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  • For weeks the by DHR (Department of Human Resources) established limit for the teacher-student ratio was severely exceeded.  (Age group 2 1/2 ? 4 year old kids: : 11 children per 1 teacher per DHR regulation). After raising the issue multiple times and finally making the comment ?please do not put me in a situation where I have to file a  complaint? our 3 year old son was kicked out of this daycare the very same day.
    Our son started attending Cousin Jane's Preschool in March 2013. 
    For the last several weeks, our son?s class had close to 20 children with frequently only one teacher present When I spoke to the teacher about my safety concerns, I was informed that by noon or 2pm a second teacher will may join the class. A lot can happen until 2 pm when only 1 teacher has to watch that many small children. It?s not safe ? that?s why the DHR has limited the number of children in this age group to 11 students per 1 teacher.
    On the day our son was kicked out of pre-school, there were  17 children supervised by only 1 sick teacher, who, to her own account, suffered from a horrible migraine (a condition, she reported, she fought with on a almost daily basis). That poor teacher could hardly stand and keep her eyes open. Concerned about her condition and her possibly compromised ability to ensure the safety of that many children, I yet again tried to get the daycare to putting another teacher in the class room. The same teacher had welcomed my previous attempts to get an addition teacher in the class room when she had significantly more than the allowed 11 children by herself.  When I saw 3 staff members congregated in the kitchen area, talking with each other, I addressed my concerns with them. I was not given any response initially. Only when I remarked ?Please do not put me into a position where I have to file a complaint?, one of the staff members angrily left the conversation with her co-workers and went to our son?s class room.
    When I arrived at work, I received a call from Jane, one of the owners of the day care. Very angrily she informed me that she ?will not allow any parents to threaten her? and that she had been patient enough with my repeated complaints about exceeding the student-teacher ratio.  She continued that our son was not allowed to come back to daycare the next day. It was impossible to have a civilized conversation with Jane. I left work and got our son. 
    To me that creates a climate of intimidation. You raise legitimate concerns - you will lose child care without sufficient notice. Good luck if you have to go to work the next day??..
    Well, nothing is always 100% negative, so here are some ?Pros? and some more "Cons"
    PROs
    - The first 6 weeks were great! Teacher - student ratio within the regulation, same teacher every day, our son learned a lot
    - The facility is clean
    -  Most (not all) of the teachers are friendly 
    -  Nice play ground
    - when our son was running a sudden 102.5 fever, they took good care of him until I could pick him up 15 minutes after I was notified that he had fallen ill. 
    - during nap time a very sweet lady was his nap partner and ensured that he was feeling comfortable and able to take a nap
    - when he was moved to the 3 year old class prior to his 3rd birthday, my permission was obtained, and I had plenty opportunity to talk to his new teacher (well, at least I was told that she would be his teacher) and to let him have a "test run" with the older kids. 
    - I was allowed to bring our son for some "play dates" before he actually started attending day care so he could familiarize himself with the kids and new surroundings.
    - lunch: our son seemed to enjoy lunch - however, when I asked in the morning what was for lunch, I was often told "I have to see what we have" ...... A lunch plan would have been great
    - he learned his shapes and colors. 1 hours of school during the school year, different activities (bring your favorite toy, craft, or water day, etc.) during summer break
    CONs
    - Inconsistency regarding teachers. Our son had several different teachers during the final 9 weeks of his attendance - we often did not know who would be his teacher for that day.
    - Lack of communication regarding outbreaks of illnesses, etc. Even some of the teachers agreed that "the directors are bad" about informing parents about what is going on in the day care center. 
    - Lack of security. Many times, when I dropped off or picked up our son, there was no one in the front. Anyone could just walk in, make their way to the class rooms....and do whatever someone will bad intentions would like to do. 
    - Sunscreen is not applied to the children's faces, only their body
    - In the 2 year old class, while playing outside in the heat, access to water or something to drink was very limited. Our son got mildly dehydrated at several occasions. Although, I had asked the teacher to please provide more water (as ordered by the doctor!), she many times failed to do so. (I guess, more water means more diapers or potty breaks - and that is inconvenient)
    Friday would have been our son's last day anyway.....  and although he learned a lot at this day care and enjoyed going there, I would not recommend Cousin Jane's Preschool to anyone who is actively involved in their children's lives, likes to know what is going on with them, feels that safety is important, and  also feels that a parent should be allowed to address legitimate concerns without getting their kid kicked out the same day. However, for uninvolved parents who have a "nothing will ever happen" attitude and who can afford to lose child care in a moments notice if they should decide to raise concerns, Cousin Jane's preschool is an ok place - I guess.  
    References:
    Quick overview available at              https://daycare.com/alabama/
    Regulation:                 http://dhr.alabama.gov/documents/MinimumStandards_DayCare.pdf                see page 23
    - Martina C.
  • We love it. They have a school there and they go all the way to 6th grade. Journey has blown all the other child care places in the area away. They are the best we have found and we've seen a lot because we are military. The staff is friendly. It is clean. They are reliable. They do a lot of things with the kids. They try to coordinate things with the YMCA for gymnastics so my children can do other things. They actually coordinated swimming lessons for my daughter. They also give a military discount.
    - Philip D.
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