Community-Oriented Child Care

Child care is more than a job to me – it’s something I love and something I’m passionate about. I would love to open a center in the very near future. I believe that kids deserve more than they receive from many child care centers (recent news stories can attest to that), and my goal is to make a safe, loving and educational environment for them. I want this center to be something the community can be involved in, also, through volunteering and local sourcing.

Crowdfunding page for a cooperative child care center

My goal is to make this a community-friendly center (Madison Cooperative Learning Center is the pending name for this venture), and something different than what our lovely little town has already. It will be an educational and safe environment for our children, with a well-trained staff, and one where the children are the top priority.

Running a child care center is not cheap, and this campaign is for additional start-up capital, to help with the first year’s lease/rent and expenses. Once this program is up and running, I want to bring the community in on it in a variety of ways.

The current plans are to, in addition to regular staff, implement volunteer programs: These programs will allow family members to come in and volunteer in our classrooms and our center. This will allow them more time with their children and to see how our center is progressing. This will give them the opportunity to see their children in our environment and to see our staff at work. In addition to the time with their children and the interaction with the staff, they’ll receive a discount from their week’s tuition for volunteering.

I want to implement local sourcing, also. I plan to serve meals in our center and would love to use locally-sourced foods, if possible. My plans are to find out if this is an option in a child care center (and will comply with state regulations) and financially viable, and then meet with local growers and businesses to make this happen. I would love to have local community members and businesses – musicians, yoga instructors, artists and so on – come in also and provide learning experiences for the children in our care.

Long-term plans include a community garden, recycling program, and sharing with our children the importance of community resources and contributions.

This center will provide a safe and loving environment for children and parents, and connect with the community through cooperative interaction and business (local-sourcing and volunteering).

Even if we don’t reach our goal, your contributions will help build the foundations of what we’re trying to accomplish.

Sometimes not everyone is in a position to contribute, even to something they feel strongly about. Spreading the word about our campaign is helping, too! ūüôā

What’s the problem?

This one is ranty, and a copy of a Facebook post I made. Usually I don’t rant on FB, but sometimes I just can’t help myself. At the bottom, you’ll find a link to a great site that helps these kids mentioned in my rant.

People post all their (unchecked) “facts” and posts about immigration and how it’s “ruining” our country, and all that rubbish. Do you realize that CHILDREN are in crisis, and they’re trying to flee danger? Children are trying to cross the border because they’re afraid to remain in their homes? They’re leaving behind everything they know in hopes of something or some place better or safer. Those little kids, immigrants, who only want safety.

And people whine because immigrants might get a job or some help from our government? What if your kids were in that situation? What if your kids needed help? These “immigrants” you’re whining about? They’re trying to make decent lives for themselves and their children just like anyone else. What happened to compassion? What happened to kindness? What happened to helping others, and being human?

THIS is why I do not stand for the pledge. This is why I shake my head in concern and shame when I see posts about how awful welfare, and immigrants, and so on. NOT because I’m not patriotic, but because this country has become a place of self-centeredness, greed, and “Do for yourself what you refuse to do for others.”

While you’re bitching about how much you’re losing to “immigrants” or people on welfare, think about how much you actually have.

 

http://www.savethechildren.org

It’s Related To Teaching

My children have these “agendas” that the school gives the students. It’s to record their homework & important things & such. It also has pages of information in the back: The periodical tables, math definitions, anti-bullying tips, things like that. These things¬†are like Trapper Keepers minus the 80s awkwardness!

trapper keeper
[I had this one!]

My son’s journal had a note for Tuesday: “No writing journal”. Okay, I’ll assume he didn’t do his writing journal. So.. is he supposed to do it Wednesday night? Is that just to let me know he didn’t have it? Does he get to make that up? I don’t know, it only said “no writing journal”. Yesterday’s note said something about how he didn’t do it (again), although she had written a note about it the day before. OH, so that was to let him¬†know to do it? I asked him that first day and his response was, “I don’t know if I’m allowed to do it or not”. Apparently he was supposed to make that up. Wow, aren’t I the worst mom ever, for not making him? *kicks rocks* Really though, I wasn’t sure if he was or not! O_o Well, now I know. Next time we’ll err on the side of caution.

