Daycare Question: Overreacting or No?

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from evavase. Show evavase's posts

    Daycare Question: Overreacting or No?

    Hi All, 

    Need your opinions.  Each morning when we drop off DS at daycare, there are two teachers in the classroom and 4-5 infants.  One of the teachers is great.  She is trying to feed 1-2 of the babies, and is always running around doing this or that.  The other worker is new, and sits like a bump on a log eating breakfast and chatting with the other one.  

    We are starting to get aggravated by this, as our DS and two of the other babies are basically left more or less unattended in bouncers and exersaucers.  When I say unattended, she can see them, but is in the kitchen area, while they are in the play-area adjacent to the kitchen.  

    My DH wants to talk to the Director about this, as often times, he ends up having to find a bumbo or other thing for DS to sit in, while she sits around doing nothing.  It's aggravating that she doesn't at least try to help, since DH has other things he has to do as well (sign in sheets etc).  It's also somewhat concerning b/c when DS is in the bumbo, he's starting to try to stretch out of it.  We are worried that he is going to land on his face while she mows her bagel.  

    DH wants to talk to the Director of the center.  Should we do that, or perhaps talk to the head teacher in the room?  Are we overreacting?  
     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from ALS76. Show ALS76's posts

    Re: Daycare Question: Overreacting or No?

    I don't think you are overreacting.  You are placing your son in their care, and that is what you want - care.  This new woman probably has not been told that when she is in the room, she is "on".  Even if she is on break, she should not be spending it in the room, because it creates the wrong perception in front of the parents.  I'm sure she has scheduled breaks, and she can eat or do whatever during those times.  I think you should talk to the Director and just put it in a friendly tone.  I would not mention it to the head teacher.  That would put her in a more awkward position seeing that she has to work side by side with this woman.  If it is coming from someone else (the Director) it will make for less tension between the two teachers.  You definitely want harmony in the room between the 2 teachers.
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Daycare Question: Overreacting or No?

    Sounds like she's doing the absolute least she can do and get paid.  I'd think the director would like to know, and, even if she doesn't, you have a right to complain about a service you are paying for and unhappy with.
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from ALF72. Show ALF72's posts

    Re: Daycare Question: Overreacting or No?

    I would suggest saying something directly to the offender first.  She may get there early so that she can eat breakfast before she officially begins work.  People do/have this in my office now and in the past- they get there early to beat traffic and then do personal stuff until their official 'start' time.  Until you know all the facts, it may not make the most sense to say anything. If she brushes you off or you find that, yes, she is on company time but not doing her job, then go to the director. 
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from poppy609. Show poppy609's posts

    Re: Daycare Question: Overreacting or No?

    I don't think you're overreacting either.  This is her job, and she's not doing it.  A job you're paying big bucks to help create for her.  I would absolutely talk to the director.
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from Trouble30. Show Trouble30's posts

    Re: Daycare Question: Overreacting or No?

    That's a tough one.  We're also having some issues with the teachers in my DD's room.  She recently moved to the older infants room and the teachers there seem to be overwhelmed.  The other day we picked DD up and she had not eaten nearly enough for the amount of time she had been there. 

    At first I wanted to go straight to the director, but DH thought that might cause a backlash towards DD by the teachers.  You really never know.  So we decided to talk to the teachers about our issues first rather than have the director do it.  We haven't been back since then though because DD has been sick, so I haven't done it yet, but that's our plan!

    HTH
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from evavase. Show evavase's posts

    Re: Daycare Question: Overreacting or No?

    Thanks All. 

    Hmmm...that's a good point Alf.  I assume that she is not on break and that her shift has started b/c there are 5 infants there at that time, and I think that would exceed ratio if only 1 teacher was working, but I could be wrong.  In any case, maybe presenting it in that way would be helpful...i.e. "not sure if she hasn't officially started work at that time, but..."  

    They do have a teachers lounge, but not sure if they are required to take their breaks outside of the classroom or not.  


     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from SarahInActon. Show SarahInActon's posts

    Re: Daycare Question: Overreacting or No?

    I would go directly to the head teacher in the room or director depending on who you have the best relationship with.  I can understand the hesitation and worry about backlash (I would have the same worry).

    It doesn't make sense that there would be one teacher "on duty" for 4-5 infants, even in the beginning hours of the day.  Aren't there supposed to be two teachers for every 4-5.  That means the one who is eating her breakfast is actually supposed to be on duty and not eating.

    You can always say something like, "I have gotten to know new teacher X yet but I'm concerned about the morning routine as experienced Y teacher seems to have her hands more than full with 4 babies at once.  I've noticed that X isn't quite ready to go and still finishing her breakfast.  I'm just worried that with so many babies, in the hustle and bustle of the morning drop off, one might tip out of the bouncer or bumbo." 

