Hello! Welcome to the Child Retention Centre!
We’re very excited that you’ve taken the time to visit our facility and learn more about our early childhood education programs! As the Centre Director, I’m personally looking forward to overseeing your child’s initial journey into the wonderful world of education and collecting the $125 per week tuition, payable by cash or check, on each Monday before he starts class.
I’ve already reviewed your child’s application materials and I’m particularly impressed by little Jonathan’s achievement of so many early educational milestones and your credit score. I can’t wait to get to know Jonathan and use our battery of arbitrary tests to determine how much you exaggerated. And regarding your credit score, while it’s not off the charts, it’s a lot better than what we usually see around here, so I’m confident you’ll avoid the $50 late fee that’s applied if the weekly $125 tuition isn’t received on Monday prior to the start of classes.
Now, I have unlocked the armored and fortified door to your left. Go ahead and step through and I will come out from behind this triple-pane glass partition and meet you.
At the front here we have a file box with a folder for each child. We place things for the children to take home in their folders, so be sure to check it when you pick up Jonathan each day. For example, we put the children’s artwork and any notes about their progress and behavior in their folders. There’s a recycle bin, conveniently located on your way to the parking lot, where you can deposit artwork. Also, if there’s a note from us in the folder, it will be bad news and it will be written in a passive-aggressive tone.
Our monthly calendar is also posted here on the bulletin board. You’ll notice that each week we have a theme that ties together all our activities. For example, this week’s theme is farm animals. We teach farm-related songs, play fun farm-animal games, and have our teachers dress up like cows on Friday. This is one reason why our teachers are always really sad.
Here we are at our first stop on the tour. This is our all-purpose feeding area. Because proper nutrition is vital for your child’s growing body and mind, all our meals and snacks adhere to Recommended Eating for Toddler and Child Health guidelines. The focal point of our nutritional plan is the graham cracker.
You might also notice that the table and chairs are extremely tiny, which is perfect for the children, but less than ideal for our teachers. However, because we don’t want our teachers to think that they’re actual professionals or even adults, they’re required to squeeze half their bottoms into the tiny chairs while they sit with the children during all snacks and meals. They’re allowed to eat, but only if they eat the same RETCH-approved food as the children. This is another reason why our teachers are always really sad.
As we walk down the hall here on the way to our four-year-old classroom, have a look at some of our children’s artwork on the walls. We’re not overly proud of it, but it’s the best we have. I believe the idea was for them to use their handprint to form the body of a farm animal. One of our teachers saw it on Pinterest. Ha! You know how those things always turn out.
And here is your classroom! The goal of our curriculum is kindergarten readiness. We emphasize letters, numbers, colors, shapes, and not fighting over toys. And just look at the wonderful charts and interactive materials decorating the walls! We ask that the children not touch any of these items. The only exception to this no-touching rule is the star chart. When a child is rewarded with a star for good behavior or completing or not completing a task he doesn’t understand or for just not being a royal screw-up for once, he is allowed to affix the gold star next to his name or anywhere else on the chart, wall, or floor.
While we’re on that subject, I should say a quick word about our discipline policies. We take a relatively hands-off approach. Meaning, if you can’t get your kids to behave, don’t expect us to. For particularly egregious cases of misbehavior, we have designated Safe Spaces for quiet contemplation and banging one’s head against the wall. Also, we use a Sharpie to mark habitual biters surreptitiously with a small B behind their right ear.
Next up, our playroom! The children spend their free playtime in this room and it’s also where, on rainy days, our teachers lament their life choices. Here we have a wide assortment of educational toys for the children to play with and slobber all over. We also have two computers that the children are free to use. There used to be only educational games on those, but then we realized all the kids do at home is play Candy Crush on their parents’ iPhones anyway, so we just gave up. Over in the corner, there’s a pile of bubble wrap and cardboard boxes that the UPS guy left one time. Seventy-five percent of our biting incidents arise directly from bubble-wrap and cardboard-box-related disagreements. We encourage the children to rotate around and try out all the different centers, but what usually happens is they all form a mosh pit in the bubble-wrap and cardboard-box corner while waiting for their turn to play Candy Crush.
Finally, follow me out the back door here and we’ll have a quick look at our playground. Our teachers are all certified in exercise science, early childhood motor skill development, and feigning amazement when asked to “Look how fast I am!”
And, there you have it. Thank you so much for coming to visit us and we hope that Jonathan will be joining us at CRC. If you have any questions, particularly about the tuition that is due each Monday, please don’t hesitate to give me a call!
Illustration by Luke Eastman