I appreciate the fact that teachers are quite busy. Really, they are. I was a child care teacher for 14 years, and my classrooms were wayyyy smaller than headstart & school classrooms. Still – I’m one of those moms who needs a bit more input. A vague note doesn’t cut it for me. I like detail! I gave my son the “you need to keep up with this stuff and ask if you’re not sure!” lecture. That was probably¬†followed by “I have no idea how to do that 4th grade¬†math, ask your sister for help.” [Seriously, what is up with this astrophysics they’re calling math these days? I didn’t do this stuff until high school, & maybe even college].

Teaching is one of the things I’m considering when I (finally) finish my ECE degree. I love working with kids, and obviously it’s a career for me. I did spend the last 14 years working in child care (and I actually implemented lesson plans & curriculum, so none of that “just a babysitter” stuff!). I think I might have issues with all that rigid “planning for testing” stuff, though. I would want my classrooms to be fun. Learning should be fun. Kids learn best through play. I don’t give a boop [my son’s word of the morning] who you are or what you’re arguing: Kids learn best through play. You turn daily experiences and play into teachable moments, and kids thrive on that. That’s the kind of classroom I would have. I’m pretty much a big kid myself – I’m more than happy to teach kids about science by making Goobleck out of corn starch and water, and making a huge mess in the process. Did that at the center where I worked once: Man, was that ever a mess to clean up! Great fun, though. The kids loved it.

I respect teachers and all their hard work. They don’t get paid enough. Get off your butts, government parties, and pay teachers more. Seriously, all the “children are the future” crap that politicians spout? Put your money where your mouth is, chumps. Pay the teachers more and give them more than testing to work toward.

Home [Is Where You Are]

I wrote this for my babies, quite a few years ago.

snow babies

[8.15.10]
 
You are my lights;
the stars & moon
that paint my skies.

The love that carries me
through dark moments –
when i’m lost, you find me.

The sounds of your laughter,
your words, your songs;
the way you both smile.

These are my reasons;
Your love lights my paths
& brings me home again.

Think of the Children

Today, I was checking out my classes on Blackboard. I’m not a fan of Blackboard – I prefer hands-on learning – but it’s¬†a step in the direction I want to go.

I’m working toward my BA for Early Childhood Education. I have all the credentials you can get, now I need the BA to go with them. :-p Working with and for children is my calling. I’ve been doing it for years and years, and I love it still. I really want to get more into children’s advocacy, and I’m trying to figure out how to go about that. I considered social work, also, but – I don’t know. It’s not a job I could “leave at the office”. I can’t even do that with child care. The real problem would be handling situations in an ethical, professional manner. I’m not sure I could look into the eyes of a suspected child-abuser and say “We’ll come and check things out”. I don’t think I could walk away and leave an abused or potentially abused child with that person. In fact, I’m quite certain I couldn’t. For all my professionalism in my line of work. I don’t believe I could tell a person “You’re under investigation” or whatever it is one would tell them, and then just walk away and leave that child with them.¬†I would be more apt to walk in with a ball-bat and scream “Let me show you what you’re doing to that baby!”

Maybe that’s what’s needed, though. I know case workers are overworked, understaffed and very underpaid. I know that there are rules, regs and laws that have to be followed. Maybe, though, those kids in trouble need someone who will refuse to accept “investigations take time” as an answer. Maybe they need someone who will scream at a system who, far too often, lets them down. Maybe they need someone who will follow through on even the “little” complaints, because what if? What if that child really is in trouble? What if you’re the only person willing to help? What if you’re the last resort, the final stand?

Maybe those kids in trouble need someone who will fight for them, tooth and nail, heart and soul. Who will scream “No! Look again!” when “unsubstantiated evidence” is thrown out. Who will say “No! Parenting classes are not enough when they’re hurting this baby!”

Our system has failed so many kids. Too many. I’ve seen it firsthand. I’ve made the reports and I’ve tried to follow up to see what’s going on, only to see absolutely nothing being done, or to see it blown off like it doesn’t matter. It’s sad, it’s beyond sad. It’s heart-wrenching. It’s heart-breaking and it’s not fair, because we’re supposed to protect our children. We’re supposed to love them and nurture them, and teach them that there are good things in this world. We’re supposed to protect them from the monsters that scare them in the dark, but how are we doing that if we’re the monsters?

