Sunday, May 13, 2007

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

We met with Amber on Friday after work. We were immediately at home in our house, and Ben got right to work with interacting with the other toddlers and playing with her toys. It's safe to say we both fell in love. Chester reserved the right to "sleep on it" and not make a decision right away, but within fifteen minutes of meeting her, he gave me a private nod.

Although I wrote a rough draft of our break-up letter with Ben's current daycare center, it's admittedly very snarky and kind of mean in parts. The responses I got from people who I let read it were "Cheryl!", "You are THE woman," and "When you get mad, you really get mad." Although it was an honest letter, I didn't think it was in Ben's best interest to have the center director know how we really feel during his last week there. Although his teachers wouldn't let it affect how they treat him, I wouldn't put it past the director. She's not the warmest person on the planet, and she's made some bad decisions in the last couple weeks that we personally know have bitten her in the butt and cost her more money than she was probably prepared to lose. (Long story, but we know some of the other parents at the other center that closed had some rough partings with her and that center).

For your reading enjoyment, I offer the final draft of my break-up letter. I needed it to be firm enough that the director wouldn't make a huge deal over us not giving the required two-week notice. If she makes a stink, I'm prepared to contact my nice lawyer friend to back me up... but I hope to take care of the situation on my own. I also wanted to make it clear that the only reason we're leaving is because of the restructuring she has planned for next week.

So here you go:

Dear Director's Name, of Center's Name,

The purpose of this letter is to inform you that this will be Ben’s last week at your center. His last day will be May 18, 2007.

Due to the planned changes occurring at the center after this week, we feel that Ben would find better quality of care elsewhere. Because of the announced depreciation in value of the care that Ben would be receiving, I do not feel it is appropriate to give a two-week notice, though in an ideal world, we would have had time to do so to ease the transition for Ben and his teachers. You may feel that he would be receiving the same high quality of care, but we simply do not.

I feel that combining Infants 1 & Infants 2 into one small room will not benefit the children in your care in any way. Not only will Ben not be involved in the age-appropriate activities like group play for which there was ample room in Infants 2, he will also not be able to go to the park daily to exercise, play and explore. He’s a rambunctious toddler already, and I fear that he would have a hard time adjusting to having to be so cautious about stepping on the small babies and being quiet during their more frequent naptimes.

We have loved Infants 2, its teachers, and its programs. Having Ben at your center up to this point has greatly enhanced our lives. We’ve been able to encourage Ben to advance to a higher level of development than we see in other children his age. For instance, he’s now comfortable eating at a table instead of in a highchair, and since he was used to sleeping on a cot at the center, we were able to transition him out of his crib and into a big boy bed already. Both of those skills that he learned in Infants 2 will no longer be encouraged, and that’s a shame.

To clarify, it’s not the teachers at all. We’ve gotten to know and love the daytime teachers in both Infants 1 and 2. After all, Ben has been with the center since he was just two months old. We don’t feel the teachers will have the opportunity in the new Under Two plan to offer the same level of care that they are used to providing.

I understand that you need to restructure in order to stay afloat. For whatever reason, your business plan hasn’t worked. I wish you well in the future, but please understand that the other children and their parents who are caught in this awkward backward transition in the disbanding of Infants 2 have my sympathy.