My co-worker, Holly, has a 3-1/2 year old son named Gabe. The rugrat is about to enter a preschool, and Holly has been chatting with me on AIM regarding the paperwork. I tell ya, childhood ain’t what it used to be:

Holly: These school entry forms are nuts. One question is “Would you let your child be photographed by camera or video by anyone but yourself?”
Me: wtf
Holly: that never crossed my mind
Me: What’s the point of that question? School photos? Or freak teachers?
Me: I mean, is there a wrong answer?
Holly: School photos were taken last month
Holly: I guess they take pics of class parties and stuff
Me: Huh.
Me: Why would parents be weird about that?
Holly: I don’t know
Me: People are insane.
Holly: pedo’s
Holly: or maybe they think someone will make money off it
Holly: The forms ask me when Gabe wakes up, goes to bed, if he sleeps well, if he naps, what he has for each meal and at what time….
Holly: food dislikes, eating concerns, if his bowel movements are regular
Me: None of their goddamn business what his bowel movements are like.
Holly: they ask me what his words for a bowel movement and urination are
Me: jesus
Me: Sounds like fishing for evidence of child abuse.
Me: Insulting.
Holly: lol
Holly: I think it’s funny
Holly: they ask for my evaluation of his personality
Me: Man. As far as I know the only thing my schools cared about was whether I’d been vaccinated and what level I was reading at.
Holly: yep, same with me
Holly: His school is a peanut free zone
Me: *rolls eyes*
Holly: yep
Me: Peanut allergies are not that common.
Me: You might as well ban all wheat too.
Holly: and dairy
Me: Yeah
Me: Retarded.
Holly: they have an interesting page for me to sign…
Holly: it has to give all the info on anyone working at the facility that has any criminal history
Holly: it’s blank
Holly: another page I have to sign states that I have the right to come in unannounced at any time.
Holly: I like that
Holly: I’d come in anyway though. lol
Me: lol
Holly: everything is so complicated for a 3 year old to spend 5 hours a week in a classroom
Holly: oh wait…7 and a half
Me: yeah
Me: The results of many tedious lawsuits I’m sure.
Holly: 267 dollars a month….
Holly: not Montessori but better than nothing
Holly: he walked into a class in session and introduced himself. lol
Me: lol
Holly: No costumes allowed on halloween
Me: duh?
Me: God, aren’t kids allowed to be kids anymore?
Holly: They think three year olds might get scared
Me: What. The. Fuck.
Me: that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.
Holly: Anyone that would put a 3 year old in a gory costume is a sick puppy
Me: Kids that age are more afraid of their own imaginary monsters under the bed.
Me: Yeah. At that age it’s superheroes and animals.
Holly: yeah
Me: And occupations, like firefighter.
Holly: Gabes costume is a glow in the dark skeleton….but it’s a cute one, not a scary one
Me: lol
Holly: and they’ll have a party….
Holly: but no candy containing peanut products
Holly: everything is so regulated
Me: When did childhood get so lame?
Holly: it’s like…communism
Me: ๐Ÿ™‚
Me: Indeed.
Holly: serious!
Holly: Gabe is oblivious
Me: You should blog about that.
Holly: YOU bl;og…lots of people read yours and they will comment
Me: I could just post this convo.
Me: Self-explanatory.
Holly: ok

3 Responses to “Preschools: Overprotective and Socialist?”
  1. triticale says:

    Knowing a child’s words for bowel movement can be important. My in-laws were so determined to be among the intellectual elite that they taught the little girl I later married to say “defecate” instead of something like “go poo-poo”. They then left her for a day in the care of her grandmother, whose backwoods simplicity they were overcorrecting for. The result was one very uncomfortable child.

  2. Low-Tech Redneck says:

    All the paperwork and special instructions are a result of two negative forces in modern society meeting head-on

    -The desire to remove parents as those who give discipline and guidence to children and replace it with governmental bodies under the guise of “It takes a village!” and to make men and women feel guilty for forsaking thier careers and personal desires to be parents. Hence the questions about things that no one else has any buisness knowing

    -The litigious culture, that has been fostered by a never ending string of “Hot Coffee” cases so that people no longer have any common sense and feel entitled to collect compensation whenever somthing does not go thier way. Hence the endless questionaires and “cover your ass” paperwork the preschool must keep on hand incase of ambush by lawyer

    Immovable object meets irresistable force, and this is the result

  3. Kristy says:

    I am a preschool teacher. I know a lot of the stuff Holly was asked seems crazy, so I will try to explain it.

    The photography – we are required to have parental permission before photos and videotapes can be taken. Photos are for class parties, class pictures, and to go in the paper for promotions and advertising. Some parents might not want their child’s photo taken for personal reasons (perhaps not wanting an abusive father who has no custody rights to know where that child is going to preschool through an ad in the paper, for example). The videotaping is often done by student preschool teachers for school assignments. Videos are also sometimes done for teacher evaluations. In this profession, we regard confidentiality with utmost respect and we want you, as a parent (or Holly in this case), to be aware of that. Asking parental permission basically covers our ass as well, so that a parent can’t come back and say “You did not have permission to put Johnny’s picture in the paper so we are suing you!”

    Wanting to know about likes, dislikes, bed time routines, etc – This tells us a lot about a child. I am assuming you don’t have children and that you don’t spend a lot of time with young children. Knowing home routines explains a lot about a child’s behavior. Sally throws constant tantrums, and oh look! She goes to sleep every night at midnight and is up at 6 am! Knowing that info gives us a lot of insight into the child’s life, what the child is used to, and it allows us to try to continue with that routine as much as possible at school. We try to act as extention to home and family to make the transition into preschool as smooth as possible for the everyone. (I will admit that asking if his bowel movements are regular and his words for them is something I am not familiar with but we do ask many of the other questions.)

    As for the peanut free school – hello sweetie, it’s better to be safe than sorry, and I am sure Gabe can do without peanut butter for the 7 hours a week he is there. Have you ever had to call an ambulance because a child is experiencing anaphylactic shock? Obviously not. It is absolutely terrifying and something to be avoided. Rare? Sure. Worth taking the precaution? You bet your fucking ass.

    The “no costumes on Hallowe’en” thing saddened me. We had a huge Hallowe’en party where I work, and everyone dressed up. I think their excuse for that was lame. I have a hard time believing that “the kids would get scared.” That’s a load of bull. That’s my two cents on that, mind you. I am sure its a great school. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I hope I have shed some light and made sense of all those wacky regulations. The regulations are there to protect you, your child, the other children, and the staff.

    As much as you two might bitch about it, it really isn’t that complicated, and it really didn’t take Holly that much time to register her son. Plus, it was a wonderful thing to do for Gabe as research shows the importance of high-quality early childhood education and how it helps children strengthen all areas of their development. Good luck to Gabe – I hope he has a fabulous time and makes lots of friends!

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