proceeded to say about a 20 second prayer. Then they all had to take seats at the tables again. You guys, this was a 20 minute process of kids finding seats and lots of shhh-ing from the teacher. So for 50 minutes, from the start of school, these 3-4 year olds are expected to sit, stand in line, and be quiet. On the agenda after that was talking about birds, then recess and snacks, and then two high school boys were going to be be "guests" coming in to read for story time.
I left after hearing the plan for the rest of the morning. I called a friend to vent my frustrations. I talked to Tony to tell him day 2 was no different from the first, and then I started making phone calls to find out if other preschools had any openings. I feel so guilty for picking the wrong school. I know that we have 13 more years of the kids potentially having bad teachers, but it should not be in preschool. They should be having fun. At the very least, they should be playing! Not sitting and standing in lines being asked to stay quiet.
I did get an opportunity to talk to the teacher, the TA, and the principal/director all together when I picked up the kids. I asked what the expectations/goals were for the year. I kindly shared my frustrations at the disorganization. I also offered my help, saying I'd be willing to make name tags for them if they gave me a class list, or anything else they thought might help things run smoothly. They jumped on that immediately and said they'd have something for me on Monday. How much work have I gotten myself into??? I did learn that the teacher was hired just last week, which is something we kind of suspected. That at least explains the lack of organization, but it doesn't resolve her awkward personality and inability to connect with preschoolers. They assured me that things would get much better.
I at least felt better after talking with them, but I'm still not sure we are going to keep the kids there. At this point, we have no choice and if we want to keep them in preschool, and if we can't find another (affordable) preschool with two openings. I didn't go into this blindly. I had gotten several recommendations for this school, from reliable sources. I have sincerely liked every other staff member that I've met and talked to. I just don't like this preschool teacher! I chose this school because we do like that it's a Christian school, and because I thought it was the best choice to better prepare them for kindergarten education-wise. They have yet to pick up a writing utensil in their two school days so far. Not that I want it to be all business and learning, but I didn't want it to be a step back from what they had already learned last year. We loved our preschool so much last year! And then we had to go and move (which I don't regret, other than missing our old preschool). But I digress. I also chose this school because when we visited it last spring, the children there were so extremely welcoming! They were excited to have Ayden and Rylee visiting and invited them to play. They were HAPPY, and that clinched the deal for me.
It's still early. It has to get better, right?