Archive for the 'daycare' Category

Extended day

March 23, 2012

When my older son was in nursery school, he lobbied us to let him attend the extended-day portion of the program.  As it was, he went to the preschool from the morning until about 2:30 or 3:00 in the afternoon, I think, what the school considered a full day.  The extended-day part of the program ran til around 6 p.m., as I remember it.

I got the impression Jonas thought something exciting was going on in extended-day that he didn’t want to be missing, maybe the other kids talked during the regular session about what they did then.  But Willy and I didn’t think it made much sense to enroll him in that part, too, since I was home with Jordan anyway — we didn’t need it for childcare, a full day of nursery school seemed enough, and I was concerned about kids having enough “down time” to completely relax in private — to plotz, as some people might say.

But chicken pox started going around the school.  Jonas had had chicken pox in the crèche in São Paulo, so he didn’t get sick, but I had never had it, and I got slammed by it — it felt as if I had been hit by something really big, like a truck.  (Jordan got, if he got it at all, a very mild case, a couple of blisters, and no natural immunity afterwards.)  So, while I was sick, even though my mother came up from NJ to help out (bless her heart), we decided here was an opportune time to grant Jonas his wish, and into extended-day he went.

He hated it.  He went for the few days we asked him to, but after that first day, it wasn’t because he wanted to.  He was happy when he didn’t have to go anymore.  I forget exactly what he said about it, but I remember the impression that he was just too tired out by the whole day.  I don’t think it was about being new to the group, because it was just kids he knew already from his regular day.  Maybe the mystery had fallen away and the reality behind it wasn’t so attractive.  It certainly wasn’t a question of his learning how to navigate care in a not very private setting for a long period of time, since he had navigated life in an orphanage in Brazil — it was not a new thing for him.

The episode left me with a sense that my impression that kids need some down time was not something I had just imagined.  And that’s part of what I was thinking about when I asked about whether there are quiet times and places in the bustling classrooms of The New American Academy David Brooks wrote about today.