School for Small Kids is also Childcare

School will be starting up soon.

At the Margaret Murray Washington Vocational School, pre-school guidance as well as free play activities are provided. Miss L.C. Randolph is principal and Mrs. Vivian T. Turner, instructor in the child care and training classes. Taken April 1943

I know it is gauche to equate schools with child care centers, but honestly, for small kids, the ones too young to leave alone, it’s true. I don’t think teachers are glorified babysitters, but think of child care as ‘other duties as assigned’.

When COVID hit and we tried to do virtual learning, it was horrible. Our then 3 year old Destructo had zero interest in staring at a screen unless there were singing dancing cartoons on it.

My spouse, The Help, was a trooper. He tried to hold Descructo still and worked with the child care center and later the Seaton teacher. It was painful and pointless. Never again.

The thing that whole thing taught us was yes, schools offer a babysitting service, in addition to the other things that ‘going to school’ means. In order to do work, I needed someone to care for our child. Yes, education and learning is important, but in order to do what I do, someone has to watch Destructo and keep him away from me so I can get crap done.

Schools, in general, provide many services. One is child care. This is very important for working parents, particularly single working parents, of children too young to leave alone. Virtual learning for really young kids does not work. I have yet to meet a parent in real life who who says it does. Online no one knows you’re a dog or a fake parent.

Going forward, don’t ever close schools beyond the time it takes to clear snow from most of the roads. Or beyond the amount of sick/personal leave a regular adult would have*. It is a complete waste of parents’ time and sanity.

We survived. We were proactive. We reached out to home schoolers we knew. We took turns with child care so we could both work. It helped that we had flexible employers, belong to a class of worker who have the luxury of working on laptops, and had a lot of leave hours. We hired a teenager to babysit for several hours in a day. We went to parks and commiserated with other parents. By November 2020 our daycare reopened for Pre-K. But never doing this again.

*I usually have tons of leave, but I have co-workers who are at a leave deficit. One serious illness years ago can leave you with very little sick leave which is earned at 4 hours a fortnight.