Let me begin this piece by reminding you all that this is simply my own opinion, not all dads, not all stay at home parents, not my wife’s. Please bear in mind there are people who have fantastic experiences and can give you great recommendations and reasons why to go. This article is my reasons to not go.
Lets look at the time, our local ECFE class starts at 6:30 and goes until 8:00. Now if you don’t know our kid is 3. Meaning when we were in ECFE he was 1-2 years old. We started towards the end of year one and put him through all of year two. If you had a 1-2 year old would you want to keep them out until 8pm for a class, honestly? I’m not sure about you guys but our kid was always extremely cranky by about 7:30 and a lot of times we would end up leaving early in order to get him home for bed.
What do you really learn? An example that comes to mind is that during the end of the second year(when our kid was 2.5 years) We(the parents) had a lesson on “How to deal with kids that don’t like diaper changes” Wait, Excuse me? Is there someone here that made it over the last two years without knowing how to change their kid’s diaper?? Surely whoever designed this course should’ve caught this error.
What do the kids learn? I understand that at the ripe age of 2 kids aren’t learning long division, but to me it honestly just feels like 1.5 hours of playtime. The only thing I can even remember them trying to teach my son was to put his dishes away and push the chair in after snacktime(we’ll come back to this later) and I can almost guarantee you when I was 1-2 I was doing neither of these things. Not only is it something I would rather work on my kid at home, but when he didn’t understand what they were asking of him he was publicly scolded, further(yes this keeps going) more after my wife and I both told him that it’s okay, he didn’t have to push his chair in the teacher confronted us and told us that yes he did. I’m not sure how the rest of the world feels, but if my wife or I tell my son something, do not contradict me or try to tell me I’m wrong on it. Especially in a public place.
Snacktime? I was personally annoyed to find out there was a rotating snack schedule. I mean it starts at 6:30… most humans I know eat around 5:30. Do we really need to teach our kids that we need to be eating all the time? Alongside the snack rotation was the rotation of the person bringing snacks responsibility to assist the 2nd teacher(or assistant?) during the parents lesson time. Meaning that parent(mind you there are a few single parents in there) would miss out on the lesson completely. Not to mention, what are we even paying for at this point? We’re providing the food, and now the childcare? I’ll tell you, my wife inquired with the director of the program, who let us know that the money the parents paid to be in this class went to new computers. Do you think my 3 year old is using computers yet? He’s not. And they weren’t made available during ECFE even if he was…
Lets talk about circle time. So at the end of every meeting for between 15-30 minutes we would have circle time. Oh Circle Time, what a joy. During Circle Time kids, toddlers, babies are expected to ignore the room full of toys that they are in and come sit in a circle in the middle of the room and listen to the teacher tell them stories or sing songs. That means this is starting around 7:40 on average. So now there are 15 screaming toddlers that are tired, want to play with toys, and are generally messy from whatever snack was presented that night. Does this sound like a good time? I didn’t think so.
My final complaint here is that it pits the parents against each other. Okay so maybe this isn’t at all ECFE’s. But at ours there was a night where they asked us questions and we would respond with a Strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree. and then explain our positions. Now I’m sure you all know this but parents hold pretty extreme opinions on certain things. It’s not really enjoyable to engage in this conversation in a public environment. It’s just super uncomfortable and at the same time let’s emember how judgmental other parents are. Yeah not a good time and certainly not a time I would pay for.
At best ECFE is a glorified place to take your child to hangout with other kids for 30-45 minutes, snack for 15-30 minutes, and be forced to sit in a circle screaming for the other 30.
Next time on the Dad Sitch: Video Toy Review!? John Deere Tractor Mechanic Set.