    And then be clear with the teacher or director that you want some sort of resolution.  Don't just put it out there that you are concerned.  Say that you are concerned and want to make sure both teachers give 100% of their attention to all babies.
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from ALF72. Show ALF72's posts

    Re: Daycare Question: Overreacting or No?

    Sarah, people do a lot of things that don't make sense.  Also, not everyone follows the law 100% of the time [speeding up for a yellow light or jaywalking, anyone?] I currently handle employment litigation, and you would not believe the stupid things people do and are allowed to do [or at least get away w/] at work, or that they file federal litigation over.  99% of the problems could have been nipped in the bud had people politely just inquired of each other what was going on and explained what their concerns were.  Making assumptions and going 'to the top' to complain usually backfires or else creates an unholy hot mess.  Get as much info as you can in the most non-confrontational way. You can usually solve a problem amicably this way.  Don't make any assumptions about why people are doing things [however stupid it may seem].  Don't let it go, but just ask politely and then explain your concern.  If you get attitude or resistance, then take it to the next level.  GL. 
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from KAM2007. Show KAM2007's posts

    Re: Daycare Question: Overreacting or No?

    I'd take a hybrid approach. When you drop DS off, hand him to the teacher that's free. Every day care room DS has ever been in the teachers have always held him (okay, not that he's over 2 now-but he runs off to play on his own-unless he's having a tough day they they engage him or hold him) when I dropped him off. No parent should leave a child on the floor/exercauser/bumbo. Caring arms is where a parent should leave a child. (knowing full well, that a child will and should spend time playing on the floor/exercauser/bumbo-even if it's only 5-10 min after you leave to ease the transition for another family).

    If the teacher immediately puts your child down, or refuses, or anything flat out ask why, if it's not a sufficient answer then go to the director.

    If she's new she might not "get it" that parent's aren't thrilled with leaving their child on the floor, she may need some help in learning to do her job better. It's sad, but some people are really that slow, and don't have that critical piece of common sense.

    Can you stop in later in the morning as a surprise to see how things are going? that could be another indicator of how things are really going in the room.
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from poppy609. Show poppy609's posts

    Re: Daycare Question: Overreacting or No?

    Alf (or anyone), what would you say to the teacher who appears to be slacking off, eating breakfast while on the clock, etc?  I ask because most things I can think of that I would say to that person would probably come off sounding judgmental/critical, and may still end up causing backlash toward the child (although it's horrible to imagine that type of backlash actually happens).  Would you say, "Are you on the clock right now?" "What time do you start work?" "Are you just keeping Teacher X company before you are actually scheduled to start work?"  None of those seem like great options if you're trying to keep things friendly, and my brain can't come up with anything that would sound friendlier.  I would almost think going to someone else and saying, "Just curious, what time to teachers start work in the morning?" might be less confrontational.  But maybe that's just my hatred of confrontation speaking.
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from ALF72. Show ALF72's posts

    Re: Daycare Question: Overreacting or No?

    I'd do a combo of what you state and what KAM suggests:  as you pass the child to the free teacher, say with a smile, "can you take him/her or have you not technically started yet? I need to sign the sign in sheet".   Even a simpleminded ninny would 'get it' at that point and either put the bagel away, blushing, or else tell you "I'll take him/her, but I don't technically start till X time". 
     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from luvRIboy. Show luvRIboy's posts

    Re: Daycare Question: Overreacting or No?

    How about asking her for help, without any of the potential "judgy" questions about when work starts or if she's on the clock.  "Mary (or whatever her name is), where do you want me to put my son?"  or "Could you help me with my son?"  That way, you'll get an answer.  If it's "over there" or "let me finish breakfast", then you probably want to talk to the director.  If she jumps in to help, she probably is someone who needs direction, and then you know how to work with her. 
     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from poppy609. Show poppy609's posts

    Re: Daycare Question: Overreacting or No?

    Ah, I hadn't seen KAM's post.  That would be an option.
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from GC1016. Show GC1016's posts

    Re: Daycare Question: Overreacting or No?

    Eva, I don't think you're overreacting at all.  Personally, I'd take KAM's approach AND say something to the director.  It's already caused you stress and been an issue.  That's why centers have directors, to my mind.  That way you give her a chance to respond in the moment, and perhaps reevaluate her bagel-consumption venue, but also voice your concerns to someone who can coach the employee without you having to fear retaliation or resentment towards your kid. 

