I am in Little Rock . In the morning I have my last meeting with the Arkansas Early Childhood Commission. This commission is appointed by the governor or other legislative staff to over see things that go on on the state level for our young children. I was appointed four years ago by a state representative. I have enjoyed my time on the Commission. As a commissioner you get information about changes in regulations and laws before others do. You vote on those changes and you get lots of education about the hows and whys of state government. I was honored to serve. Tomorrow they are recognizing me for my service. I was the first family childcare home provider to be appointed. Again.. honored and humbled.
So, that was the top for the week ( in my preschool world ) now let's discuss the bottom.
Last Thursday we had an incident happen. As our practice when it is good weather, Randy takes the children outside to meet the parents and I clean the tables and floors and do the dishes from snack. When Randy gets the kids outside usually some have already gone home. It is a very hectic time. Thursday afternoon at 3 pm Randy looked around and the only child he had left was Daniel. He said " Come on Daniel, lets go in." He and Daniel walked through the house. Not even 30 seconds later another child's grand father came in and asked where his little one was. Randy jumped up ( faster than I have seen him move in a long time) and ran outside. This little boy was laying on the rug on the playhouse almost asleep. That is why Randy did not see him when he visually swept the play yard for any other children.
We are not perfect.
We will never be perfect.
But we try.
We followed protocol and tried to call the mother. I called licensing to self report. When Candace finally got back in touch with me I was told I needed to call the Child Abuse Hotline. SERIOUSLY? UGh... I have battled in my heart a few times about calling the hotline about a child's safety but now I have to CALL ON MYSELF because a child laid on the rug in the playhouse and Randy missed him. It is in a locked gate. But.. I did. I answered all their questions . Who is the victim ? Who is the perpetrator ? Double Ugh... I thought I would throw up. At the end of the call , I was put on hold and when they came back they said due to the age of the child and the time he was alone that it would not be taken under investigation but Randy would need to go to a supervision class. So, he is. It does go in our file. The picture below is a new system we have set up that should ensure that this doesnt happen again. As the kids come in the gate it is noted who goes in. As they leave it is noted.
I am sorry... really. That whole afternoon I felt like I could crawl in a hole.
But , I have to face that we are not perfect. I am thankful no one was hurt.
How many providers has this happened to ?
How many providers would call in on themselves ?
How many would tell everyone what happened?
That is who I am. That is how I do it.
I hope this doesnt affect how you feel about the care that we provide or the safety of your child. I feel as a " family" you deserve to know the ups AND downs.. this was a down.
For those of you that had somehow found out about this before me telling you today , thank you for coming in to tell us that you still trust us and understood that this was an honest mistake . Thank you for asking what happened and not feeding the gossip mill. Thank you for reminding me how hard we work and that it is times like this that make it all worth it when you stand beside us to say " you really do a great job. "
Shortcomings are hard for me to swallow but.. the bottom line is - I cant change it. Life.. is a series of mistakes that we learn from.
The kids enjoyed seeing how much their grass had grown today. When I get home , we will give the grass a haircut.
Randy did another experiment today. This one was called " dancing raisins."
This is the old egg in vinegar trick. In a few days we will take the egg out and the shell will have disappeared.
We did find out the egg in the vinegar floats and the egg in the water does not.