We had a major crisis Wednesday. Eva's preschool has had four really good teachers leave within the past six weeks or so. As a former preschool teacher and director, this raised a major red flag for me. So, I picked up the phone and asked to speak to the director. I didn't want to come right out and say "What on earth is going on?", so I started the conversation by expressing my concern about so many key staff members leaving, two of whom who were very special to Eva. I asked her if she had any advice on how to help a child adjust to such a dramatic and critical change in her life.
Long pause. Sound of crickets chirping. Finally, the director cleared her throat and said,"No. Not really." Ok, that wasn't the response I was expecting. I stayed quiet on my end, figuring she would eventually say something else. And she did. "We are closing down the school in 30 days. I just mailed out a letter to all the parents today".
I tell you, my head was reeling. Now I was the speechless one. All I could think of was, "What will we do? Who will care for Eva while we are at work in the mornings? How will Eva cope with not seeing not only her favorite teachers, but her friends, and her routine?" I could not get off the phone fast enough. My second thought was a prayer of thanks that had I gotten a head's up in advance of the letter coming in the mail. There are going to be over 20 or more families desperate to find childcare in our area in the next few days.
There is nothing in the way of preschools out here in the country where we live. A couple of in home day care providers with extremely limited capacity and availability. What would we do? After the shock and disappointment wore off a bit, I started to get mad. How irresponsible to shut down a school mid year! What poor management! What little regard for the tender little psyches of their students! What callous lack of concern for the bind it will now put working parents who are counting on child care! I do not know what the back story is, and I am very sorry for their troubles, but this sort of thing is just not ok.
I spent Thursday meeting with in home care providers and interviewing the director of the only other school in the area. The home care providers were nice enough, but the facilities were just kind of sad, and the availability was terrible. "She could come Monday and Friday mornings, but you have to pick her up by 11:30". That just doesn't cut it. Plus one of the care providers occupied her charges by having them do worksheets all morning. That is not the kind of experience I want my grand child to have at the age of 3.
I saved the proper preschool for last. It is a new one in our area, just opened in September, located in a building formerly occupied by a preschool whose owner/director died unexpectedly a couple of years ago. I was very favorably impressed with the facility and the staff. The staff posts their academic records and accomplishments on a bulletin board for all the world to see-- a novel concept to me. She expoused various philosophies on early child hood education I agree with and the place was clean and well equipped, with a good child/teacher ratio and happy children. She owns (or soon will own) the property, and said "I am not going anywhere". I gave her a deposit on the spot and Eva starts a new school on Dec. 1.
Hope we survive this transition!