Like everyone else with children ready to start school next year, I was anxiously waiting to see if Eirinn’s school, at which we have already registered, would be selected as one of the 600 schools in Ontario to “offer” full day kindergarten. It was.
Am. Not. Happy.
While I understand that our situation is unique, my mom being our daycare provider, I’m struggling to see the benefit to all of this. I mean, I can see that it would work for some people – those who couldn’t afford daycare before and can now find work while their child is at school – but the more I’m reading about it and discussing it with other parents and thinking about it, the more I don’t like this. Every positive about this plan seems to be a benefit to the parent, not the child, which is who we should be thinking about.
Isn’t the whole point of kindergarten to transition our children into school? Full day, every day is not a transition; it’s throwing them in head first without a life jacket, just hoping that they’ll swim. Eirinn has an early birthday (March 7th), but there are many children born in September, October, November and December who will be 3 years old starting kindergarten, all day every day. Three years old. They’ll still be babies.
To put them into a classroom of 26 children (the new class size) with a teacher they’re not familiar with is asking too much, in my opinion. Too much of the child and also too much of the teacher. I can barely handle two children for the whole day; I have no idea how one (or two, if they have a teacher’s aide) can handle that many. I guess that’s why they get paid the big bucks. Oh, wait. They don’t.
Eirinn, especially, needed that transition, which used to be every other day. She’s unique in that she has never been in the care of anyone but family. Ever. She’s never been to a daycare in the traditional sense. Never been to preschool. She’s never even had a non-family member babysit her in the evenings or on weekends. The transition would have eased her into the idea that she has to listen and follow instructions from someone else.
I have read that sending them for the full day might be optional. I question what they’ll be missing when they’re not at school. Will not sending them all day cause them to fall behind? If we opt to not send them all day every day, are we choosing to send them half days? Every other day? What kind of chaos will that cause for the teachers? All questions I’ll soon be asking of her school.
Another option would be to send her to a school that was uneffected for kindergarten and switch her back for Grade 1. But I don’t like the idea of pulling her away from friends she spent two years making and out of a school she will be used to. Sure, we did it when we were younger, but just because we did it doesn’t mean it was easy. I’m also not a huge fan of the public school in our area and the proximity to the Catholic elementary school and high school is one of the reasons we bought our house in the first place. But…it’s another option to think about.
I’m sure she’ll be fine because she’s Eirinn and she always is. This business about her needing time to adjust is probably just us adults needing time to adjust to her being old enough to be going to school. Sure, she’ll miss her Baba, but she’ll still see her before and after school. And I’m pretty sure the frequency of sleepovers will increase.
Another problem will be that it’s going to be a struggle getting her to and from school, given that the kids my mom looks after go to public school, which is bussed at the end of her street, and Eirinn will be going to Catholic school, which isn’t. And they both start and finish at the same time, while I’m at work. Luckily I’m close to both her school and my mom’s house, so I’m going to have to use my breaks to drop her off and pick her up everyday. We’ll figure something out that works. We have no choice.
I just wish things would have been left alone. I’m not sure why it wasn’t working before and who it wasn’t working for. As I saw it, it seemed to be just fine the way it was, but no one ever asked me what I thought about it.
But what do I know? I’m just a mom with a little girl starting school next year.