    To my mind, one of the reasons you opt for a center is the systems, support staff and ease of transitions, like drop-off/pick-up.  I think if there's employee coaching to be done, it's best left to the management at the center so that mom and dad can focus on getting their little one settled for the day and dealing with the separation without additional worry. 


    FWIW, I use an in-home daycare and I have never had to settle DD in for the day on my own.  When I leave, she's happily hanging out in someone's arms.  My concession is that I leave a bit more time in my schedule for drop-off b/c she might have just had a crush and her back-up lady doesn't come until 8:30am, but I'm OK with that -- it was one of my trade-offs, you know?  I would be far less OK with what you describe. 

     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from lemonmelon. Show lemonmelon's posts

    Re: Daycare Question: Overreacting or No?

    I don't use a center, so I probably don't know what I'm talking about, but this all sounds too complicated to me. If it's a licenced business they must have policies in place for morning drop-off, and a quick call or email to the director to ask how many staff are in charge of morning drop-off should straighten it out, I would think. If the answer is "two," then a follow-up of "we only see one" would suffice; if the answer is "one," then you know that Slacky McEaterson is just trying to be cordial while she snacks before her shift, and that you need to tell the director that one person isn't enough. If the director is alerted to the issue she can address it -- if you have a problem then surely the other parents to too, and it's her job to iron out these details. If you just hand your kid to the breakfasting woman, she might take the kid to be nice but then think, "man, I'm just trying to have breakfast over here" and put him on the floor the second you leave. I don't think any of it needs to be confrontational or that anyone needs to get in trouble -- it's just a question of logistics. You're paying for a service and the center is probably pretty serious about providing it, so I wouldn't worry about going to them with your concerns or feedback. Trust me, the other parents are saying much nuttier stuff to them, if my friends who've worked at daycares can be believed.
     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from winter09wedding. Show winter09wedding's posts

    Re: Daycare Question: Overreacting or No?

    First, I am happy to be the 20th person to say you are not overreacting.

    Second, I like Kam's idea.

    Third- we went through something like this, but it was a more pervasive problem and not just a single staff member. I think that this helps to identify who to go to (individual or director). I like Kam's approach because it helps to identify which issue this is. At our old day care center, the staffing was really new a lot- a lot of change over, and the new staffers didn't want to impede on anyone's "Regular." so they just didn't do anything unless told. If this woman does not respond appropriately, then you will know that it is more of a director issue.  Or perhaps- although not legal- the staffing didn't change when the enrollment did- and it is a director type issue.

    Fourth- we went to the director when we had our issue, mostly because it was a variety of staffing issues- lots of turn over, different patterns and schedules every day, he wasn't eating or sleeping there, etc. but we didn't go in yelling. we asked what we could do to help increase routines. I think that approach can be helpful as well- to ask something basic like "can you just clarify for me what is the transition in the morning ideally supposed to look like? where should i be putting DS"  I don't think that it helps to be angry (which is an appropriate feeling, just not very helpful in these discussions).

    and fifth- if you do go to the director, I wouldn’t use the word "mow" (although that was hysterical!!)  you do pay for this service- and they should be responsive. sometimes it takes going to the director- but it will get back to the teacher- immediately- so keep that in mind.

     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from Daisy75. Show Daisy75's posts

    Re: Daycare Question: Overreacting or No?

    I'd love to hear CT.DC's assessment of this situation.

    If I were in this situation, I'd address it with the director--just explain what is going on (using "I" statements rather than accusing the employee of slacking off) and possibly compare the current situation to how drop-off has changed since this new teacher came on.  I would expect the director to have a tactful, discreet response in addressing the employee if that is warranted.  There is no reason for the director to even mention "parent concerns" in this situation, especially if it's the first time it's come up with this particular employee.  Assuming the employee is on the clock and supposed to be helping during that time, all the director has to do is walk by the room one morning during drop off, observe the behavior, and then say something to the employee afterwards ("When I walked by, I noticed that many parents weren't getting help with their children as they were dropping them off...."  And then she just has to explain what the employee SHOULD be doing during that time.)  It doesn't need to become a big deal, and if the employee is new, she may need some coaching initially, but she may turn out to be absolutely great when she understands what the expectations are.

    My fear with addressing the issue directly with the teacher would be lasting resentment towards you--regardless of how kindly/subtley you addressed it.  And I hate to think that someone in a childcare role would stoop so low, but you don't want to risk some kind of bizarre, passive-aggressive backlash against your kid either (not changing diaper frequently enough, etc.).  If the instruction/coaching is coming from the director, one would hope she'd be receptive to it whereas coming from a harried parent who may not be in the best frame of mind, it could cause resentment.  At the very least, if the director is responsible for addressing the issue, he/she can stay on top of it and make sure there is improvement.  If the director doesn't know there's a problem, the employee has very little accountability for the behavior.
     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from LiveLoveLearnEnjoy. Show LiveLoveLearnEnjoy's posts

    Re: Daycare Question: Overreacting or No?

