It has been said that kindergarten is good preparation for school. A lot of things are said. Sadly, not all prove true.
The Grinder household now has strong views on the merit of the state pre-schooling facilities, especially in contrast to the local community childcare centre. The following will help explain.
Kindy incident 1, the ‘Obstacle-athon’
As a fundraiser, kindy staff organised a special day that was to incorporate a barbecue lunch for parents. (Note how it is implied that all children have a carer who can attend).
Being staffed by public servants more attuned to the ways of the early sixties, it was decided to open the centre forty-five minutes later because technically the staff were ‘working through lunch’.
The first this family (and several others) knew about the late opening, was the lockout by staff on the actual day. One frantic parent had to make calls and drop her child at a friend’s house because she was on her way to work. Others made journeys home to then return at 9-30.
A notice had been given to all parents/guardians about the fundraiser. It mentioned a start time of 9-30 for the obstacle-athon. Nothing was mentioned about changes to the actual kindy times.
Newsletters have since been patronisingly clear with bold and oversized text highlighting the opening hours.
Kindy incident 2, Book week
A notice was posted in each child’s pigeonhole, asking parents to dress their child as a favourite book character. Unfortunately notices weren’t distributed in time, so a staff member made a courtesy call to the grinder household the day before and left a message.
At the end of the workday Mr & Mrs Grinder played back the message, frantically put together an outfit and were grateful for the call, albeit short notice.
The next day, Grindling #1 is dropped off with his hook, hat and eye patch. Returning home Mrs Grinder was perusing the week’s newsletter and found a consent form attached. The centre was going on a small excursion as part of the dress up activity; only nobody had cared to mention it to the Grinders.
Racing back to the centre, Mrs G found Grindling #1 in isolation, as the other kids were about to head off. A consent notice was quickly signed and he was allowed to join his peers.
Kindy incident 3, ‘Helpful’ advice
Noticing that Grindling #1 was slow to get into the swing of things and join in group activities, the director made mention of her opinion that the child is probably not getting the same benefits like full-time students. She suggested either getting family day care in place of childcare so he could attend kindy fulltime. Or alternatively he would be better of with just the childcare routine.
Somewhat perturbed Mrs G decided to pull the lad out the following week in time with end of term. (End of term being one week before the end of terms, as it is common practice for the teachers to ‘wind down’ in the last week anyway.)
The director’s response was “Oh, he’s leaving now. But we haven’t finished his assessment. The one mentioned the PI meeting”
Mrs G: What PI meeting, I’ve never heard of it?
Director: Oh, I’m sorry did you miss out. No wonder you feel left out. Look, I’ll make a time next week and we can have the PIM then.
With no idea of what a PIM was, or what the point of a meeting after the horse had bolted, Mrs G turned up the following week anyway, only to be told the director was away ill.
Maybe it is true. Kindy is good preparation for school –for parents that is!