Let me first say that daycare is not new to me. I have lived in five different states with my daughter before coming to Georgia. My life at that time as a single mother relied heavily on daycare for my little girl while I tried to make the modest of ends meet. In Connecticut, she attended a way over-priced home daycare, but Marie was good to her. In California, she was also in-home daycare, and Julie was terrific. I was able to stay at home in North Carolina and Pennsylvania. In South Carolina, she attended a smaller childcare center, and now we’ve been in Georgia for the last year and a half.
Upon the recommendation of close friends, I placed my preschooler at Precious One’s Daycare in Union City, GA. It was close to home, had convenient hours and competitive rates. Their food program served breakfast, lunch and two snacks a day. They also picked up and dropped off at the local elementary school that my daughter would be attending as a kindergartener in the coming school year. I was sold.
However, soon after she enrolled, I began to see the problems. At first glance, the center was brand spanking new and sparkly clean. Though if you looked a little closer the ‘dirt’ was abundant.
Firstly, Precious Ones had a ridiculously high turnover rate. Their mottos are “Learning without Limits” and “Grooming and Educating Minors for Success.” How are children supposed to feel stable, nurtured, stimulated and safe? The so-called ‘teachers’ were always very young and their skills and training with children highly questionable – more concerned about their cell phones and the latest dances, than if little Bobby or Tamika is walking around with a pooped out diaper or eating crayons.
Next, the preschool rooms were unstructured. No apparent curriculum. Children playing everywhere and rolling on the floor all day long, instead of being engaged in something constructive. ABC’s? Learning numbers and colors? Reading books? My daughter watched more television at daycare than she had ever watched in my household during her entire little lifetime.
There were also times when I arrived in the evening to find the children watching movies or listening to music that is inappropriate. ‘Blade’ is a great movie and I appreciate Wesley Snipes as much as the next woman, but the violence and cursing are not appropriate for a daycare center, and especially not children ages 4 to 6 years of age. I reverted to listening to only the gospel channel in my car because my daughter would come home singing Ludacris, 50 cents, Lil’ John and the like. And if she tried to ‘drop it like it’s hot’ one more time I was going to pull my hair out!
My daughter also developed a dairy allergy, and I would bring soymilk to the Center for her to drink and use with her meals there. Countless times I picked my child up, and on the drive home, she’d tell me about the macaroni and CHEESE, ICE CREAM, etc she’d eaten during the day. Hello??? Thank goodness it isn’t a harsh allergy that sends her into anaphylactic shock.
Each new enrollment into Precious Ones is accompanied by the Parent/Student handbook, outlining the daycare’s policies and procedures. Let me first say that being in Atlanta, or south of the Mason Dixon line period, brings a host of issues regarding race and color. It is generally held that the lighter the skin of a person, the more sought after, attractive, and uppity they are considered to be. My child is extremely fair and had long, beautifully curly hair at the time. Unfortunately, she was on the receiving end of a lot of jokes and meanness by some of the darker-skinned children (girls in particular) and at the same time, the object of attraction for the little boys. She constantly cried that she didn’t want to go to ‘school’ with all those bad children. There were several instances when my daughter was hit, pushed, thrashed around and verbally assaulted, and Precious Ones took no stance. They said that they’d ‘look into it’ but did not reprimand the culprits. So, why have a “Disciplinary Actions” section in the handbook if the daycare center itself isn’t going to abide by its own regulations? A warning, three write-ups, including parent-teacher or parent-administrator conference, etc, and the bad apples were supposed to be expelled from the Center. And not only my child was abused and neglected, but other parents I met at the center also complained about the same issues… obviously to no avail. Even some of the better staff members were appalled at the Center’s lackadaisical stance.
Thank goodness I didn’t have any financial issues with Precious Ones, but I also had spoken to many other parents that, in lieu of all the other nonsense they experienced at the facility, they also money issues. Some parents had paid money to the Center and it was not applied to their child’s account. Others had large deductions made directly from their bank accounts with no explanation.
I cannot discourage anyone enough from putting their child in this center. My daughter attended for less than a year’s time. Precious Ones, or rather, Precarious Ones as I call it, may look wonderful from the outside, but delve a little deeper next time you put your child in the care of others. Recommendations are great, but take a visit, pop-up during business hours and observe. I learned the hard way, and my daughter has the bumps and bruises to prove it.
Living all this nightmare, I am here with a Childcare you can trust so that you do not have to go through all this. It is really important that you pay attention to your service provider so that you can stop worrying about your toddler as you are out there on your work.