    DS isn't in a center yet but I am a school teacher and I would think what the director would do in a situation like this would be similar to what my prinicipal would do if someone came to her about an issue. 

    So in this situation I would want the parent to come to me first rather than go to my boss (prinicipal/director).  And if it is say my aide/helper that the parent has an issue with I would still want the parent to come to me as head teacher and I could talk with my aide/helper.  Yes it is the job of the director to handle situations that go on in classrooms but I would always like the opportunity to rectify something going on in my classroom and I would hope that I have a relationship with the parents of my students that they would always come to me first. 

    Infants are in the infant room until they are almost a year right? So parents should have some sort of relationship with the teachers, or at least the head teacher.  I consider my relationship with parents in my classroom to be very important and I would hope it would be the same in a daycare center (again I haven't had this experience yet). So I would have a hard time not taking it personally if one of my parents went to my boss (the director) rather than me for an issue first.  If I don't rectify or clarify the situation then I would absolutely expect a parent to then go to my boss.

    If the woman is an aide/helper and not a head teacher then I would consider it to be my responsibility as the head teacher to deal with things concerning her.  If parents had an issue with my helper and go to my boss, she is likely to come to me about it to deal with it and I would feel the same as above; that I would have wanted the parent to have come to me first.

    I'm not sure this comparison helps but I would definitely go to the head teacher first before going to the director.  If you don't really have a relationship with the head teacher I still think I would go to them first.  I think in any situation if the complaint concerns me I would want someone to come to me first before going over my head.  If I don't listen or so anything about it then absolutely go to the next level.

     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from austengirl. Show austengirl's posts

    Re: Daycare Question: Overreacting or No?

    I like Kam's idea as well.  Typically, we do put ours on the floor with toys or in the bouncer but by the time my dh (he does drop off duty) is done filling out the card one of the teachers has gone to pick him up.  But he is also 9months and loves playing with the other kids so does not mind being put on the floor to socialize. 
    MOst likely if that second teacher is SUPPOSED to be working the primary teacher may really appreciate you saying something, no one likes being the one to carry the work load. 
     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from evavase. Show evavase's posts

    Re: Daycare Question: Overreacting or No?

    Thank you all for the feedback.  

    The norm is definitely to find a place to put your baby when you arrive. Aside from the first few days, no staff member has taken DS for us.  Is this unusual at most centers?  We don't have anything to compare it to since this is our first, but I'd love to know! I guess I don't have the expectation that every baby be held when dropped off (just not feasible), but I do expect that the babies that are in bouncers or exersaucers are at least interacted w/!

    LLLE~ I actually had the same conversation w/ DH.  I told him I was hesitant to talk to Director b/c it would be like going to the principal instead of the teacher.  The head teacher is actually who our LO is assigned to as his primary teacher.  We should definitely talk with her first, but for some reason I'm hesitant to.  Not sure if it's like ALS said, that she's too close in working with the other woman.  I assume she should be in charge of ensuring the staff are doing their part, but I am not sure if that is part of head teacher responsibilities. 

    Austen, you bring up a good point about the other teacher having the bulk of the workload.  She sure does!  DH is always commenting how hard she is working.  I can't imagine she is happy to be doing all the work!

    Agreed Daisy...CT/DC, would love your opinion on this if you have time!

    We are definitely going to talk to someone and will let you know how it goes!
     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from LiveLoveLearnEnjoy. Show LiveLoveLearnEnjoy's posts

    Re: Daycare Question: Overreacting or No?

    eva - yeah I don't know how daycare classrooms work compared to my classroom so I totally understand!  Good luck and let us know how it goes!
     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from MichelleandtheBoys. Show MichelleandtheBoys's posts

    Re: Daycare Question: Overreacting or No?

    I'm sorry but I would be outraged. If I were dropping my child off somewhere I would expect a person to take him from my arms and act happy to see him, or at the very least greet him before I left. If the girl who is eating doesn't recognize that she should be present and greet the parents and babies until everyone gets settled, how attentive can she be the rest of the time? I understand that it's technically just a job to her, but it's not the same thing as logging on to a computer.  
    If she truly isn't supposed to be "on the clock", then I would find a place that had more than one person for that many babies. 
    Even at preschool they say good morning to every single child, and talk to them as they come in the door; I think an infant deserves at least the same treatment. Good luck!
     
