We engaged in a lot of soul searching before sending Munchkin to daycare last year. While there was never a doubt in S’s mind that he would benefit from a structured environment and the opportunity to socialize with other kids, D was somewhat sympathetic to his mother’s view that a child that young (the Munch was only 20 months old when he started daycare) should stay at home.
Ultimately, the reality of our situation won out – with both of us in full-time language training we really had no viable alternative to daycare. Munchkin cried the first week or two, but he ultimately came to love daycare, and by the end of our DC stay it was hard to convince him to come home at day’s end.
In Kigali, we had the choice of keeping Munchkin at home, but given how much he enjoyed daycare and how much he got out of it, we did not seriously entertain the option. He spent the first several weeks at home because school was not yet in session, but there is no question that all three of us have been happier since the new school year began in September.
The school employs an online platform through which we stay informed about Munchkin’s activities, though the class reports tend to be general. There are reminders to parents that healthy eating is important, with an attendant list of healthy snacks parents can pack for lunch time; lists of songs the class is learning, with an offer to share lyrics should parents want to practice with their young ones at home; updates on the practical life and sensorial activities in which the class engages, including how to use indoor feet and voices and practice peaceful hands and minds.
Every once in a while, we also receive personalized messages, all of which to date have dealt with potty training. Munchkin has made great strides in the month or so since he first discovered that his potty plays music. We thought this might happen once he started school, but have been surprised that we’ve had more success at home than in school. For the last couple of weeks, Munchkin has been consistent about asking to use the potty, with very few accidents. “I did one!” he’ll exclaim, adding, “the toilet say thank you to me,” when his potty breaks out in song.
Initially, this progress did not translate outside the home. “We even gave him his privacy like he asked,” lamented one of his teachers, “but he still went in his pants.” S decided to bring Munchkin’s potty to school the next morning, which seemed to solve the problem. Apparently he just didn’t want to share a potty with other kids. After we brought his personal potty in we received an effusive and rather overly descriptive message from the school telling us how Munchkin was so proud about using the potty that he had to tell all the teachers about it. Unfortunately, the school also sent his potty back at the end of the week thinking that he was fully trained; without the comfort of his own potty, he reverted to his old ways.
At the beginning of the school year, Munchkin’s teachers said they would start swimming lessons once the whole class is potty-trained, which we hope will happen sooner rather than later.