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My Kid's Preschool Is Run Like a Prison

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I used to love my son's school until it became more like lockdown. 

preschool classroom with female guard

Guest Blogger Sandy: Sometimes change is good. Not so when it comes to my son's preschool. This year, my 3-year-old's school has a new director, and from what I can tell, she's either not a big fan of children or in a past life she was a prison warden.

Here are a few things her new administration plans to do away with in the new school year:

1) No birthday parties
I'm behind the rule of not letting parents hijack an entire school day to celebrate Johnny's birthday, but the new rule at my kid's school is no festivities in the class to mark birthdays. Not even if said "party" is hosted by the teacher. Why would the director be anti-birthday party? She claims any organized celebration disrupts the routine of the teachers.

2) No kindergarten graduation
According to Matron, the graduation ceremonies are only for the parents. And selfish people that we are, we have no compunction about forcing our preschoolers into tiny caps and gowns for our own amusement. The children, she says, could care less and have no understanding of what it means to graduate.

3) No holiday programs
Asking children to participate in singing "Frosty the Snowman" is just too stressful for them -- forcing them to perform against their will. The only people who enjoy an out-of-tune holiday ditty are the self-absorbed parents.

4) NO alphabet on the walls / Wall art reserved only for certain areas
This year, according to the director, preschool rooms will be redecorated. Rather, undecorated. The ABCs in particular will be stricken from classrooms because the building blocks of the English language are not age-appropriate for preschoolers. That's not all that's being removed from rooms -- on a tour of my daughter's new classroom, I was taken aback by the stark look of the walls (should the word "stark" ever come to mind when checking out walls at a preschool?!). Kid art is only visible in designated areas. 

5) No fun
I don't want to have a knee-jerk reaction to this new regime, but I'm not sure that any of this will benefit my child. What I do think is that it'll benefit the director, who's looking to reduce her workload.

What do you think?

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17 comments so far | Post a comment now
Just Sayin' September 15, 2009, 12:39 PM

Your new director is Ms. Trunchbull!
(from the movie/book “Matilda” by Roald Dahl)
And I agree, it helps the director but is no fun for the children. Parents need to present a united front and talk to her about this stuff.
Good luck!

Nicole (SAHM Ramblings) September 15, 2009, 1:05 PM

I would stop in unannounced some time and make sure that all is Kosher with their new-and-improved teaching methods.

Bobby September 15, 2009, 1:08 PM

Kindergarten graduation? That’s just silly.

Rachel September 15, 2009, 1:47 PM

Thats ridiculous. Preschool is supposed to be fun!

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Heather September 15, 2009, 2:18 PM

I think everything you mentioned is just silly!! Preschool is suppose to be a fun time for our children where they learn and explore. I think that the new preschool director needs to get on out of the building.

Diane September 15, 2009, 2:30 PM

I can agree with all of those except the decorating. My kids have food allergies and have not been able to “celebrate” the birthdays of their friends IN school because “Johnny’s” mom brings cupcakes that neither of my kids can have. I am not notified of this because it’s usually a “surprise” for said birthday child (this is public school, not pre-school). I think the graduations are dumb for the kids. They waste a lot of time practicing walking properly and standing still for what? So we can see them marching in and out? Seriously, they are kids, let them have fun instead of taking a week or two to learn a stupid song and march. Celebrating holidays is a tough one. We are supposed to be a country of many different religions, so if it was to be fair to ALL religions, there would never be any school days, they’d all be celebrations. Curriculums and research comes out all the time about what is appropriate for children to see, hear, read. Unfortunately, decorations go along with that. Maybe the thought is cluttered walls = porr learning environment. Reserving on the decorations. I really think your child(ren) will have a greast time in Pre-school. Our notions of what is fun and their notions of what is fun are different. My son (8) still prefers large cardboard boxes to a lot of “stuff”. Sorry so long!!

Chrissy September 15, 2009, 2:37 PM

Lets take a good look at some of these.
No birthday parties - maybe, as we even have seen on Momlogic, that some parents go over the top and are too competitive about having the best and most expensive parties for their kids? I have heard with my own ears kids bragging about their parties and how their parents must lvoe them more.
Could this be the case? Perhaps if it diodn’t happen at this school maybe at the Director’s previous school?
Holidays - lets face some parents are unhappy that the doesn’t sing carols with Jesus or God in them and others get upset if you do sing those songs. Some Jewish people get upset because they think Christmas gets overemphamsized and Hanuakah not emphamsized enough. Then there’s Kwanza (sp?). Holidays are a minefield for schools.
Kindergarten graduation I always thought was just plained silly.
That ABC thing I plain don’t get. It’s that the opposite of educational environment?

Dad September 15, 2009, 3:00 PM

My 3 year old’s pre-school is all about fun and sparking curiosity. Though tempered, the year will be a great one!

reenie September 15, 2009, 3:42 PM

As has been shown in every scholl situation I’ve ever encountered - kids learn best when having FUN!

Playtime is essential for the growth and development of a child’s brain and personality and to have a child sit in a room without visual stimulation is just plain wrong!

Children are multi-modal learners! They need to see it,feel it, hear it and sometimes even taste it to understand their world. My child would NOT attend this school and I can’t imagine any DOE (Department of Education)condoning such rules.

Uly September 15, 2009, 6:11 PM

Shouldn’t most of these decisions be left up to the teachers?

Me September 15, 2009, 7:14 PM

That’s crazy!!! Find a different preschool! They’re only young once… let them have som fun! My son LOVED graduation and holiday programs! Of course they were great for us as parents but I never once saw an unhappy child during the graduation or music program! Preschool kids SHOULD be exposed to the alphabet! What on earth is the deal with that? This lady sounds crazy!

Anonymous September 15, 2009, 10:24 PM

Kindergarten graduation is the lamest thing I’ve ever heard of.

Cheryl September 16, 2009, 4:09 AM

I would take my child out of this restrictive environment. I completely understand if they would say “no surprise birthday parties” or something like that, so that kids with allergies can be accomodated. The not celebrating holidays is lame - when I was in kindy, we managed to put in something for all of the major religions that were represented in the class. That is how children learn to be tolerant.

michelle September 16, 2009, 11:46 AM

Right. A preschool with no ABCs. I think you are either making this story up or this is an unaccredited preschool which you should pull your kid out of.

ame i. September 16, 2009, 12:41 PM

I would change schools. My daughters went to a wonderful pre-K for 2 years each. Their teacher was a retired Kindergarten teacher with her mother as her assistant. We still love those ladies!

Christina September 16, 2009, 4:25 PM

I actually agree with the no kindergarten graduation. It’s silly and waste of time and money. I think the birthday party ban is a bit silly for preschoolers, though I see no problem with having parents comply with certain food restrictions so those with food allergies can participate. The undecorated walls and art restrictions are completely unacceptable.

Natasha November 21, 2009, 7:52 PM

It sounds like you go to a private preschool… stop paying and enroll him else where?

If you attend a public school… PTA

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