Childcare/PreSchool Education. Don't let them in!
Just a 'warning' from personal experience up in Canada about what can happen if you expect the govt to watch over your children more than you yourself do (or should). I work in childcare and have done for over 20 years, 17 of them being at the same preschool/daycare center. We have jumped through every govt hoop thrown at us (in my province, it is illegal to look after more than 6 children without being a Licensed and Inspected Daycare). That rule has been there for eons, since before I started in the field - but it has become far worse and I really do not think many parents realize just how much control the govt gains when they pass the reins from themselves to 'officials'. I understand the reason behind most rules and regulations - but at the end of the day, parents themselves should be able to figure out if a center/dayhome/sitter is good for their child. Show up unexpectedly, take the time to look around every single day for a couple minutes instead of being late for work and throwing your child in the door before dashing back out (which an extremely high percentage of parents do these days), etc. If it's dirty and gross you WILL see it if you actually look - you should not need the govt to show up every 6 months to check it for you. You are there every day. If your child is unhappy, you should be able to tell if you pay attention and listen, or watch for certain cues, or like I said above - show up unexpectedly to visit and hang out (most daycare centers should have an open door policy, it's your child afterall. If they don't - find another place!!). It really should be easy. But parents over the years have screamed and yelled at the govt to inspect more, regulate more, be the overseer, etc and I can tell you right now that it is literally strangling childcare centers to the point of them wanting to close their doors and give up - if that keeps happening, you won't have anywhere to take your child one day. It's important to think about that.
I am writing this because today my center was told we did not pass our 'Accreditation' inspection. Accreditation started in about 2005 in my province as a way for all centers to be working 'above and beyond' the basic rules and regs set out by the govt - but it too is a govt body, separately. Parents welcomed this idea and today we got the letter of doom. We were very upset because we have bent over backwards for YEARS to keep this up, and I literally spent the last 6 months doing extra paperwork every single day to bring us up to even more 'new standards' and we failed. That means a loss of funding, loss of wage enhancement - and if we cannot win our appeal, that means our parents will have to very suddenly pay about another $100 a month on top of their current fees so that we can keep running. I make a couple of bucks above minimum wage, so it's not like I am being greedy. And it's not like we wanted wage enhancement - we are forced to take it, as in it is deposited into the center's bank account each month - IF we are accredited. When this process started, wage enhancement was given to everyone no matter what - but the powers-that-be changed it to accredited centers a few years ago. It is out of our control. We either follow the rules or we have to give up and close down - OR charge the parents heeps more money, which directly affects them and may cause some to have to give up their job and stay home, or find a new center that they might not even like, but is the only one that has spaces...... What wonderful choices courtesy of the govt AND people who demand the govt step in.
I do not know if many parents understand what they are setting off when they write letters or place phone calls to the govt to ask them for more regulations, I really don't. We failed because my boss no longer has written proof that she checked her staff's references (we have all worked there more than 10 years each so we did a paperwork purge awhile back, and reference proof was never needed before now anyway). We failed because we do not do a daily programming calendar for each of the three groups. Why don't we? Because parents NEVER look at it. And I really do mean never. I can think of two parents in the past 5 years who actually stopped, occasionally, to look at the daily calendars to see what each group is up to. All we have been doing is one monthly calendar with a daily theme written in - we failed our Accreditation because of that. But parents do not actually LOOK at this, even though many have apparently expressed to the govt that they want centers to do this. Now the govt wants us to write a daily detailed program including everybook we plan to read, song we plan to sing, activity, etc for EACH Day. But parents do not read it, so why waste staff hours working on this, totaling roughly 230 pages a year, times 3 groups,,, 600+ daily lists that no one will read?
We failed because we do not have a written daily communication book for each parent. Why don't we? Because we cannot even get all 21 parents to sign their own child in and out each day. There are some that do, but too many that do not. They don't read newsletters (only about 25% of parents read school/daycare newsletters on average), they do not return field trip forms on time, they do not read big signs posted around the center to remind of field trips, holidays, special days, etc. they don't read that stuff and certainly do not take the time to read and sign a communication book (not to mention the fact that the original govt body tells us NOT to do paperwork while we are with a group of children, so I'm not exactly sure when we are supposed to write in a communication book!).... We failed because of those things. all things that parents have asked the govt to be in control of at one time or another - and all things that a parent can easily do and ask about themselves.
Our center and others (esp smaller, more family-oriented ones) are drowning under so much paperwork, they are considering closing down. That is more people out of work, like myself, a mother of 3, and tons of parents without childcare so their own jobs are put at risk. All because of this big call for ''The Govt" to step in and be co-parents of your children. It's really sad. I used to love my job so much, I came in every day looking forward to the trials and tribulations of watching little children grow up and head off to school. Now I drag myself into work and find myself putting far more effort into creating a paper trail for the govt to check up on as 'evidence' that we are a good center, instead of putting more effort into making sure the kiddos in my care are happy healthy and having fun learning experiences.
And on par with most govt programs - we got the letter today and only have until Monday to file and mail an appeal. Um......????? If we need something from them, it can take weeks or months (like a child welfare check taking 3 weeks this year when there is nothing to report on any staff member anyway and we have to redo them every 3 years, along with a police record check that takes over a week) - but if they want something from us, we get 24 business hours to comply. Reminds me of when someone owes taxes and they get the letter 5 days before a chunk of money is due, or they incur a penalty (up here at least) - but if they goofed up and owe you money, it takes at least a month if not several months before the money comes back to you.
