Archive for the ‘daycare’ Category

Changing schools

September 13, 2010

Fedkids teddy bears

This fall was really hard for me, and maybe for Charlie too. It was hard to see through my tears.

He moved from Fedkids, where he had been since the age of 4 months, to Greene Hill School.

There was a graduation day at Teddy Bears class. I have many long videos of the procession and the songs, but I’ve just inserted a small clip of his enthusiastic eating of a cupcake.

Greene Hill School has gotten off to a good start. Charlie has made some new friends and we’ve entered the world of play dates. My social calendar has never been so packed.

Greene Hill School photos:
on the bus

Play date with Nevin at the Bronx Zoo:
Zoo with Nevin

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Old teachers, new teachers

September 1, 2010

Yesterday was Charlie’s last official day at Fedkids. I almost made it through the day without tears. It was only saying good-bye and giving hugs that brought crying at the last minute.

After sitting down last night to draw pictures for Maggie, Jackie and Ryan–his Teddy Bears teachers–he said, “I think my teachers are going to miss me because I’m going on vacation.”

Yes, I said, we are going on vacation. (If I can ever get us packed and out the door–maybe tomorrow.) But we won’t be back to Teddy Bears for a long while. We may visit in a few months.

He nodded his head, then said, “I think Matrice [my boss] will miss you when we’re on vacation. And my teachers will miss me.”

I’m sure they will, I said. Vacation is a lot more understandable than graduation, I guess.

Then this morning we had a home visit with Charlie’s new teachers, Sally and Sharyne, from Greene Hill School. They were extremely gracious and welcoming. We had to fill out an information sheet for them to take back with them, and one of the questions regarded Charlie’s interests. I try to pay attention to what he likes, but sometimes I get it wrong. I wrote down several things, the top two being music and animals.

He really hit it off with his new teachers, telling them all about his Sesame Street dolls (the whole lot of them), about how we were going to cat-sit for our friend Hudson’s cat, about his puzzles and Legos. When they asked what he liked to do in his play room, he said, “Play music.” And when they asked if he had any questions about his new classroom, he asked if there would be pets.

I was glad to see I’d written down the right things!

Museum Trip

June 29, 2010

Last week, Charlie’s daycare class visited the American Museum of Natural History to see the dinosaurs. We had a fun subway ride, a museum exploration and then lunch in the cafeteria.

Click on the pic of Charlie and his good friend Jonathan to see more photos.

Jonathan and Charlie

FedKids Recognition Day

June 17, 2010

A few videos and photos from today’s recognition day for the whole school. CAUTION: The videos haven’t been edited, but none of them are longer than 5 minutes.

Charlie recognition day

When you pretend to kill someone, please use gentle hands

May 17, 2010

This morning, Charlie wanted me to tell his friend Matt about our bubble gun. It’s a gun; it blows bubbles.

There was a time, not too long ago, when Charlie had no idea what a gun was, or even how to hold one. Yes, we let him watch TV, but it’s always monitored. There is a specific selection of kids shows on PBS or Nick, Jr. on demand, which means no commercials and no violence. He’s also into old movies and YouTube, but again, monitored.

But this year his school friends are older. They know all about killing and guns and squashing bugs. Charlie has come home slashing a pretend sword and making his sticks cut down dandelions. Lately, when he gets angry he sometimes says he wants to cut my head off. (I swear, he’s well-balanced! I can be aggravating at times.)

I was worried about the aggressive talk until I started doing some reading. If kids can’t hit or kick or throw temper tantrums, they need to channel their aggression somewhere–like into words (I am so angry I feel like cutting your head off…you know, for example) or into game play, such as pretending to cut down dandelions or shoot each other with bubble guns.

So tentatively, and mixed with a lot of outdoor running around, we’ve allowed the violent play–as long as it is not rude or physically hurtful. In other words, you can pretend to kill someone, as long as you use gentle hands.

But today, when I told Matt about the gun, he said, “Oh! We’re not supposed to use that word.”

I thought back over what I’d said, thinking maybe he’d heard “sh*t” when I’d said “shoot.” “What word?” I asked.

“Gun.”

I was dumbfounded. “Gun? Really?”

I called the teacher over. “They can’t say gun?”

And she explained how the kids had been pretending to use guns and saying they were killing each other. The aggressive language and pretend play was disturbing to the adults, so they’d called a teacher meeting and decided the kids couldn’t use the word ‘gun’ in class.

My first thought was that making guns into something secretive and subversive would only increase their appeal.