The focus is so wrong. You focus on guns and you focus on political parties and you focus on who’s doing what and when. Who’s putting the focus on the little hearts who need it the most? If the people who are supposed to protect them fail, and the system who is supposed to be the back-up protection fail, who do they have left to save them?

I haven’t pursued a social work degree because, and only because, I could not handle watching children fall through the cracks. I could not be professional when I know in my heart that a child is being abused or neglected, yet they’re left in the hands of the people doing it. I could not stand by passively and listen to nonsense bureaucracy who pretend to have the youth’s interests at heart but really don’t care. I couldn’t stand by and watch some beast of an abusive¬†person walk away¬†with a child that is in need of help because the system failed that child.

That’s the point when I would break out my ball-bat, scream out some type of Amazonian war cry, and take things into my own hands. I make it sound like a joke, but it’s not. It’s not a joke. I haven’t pursued social work up until now because I have children of my own, and they don’t need mommy spending time in jail for assaulting some tosser who harmed a helpless child. I am a protective momma raptor, and it’s not only of my own children. It’s of any child who needs me.

I’m looking into¬†a social work¬†degree, though, so maybe I’ll make a career change. Professionalism be damned, someone needs to let the protective mommas out of their cages.

 

 mother

Kids Say Such Funny Things

“Mom, you came over with the Pilgrims, right?”¬†
No! I’m not that old!
“Are you sure? I thought I saw your picture in the chapter about pilgrims.”
Do you know how long the rest of your life is? Add it up, math genius, because that’s how long you’re grounded.

If you were a milkshake, what flavour would you be?
“Olive Oil, so you wouldn’t drink me.”
Ooh. Clever.

“Okay, I got the gnome out of the grave so now I’m sane again!”
‘Just watch out for the four-legged eyeball!’
Uh.. No. I’m not even going to ask.

“Nana said you should let me watch The Hunger Games.”
No way. That movie is about kids killing kids.
“She said you watched scary stuff when you were a kid.”
Yeah, look how I turned out.
“Good point!”

(After listening to the kids talk about the “old days”, before mom and dad had “cool stuff”)
You know what would be funny?
Hubby: “You’re not unscrewing the backs of their chairs so that they fall when they sit down.”
You never let me have any fun!

“Mom! He’s looking at my monitor!”
‘Mom, she’s watching something she shouldn’t.’
“No I’m not! Mom! He’s breathing my air!”
“Mom, she’s on my planet.”
(To hubby) This is why some species eat their young.
Hubby: “Use salt and pepper, Robert Irvine says it adds flavour.”

Aside

The Minimalist (War) Game

I’ve decided to do The Minimalist Game (http://www.theminimalists.com/game). You get rid of something you don’t use, don’t need, etc., every day. So far, so good. Six days into the year, and I’ve gotten rid of a basket of stuff already. Okay, technically it’s still here. Tomorrow, though, it’s going elsewhere. The kids’ clothes is going to my bestie for her daughter, the rest is going to goodwill or being given away.

Did I mention that getting rid of things with the kids in the room is a war of its own? “Why are you getting rid of that, mom?” “You’ve never played with this, ever. You didn’t even know it was in here.” “But I was going to play with it right now! You just found it first!” Riiiiight.

My kids are shooting each other with their nerf guns. Should I intervene? Nahhh, not yet.. School has been called for tomorrow again, because of the weather & such. I haven’t told them that yet. It was called today, & hubby went in around 9 a.m. & woke our son by calling “Get up, you’re going to be late!” THEN he told him school was called.

I was eating toast this morning, because hey, I like toast. Hubby’s sitting there laughing at me, because I threw a bite of the crust in the trash. I asked him, “What are you laughing at?” His reply? “I’m watching crazy brain eat toast.” Ha! He’s so funny. Funnnny. Really though, it was funny.

I was shot in the head with a Nerf bullet just now. It’s on. This is war.

nerf war

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