I’m trying to decide whether to switch Sophie to another preschool. I’m trying to decide when is “good enough” not good enough?
Every morning, Sophie begs me to let her stay home from school.
Every evening, Sophie comes home with the worksheets she’s done each day, worksheets that I’m not too fond of. I would rather that she have play-based learning than worksheet learning, at this age. This school told me it was “play-based,” but what I’m seeing is free-for-all in the dirt interspersed with an hour or two of worksheet-filling-out. Sophie does like to tell me that C is for cat and cake, but these worksheets on letters are not teaching her as deeply or as joyfully as her old school did, and Sophie keeps asking me for basics that seem more important than worksheets, to me: basics like the names of the others in her class. Sophie’s not even sure of all the teacher’s names — and she really wants to know.
Even worse, on Monday, when it rained and they couldn’t spend their regular 3 hours outside, the school showed her not one but two movies. Sophie told me that Snow White was frightening and Mickey Mouse was boring. For this, I pay more than $700 a month?
Every evening, Sophie seems happy enough, but there are too many signs that she’s not truly comfortable. She comes home from preschool with sand ground deep into her shoes and her face, because they spend at least 3 hours a day playing in a sand-filled yard, and apparently there’s no one to help her get the sand and dirt off her shoes, so she’s getting blisters. She’s also getting a sunburn, no matter how much sunscreen I put on her each morning, because 3 hours outside in San Diego sun is a lot for anyone to endure, daily. Sophie also comes home with her underwear dirty, because she hasn’t yet mastered completely wiping herself every time she uses the toilet, and apparently there’s no one to help her with that, either. This might all sound normal for another kid — play is messy, after all — but Sophie is a neat freak and a perfectionist, and it makes me sad to see her so fundamentally uncomfortable.
I know we were spoiled by Sophie’s so-wonderful daycare, and I know that a new school takes adjustment, but it’s been a month and still, I’m wondering. And I’m feeling guilty every single morning when I drop Sophie off at school, when she hugs me tight and tries to never let me go.
Her teachers tell me she’s adjusting beautifully and making good friends. She IS making friends and she is a good kid, one that teachers love. I am reluctant to throw her into another new situation, when she’s only just gotten used to this one. But I can’t help feeling that the teachers don’t truly see her, don’t see her discomfort in her grimy shoes & underwear, don’t see her boredom & confusion, and most worrisome of all, don’t really want to be there themselves.