  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from canukgrl. Show canukgrl's posts

    Re: Daycare Question: Overreacting or No?

    I's say at least 95% of the time I've handed my infant to someone when I've dropped them off... the times I haven't, both teachers were actively feeding other kids or s/he was asleep.  In fact, thru the toddler and now preschool room we've always been greeted, and most often DD has either been invited/engaged in what was going on or, when we've gone thru rough drop off phases, picked up and taken to a window to wave good bye to me. 

    I don't have any idea of the best approach... I have asked for help during the difficult drop off phase - I simply said to the teacher "I need some help with drop off"... mind you, she was a toddler by this time I had been spending more time at drop off as I got a feel for her new room. 

    Good luck regardless and let us know how it goes... it's always hard to figure out how to deal with these things

     
  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from CT-DC. Show CT-DC's posts

    Re: Daycare Question: Overreacting or No?

    CT.DC here, chiming in!  (for those who don't know, I direct a childcare center).

    I'd second Daisy's way of doing it.  And yet I know my teachers would be frustrated that you 'went to my boss before coming to me' but honestly, in this case, it's hard to go to the actual teacher -whatcha gonna say 'um, put down the @*# bagel and help out here!?'  (which is what you are going to feel like saying when you're frustrated).  And the director can certainly do the swing by in the AM thing, and discuss her concerns based on what she saw (although she might have to be sneaky, since often teachers are perfect when I'm in the room, sigh).  But if she teacher IS perfect when she's there, she can certainly check in with you in a week or so to make sure things are going well.  And she could also ask the other AM teacher to find out how morning drop off is going well, although many teachers won't 'out' their coteacher no matter how frustrated they are.  but some will, if the director makes it safe to do so. 


    So I'd go to the director, and just tell her you've been concerned about the way morning drop off is going, and ask if the other teacher is on the clock. (I hope so, given there are 5 babies, there should be 2 teachers).  and express your concern that for the last x days the other teacher has been eating in the kitchen area and not attending to a single baby, and the other teacher is moving as fast as she can.

    Now, re: whether it's the expectation that all children are held at drop-off:  it's not possible.  Babies sometimes are put on the floor and parents give them a toy or two, babies who cannot sit up are put in the nest or on blankets or on a boppy.  Very young babies, or ones who are crying or who we know will need help to say goodbye (like they will cry when mom/dad leave) will be held.  But our teachers need to feed or diaper a baby starting quite early, some babies come to us only 20 minutes away from their next feeding time given when they woke up, commuted, etc.

    BUT mornings should be a positive experience, filled with greetings to baby and parent, and should feel welcoming.  Babies who are older and can sit or crawl often want to be down on the floor with their friends and some toys.  Some of our babies make a beeline for the climber so they can use that first thing!  Again, though, our tiny babies who are a few months old are sometimes held, but not always.  Kind of depends on a 1000 things.

    But our teachers are expected to be working, not eating their breakfast!

    Now, a plea for you all to know the regs.  PLEASE, know the ratios and group size required of childcare centers and family childcare, etc. The dept that licenses in MA is the Department of Early Education and Childcare, within the Education dept.  Do a google search for massachusetts child care licensing and you'll get there fairly quickly - you can find the 2010 licensing regs for group care, family childcare and school age programs, then 7.10 in the regs states ratios and group size.  (I just googled and found this - you could do the same for NH and CT regs, as each state has their own regs)

    MA has good ratos/group sizes:  1:3 for infants, 2:7 - that means they have to have a 1:3 ratio for the 1st 3 babies, then 1:4 for the next group of babies.  A group size of 7 is wonderful - we do 1:4, 2:8 here in my state.  (I know some of you don't think these are great ratios/group size, but then childcare centers aren't for everyone, that's why there are family childcare homes, nannies, etc. as other options) Smile  (Having a group size maximum is important so you don't have, for ex, 24 babies in a group with 8 teachers, which would be 1:3 ratio but be crazy loud and psychotic for all.  Not all states actually state group size maximums, sigh)

    It just makes me crazy to think parents don't actually know how many a classroom SHOULD have, so you can know when there is a problem.    You can read the entire rules and regs (might make your eyes glaze over, and seriously the MA regs are in the same ugly font as my state's regs, there must be a 'regs font rule' between states!  But it's still interesting to give them a scan, at least the ratios, nap rules, and the teacher quals rules. 

    Not that I want 40 police officer parents in our center, but still, you are a 2nd and 3rd and 40th pair of eyes re: quality and I want to hear your feedback.  (the good, the bad, the ugly).

    So, evavase, how did the conversation go with the director?
     

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