Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Daycare Dilemna

Oy...sad heart this morning folks. The little guy started daycare here in Sweden in January. We were blessed enough to have a modern day Montenegrin Mary Poppins as the little guy's Nanny for the first two and a half years of his life. It was heart-wrenching to part with her, to say the least but really the timing was good. He was getting older and in need of the stimulation only fellow toddlers can provide.

Background Break: The first few weeks of daycare were just as challenging as everyone said they would be. Me crying, him crying. My heart breaking everyday for two weeks. Even as his tears stopped and he began to eagerly await hopping out the front door to join his newfound friends and teacher, I would sob on the short walk home. His daycare was an ok place, the teachers wonderful but the facility not quite suited to house 30 active kiddies. Long story short, they announced the daycare would like close and despite vehement protests from parents, it looks like it just might. Since I wasn't too happy with it anyway (for a variety of reasons I won't get into), I started looking for alternatives and found a Montessori school which he'll start mid-August.

Before I go on, I should likely explain the daycare system here a bit. First of all, the entire system is run by the municipality with the exception of a few daycares (like his Montessori school) which are run by parents cooperatives. But regardless of where you send your child, the price is the same and low. I pay 1260 SEK (about 170 CDN) a month for 35 hours.

In the meantime, most daycares close their doors for a minimum of 1 month for summer vacation and those kids still requiring care are herded into feeder schools. Lucky for him, his "new school" (his words) is a brand new and beautiful facility with sprawling grounds, cool playground equipment and a spacious, naturally bright interior filled with all sorts of toys and stimulation. A couple of teachers from his "old school" followed him and 1 other boy to the new school for a week or so, to ease the transition.

The problem? Today is the second day in the past week that he's told me "no go to school". And when I proceed to drop him off, he cries his little heart out and I have to turn and walk away. Like living those first two weeks all over again.

I am one of the fortunate parents in this world. My son is a happy camper. He's almost always in great spirits. No public temper tantrums or constant whining. We really lucked out. So when he cries, there's a reason (Watch, I'm about to jinx it all by committing these thoughts publicly).

So what do I think the reason could be? Well, naturally the teachers from his old school left for their summer vacations and since then, every week it seems there's a new batch of teachers (and typically a new group of students). It's unsettling to me so I can't imagine what he must be going through. Well, I don't have to imagine. I'm experiencing it.

So let me amend my last post on Swedish Vacations. Let me change my mind slightly. Is there no way at least one teacher from each school could work for four consecutive weeks during the summer? They still have a whole month off to enjoy! Maybe that's asking too much. How about two teachers from each school working at least 2 consecutive weeks? Alright, let me make further "cuts". How about two teachers from ANY school working those 4 weeks OR 2 weeks each?

The idea is to provide some stability to the children whose parents don't have the luxury of taking 4-6 weeks off. Imagine being a 3 year old who spends the majority of his week with strangers. Now imagine those strangers being replaced with new strangers every other week. So just when you start getting used to these strangers, they leave you.

Ok, I'm rambling but you get my point. I think I'll be making a call to the Municipality to voice my concerns. And when I do, I'll be told that So & So is on vacation and so is the other So & So who typically takes her place.


Mon said...

Oh that is really vexing. Children thrive with stimulation and stability. The two givens.

I saw Mary Poppins, or should say she saw me - out walking with the girl-child. She looked healthy and very happy.

Anonymous said...

And yes, the little guy loves his "routines" Mon. He thrives on it. Everyday when I pick him up, its "Go home have chocolate pudding". So when there' a wrench thrown in, he doesn't respond well. Though I gotta say, he's quite the little trooper. For all the chance he's been through this past year, I'm amazed his maintained his "joie de vivre". Glad about Mary Poppins. She is really loving her new job at the bookstore in HN. When one door close, another opens!