So just a warning to those in here who may be 'on the fence' about govt involvement in things like childcare. Since when did parents stop asking for proof of police checks or use their own eyes, or request a communication book if they really want it? Instead, the govt demands it and then a good center with the lowest staff turnover in the city, if not the province for all I know, gets the shaft and told they are not good enough. What a wonderful govt system this is!
Edit to add: Wanna know the one thing we did NOT lose points/score on? Our direct interactions with the children. We got a 100% score on that, which was the largest part of the whole process, but still managed to fail based on a lack of certain kinds of nefarious paperwork. That really makes a whole lot of sense, doesnt it? Is that what parents wanted when they asked the govt for help?
Edit to add: We also lost points for not having Incident Reports on file. these are for anytime a child gets an owie, or shows up at school with a strange bruise, etc. Guess what? We have none on file because we have not had a child injured at the center in any way for over 6 months and before that, you did not need to keep incident reports unless it was serious - needing medical attention from outside sources. We lost points BECAUSE we try hard not to let the kiddos hurt themselves. Oh boy. that's a good one!
Final warning - all it will do, when asking the govt for 'help' in matters such as this, is cost YOU more money. Since this process started, our fees have gone up from $450 a month to $630 a month, with loss of some services in between like hot lunches now being bagged lunches from home, in order to pay for the extra staff hours needed for compiling paperwork that no parent has EVER asked us to see. Not one single time. It costs money to get the govt involved - when will people finally realize this?
Last edited by kezt777; 03-16-2012 at 11:15 PM.
I should add that the NDP (new democrat party) and the Liberal party up here want to expand a $7-per-day daycare system across Canada. It's one of their big platforms in recent elections. The province of Quebec already has this going (you can choose to remain a private center, but many people won't go if they can get care for $140 a month in the other places, compared to over $1000/month in private centers). So I can't help but think that the stuff going on right now is a way to pave the road for this future program.
I post about this here because Canada seems to be a few steps ahead of the US with social programs all the time and eventually people down in the States hear about all 'these great programs up north' and start demanding it south of the border as well. It's all a warning to keep watch for this. Similar things happen at the State level already but I would not be surprised to see it expand over the years It starts with the premise of wanting to help women stay in the workforce, then becomes about women and men in the workforce and how it's so important to have affordable childcare - then they make all these programs and regulations until centers are raising prices through the roof to keep up with govt demands - and then WHAM. Down comes the $7 a day care for EVERYONE. Not just subsidized low income families - for EVERYONE. Even kazillionaires. I can see it happening right before my eyes and it's shocking to have been swept up in it personally.
I should also point out that with that program in Quebec, childcare workers also joined up with a Union and guess what? They have been STRIKING recently! Oh I bet that thrilled some parents. I got the courage to post the links to the strike news stories on my FB page and said that while I totally understand why parents would love this cheap daycare, THIS is some of the things that could happen as a result. I heard crickets chirping on my page for days. No responses whatsoever. No surprise.
Yeah it blows my mind that ADULTS still believe that it's in societies best interest to have the government influence/control child care, education and health care.
Yep, let's turn over the most important aspects of society to sociopaths and idiotic beaurocrats...
Some days I actually just want to move into the woods and become a lumberjack/hunter. Fuck it....I might just do that.
We think the same thing, trust me!! Ugh. I wrote about it on my blog and some 'anonymous' person commented that 'too bad, you knew the rules'. That's the point - with this new accreditation thing, you never know the rules until the last minute. We had our last big inspection for it in 2009 and got a glowing report and we followed the suggestions for 'more improvement' above and beyond what they said and this time we got told that we were not doing enough on the very same exact topic. Huh? WTF? I don't get it. After all this, I decided that while they want centers to be 'the best that they can be', there is never ever ever going to be a chance to reach that 100% marker. Every year they seem to come up with a new focus. You would not believe the hoops we jumped through since 2005 if I told you. They are ridiculous. And each year, the inspectors make a big deal about what we dont have 'enough of' (ex, photos books and activities showing different cultures or differing abilities), so then we improve on all of that and even go overboard with some (we have an entire room decorated with multiple culture artifacts) - but then when the next inspection comes along they do not even look at that or make any note whatsoever. They are focused on their next thing. So we will bust our butts for the next 1-3 years worth of inspections and there will be a whole new focus next time.
We actually told some of our parents about it and they are angry and are supposed to be writing letters this weekend for us to fax to the 'deciding heads'. Should it not be the parents that decide if a place should be 'accredited' or not anyway? It just boggles my mind. I know that some paper trails are necessary for any problems that come up, but that's not what they were looking at this time, or there is no leeway (like with the reference page, the director not having notes anymore about who she called for our references because we have all worked there for SO long, we purged the files years ago to make room for the other muck they want us to keep). There was no mention until 6 months ago that we would need that... I guess we should have made up fake forms instead. And made up fake incident reports for owies the children never got, just so we could have pieces of paper sitting in a file to get marked on. Incredible when you think about it. Essentially LOSING marks because we have not had kids injured at the center. If that's not back-asswards, I don't know what is!
Last edited by kezt777; 03-18-2012 at 10:34 PM.
I am a home tutor, and home school workshop leader. One of the biggest mistakes new home educators make is to not under stand that home school is not the classroom. They make a mistake when they try to duplicate what is done in public schools (preK included).
How To Home School The PreK Student (it also has a link where parents can check out what is now expected from preK students. What is typically expected does more harm than good, because it is a one size fits all expectation. It does not recognize or encourage individuality.)
How To Home School (different methods used by home school families...home school is not the classroom thank goodness)
Last edited by romacox; 03-19-2012 at 06:33 AM.