Is it O.K. to Bash a Preschool?

I have three children. The older two attended two preschools each. The youngest only went to one preschool. My oldest’s first preschool and my middle’s second preschool had major problems. I pulled my oldest from her preschool, but opted to deal with the problems with the middle’s preschool.

I will have to live with my decision for the rest of my life. Now don’t get me wrong. There was nothing dangerous or life-threatening about the middle’s preschool. It was a combination of factors that led me to let her stay.

(1) she loved her friends

(2) she never complained about going

(3) it was a coop so I volunteered once a month but picked up a second morning every month for two years to “check” on things

(4) I had a huge network of mom friends in the preschool class and at my oldest’s elementary school

(5) I could manage the pickup and dropoff of my preschooler around the morning kindergarten bus — always a logistical nightmare.

But, there were reasons I should have pulled her:

(1) the teacher was rigid and unyielding about issues.

(2) no child should be placed in a 30-minute timeout on the 4th day of preschool after not saying “Good Morning” in circle time. She had just turned 3! Other kids also got timeouts. BTW, she never had another timeout at preschool.

(3) the teacher was an artist who had no teacher training. She had a college degree, but not in education. I tried to pass on information from my teacher husband with a BA, MA, and PhD in Education, but she was not interested.

(4) the teacher would make ridiculous pronouncements at pickup time, like “The children need to learn how to use scissors!” Uh, they’re three and in preschool to learn how to use scissor among other things.

(5) my daughter never really developed a rapport with her preschool teacher. She liked and chatted with the assistant teacher who was a lovely, caring person.

(6) …and all art projects were identical. My oldest and middle did the same art project at their respective preschools. It was a skeleton made with Q-tips on black paper. The oldest’s was a pile of Q-tips glued to the paper in haphazard fashion. On the middle’s project, there was equal space between each Q-tip…I measured. 

You better believe that I let friends know about the problems I had with the middle’s preschool. I did not send my son there even though I paid to hold a spot for him. I made sure to let every friend in this area know about my concerns. Most stuck with the school, but a few switched.

My son is an entirely different child to my middle daughter, but I did not want him to go through what his sister went through. In retrospect I should have sought an evaluation for my daughter through ChildFind or the county when she was in preschool. There were indicators that she had something going on back in preschool — shyness around adults. It wasn’t until 3rd grade that her teacher mentioned focus. She was tested and was found to have ADHD. She now talks to teachers. ADHD medication is a lifesaver for her and for me (started taking it recently).

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