My second thought was that this was the exact opposite of all that I’d read. Granted, I’m not an expert in childhood development and supposedly these teachers are. But I explained how we handle it at home, and told her about what I’d read. I said that pretend play–as long as no one was actually getting hurt–seemed to be the safest way to act out aggression and figure out problem-solving techniques. She said the teachers just wanted to promote peace in the classroom, which is understandable with 18 kids.

So now I’m not sure what to think. What about cowboys and Indians? What about robots vs. aliens? What about all those other boy games that I don’t know much about? Are all of these verboten?

I’m thinking of going to the head teacher with my printed-out articles and requesting some sort of compromise. Maybe pretending with guns and swords can be okay when they are outside on the playground?

But what if I’m wrong? What if it isn’t okay for kids to pretend to kill each other? What if that does lead to real-life aggression?

Am I blowing this out of proportion? (I do live one neighborhood away from Park Slope, after all.) Is it a case of, if you imagine it, you’ll do it? Or, is pretend play really what I think it is: an essential tool for helping boys–and girls, too–learn to express and work through their aggression without actually hurting anyone?

At the Mother’s Day party

May 17, 2010

mother's day party

This is Charlie in the middle of eating our Mother’s Day party lunch. My action shots leave much to be desired.

Charlie’s class had a Mother’s Day luncheon for us moms in early May. They sang us songs, ate lunch with us and made us presents.

Fedkids daycare on local CBS news

October 7, 2009

Charlie’s daycare was on our local CBS station last night in a discussion of daycares “going green.” The video clip is here.

Fedkids is pretty good about being eco-friendly, though I do remember that when we first got there, the parents had to beg and plead for organic milk. And don’t be fooled by the mention of organic snacks. The kids still mostly ask for Cheerios.

The video features the indoor playspace and Charlie’s BFF Maryn with her mom Kristen and brother Newie.

A zoo field trip

July 24, 2009

At the zoo

at the zoo 2

Today, Sunflowers had their class field trip to the zoo. Jesse had a summer Friday, so he got to go with the monkeys, I mean, kids, to check out the animals. I wanted more pix, but he said the kids were running around crazily and it was hard to follow them and take pictures.

Also, Charlie knows the zoo by heart, so he acted as guide: “Guys, here’s the goat. Let’s see the monkeys! What about the meerkats?”

School schedules

June 30, 2009

Before we left on summer vacation (pictures to come, sometime), Jesse and I finally got the application in for our first-choice school. (Yes, we’re early. The application was for Fall 2010 early decision.) I was excited and relieved that it was done; it was the only private school I really connected to, and I do hope he gets in. It’s philosophy (and price) fit our family. Honestly, I wish I could go there.

However, I recently saw their schedule for next year. In addition to school holidays (a Christmas break, a winter break, a spring break and a summer break), the first week of school starts in mid-September, with a few days that end at 11 am. Every first Friday the kids get out at 11 am for a teacher work day. On the days of parent-teacher conferences, the school is closed. And, of course, the school day ends at 3:15 pm.

For all those breaks and after school, there are some options–camps, classes, paying for a grandma to fly up and play with Charlie, maybe drop-in care at his current school for the first year. But what about all those half days, and weeks when camps aren’t open? What about when he ages out of his current daycare or they don’t have space for drop-in? How do working parents acquire appropriate child care for all of those random times?

I have some vacation, and some flexibility with my part-time schedule, and still the amount of off-time seems daunting. Here’s hoping not all the families in the small school have a stay at home parent; maybe they’ve figured out some tricks to make it all work.

Who knew that daycare, with its 9-6 hours and only-closed-on-major-holidays schedule was so luxurious? I guess I’ve been spoiled and didn’t even know it.

Parent-teacher conference

June 30, 2009

Yesterday we had a meeting with Charlie’s daycare teachers, who are amazing. They have a great chemistry in the room, and manage to keep twelve three-year-olds running on schedule while having fun.

Logically, I know it shouldn’t matter one whit whether Charlie is “good in school.” Not everyone is, and the pressure of school was always really stressful for me. There is more to everyone than academics, or even good relationships with teachers.

BUT…

When his teachers talked about finding him lovable and entertaining, how he is the life of the party and always ready to sing, how he cares deeply about his friends’ feelings and well-being, how his vocabulary is taking off, how he can now pedal a tricycle and is usually consistent with using words instead of screaming or crying (at least at school where they have an organized and predictable schedule)…well, it did make me proud.

And a little bashful for feeling so proud. After all, he’s doing all the growing and learning, I’m just helping him along.