My 4-year-old twins are signed up for day camp for two weeks this summer: one they've already done, and the other they're about to start. I knew that getting them adjusted to it was going to be a hurdle: it's their first time spent in an institutional atmosphere (they were in a family-based daycare prior to this), and it is in French, the girls' second language.
I have had reservations about this camp from the beginning: they seem grossly disorganized, and there has been a never-ending fiasco with the girls' swim caps not coming home at the end of the day. They need the caps for time in the pool, and they denote by colour what level of swimmer the girls are (i.e. non swimmers/minimal skills). I have not even laid a hand on A's cap because it's never made it home, and yet the camp has been insistent that I need to pay $5 to replace the cap each time. Tomorrow, for instance, I am supposed to start the day by buying her yet another cap, which makes for a cap a day since camp began (their father and I have managed to convince them not to charge us twice, but that's still $15 we have put into caps that neither of us has ever seen).
Added to the stress, and indeed the biggest source of stress for me since the beginning, is the fact that this province has an abominable record for drownings, mostly of children, and mostly due to lack of proper supervision. While the majority of the drownings (over 40 this summer alone) have occurred in private pools at residences, the very first day we got back from vacation last week, the first news story I heard was about a 5-year-old in critical condition after nearly drowning in a day camp in the neighbourhood adjacent to ours. I am very uneasy about this fact and have never been comfortable with the idea of my children around water without me or their father present. The fact that this camp seems disorganized and run by overly young people does not help ease my concern.
In addition, the girls are adamant about not going back, saying that there is a wicked witch there that's not imaginary (they play imaginary games at camp) and begging me to "go see for myself." I asked the girls' dad, who had them this weekend, to get to the bottom of these allegations by asking them about it further and he came back and got the girls to recite by rote: "We have to go to camp tomorrow because mama and papa have to work." That wasn't what I wanted. I have asked the girls to go along with camp for tomorrow but that I wanted them to remember everything that happened there and to tell me clearly at the end of the day the truth about their experiences. I'm thinking I'll pull them from it if need be, but in truth right now I don't even want to send them tomorrow. I have a sick feeling about it. My work is at home and on my thesis so if I have to sacrifice this week, I will.
Please help, hivemind. I don't know what to do.
No way, Wookie. All you have to do to be a preschool teacher here is get fingerprinted and have a background check and complete CPR training annually (you don't have to have it initially). Good preschools may have a few teachers certified in Early Childhood Ed or even have BA/BS or MA/MS degrees, but I'd say most of the "better" ones have college-aged girls who may be in college along with a few lifers with no post-secondary education. I worked in a day care during college, so I know.
My son's teachers this past year consisted of a teacher with a MA, a teacher working on a teaching degree (but it's not clear if it's an associates degree or a bachelor's degree), and a young man going to community college. So, we were fortunate on the education side, but that's likely atypical for a given preschool.
You are making me feel very lucky to have found my son's pre-school. It's a non-profit, NAYEC-accredited school, and all the teachers have at least an associate degree in early childhood education. Most have a BA/BS in early childhood education and have been teaching there for many years.
Right now he's in the summer program, and for field trips there is a 1:4 ratio; none of them involve swimming!
Somehow this school still has openings for the fall, and I don't understand how. If offers full days and isn't more expensive than the other pre-school/daycare centers in town.