In a regulated child care center, the teacher/child ratio is maintained on a daily basis, or the centre will jeopardize their licence. These centers MUST plan a curriculum for all of the age groups. It is mandatory. Don't lump all centers into one category because you were in a crappy one. Investigate and ask questions. You will really enjoy working with the 2 & 3 year olds.
In a regulated centre, the turnover is rare.
As for being with 15 children by yourself; your employer was in violation of her licence. (Is she licenced?) You can report her to the proper authorities. No wonder you hated your time there.
This gives you the ratios though some centers on ocassion will break the ratios if Teachers are out sick or if the Director doesn't want to come in and work.
I worked for LaPetite here in California for a short time and it was alright. I worked for Kindercare for over 5 years in the infant room and loved it.
The Teacher turnover rate is high if they don't pay well, have too high of ratios, or no help.
All you can do is try it out to see what it is like. It all comes down to the Director and Assistant Director whether or not it is a nice place to work.
When I worked as a Director I always made sure my Teachers were happy and actually came in and helped out in the classrooms when I could. It gave them a break.
I know what you mean. One time I worked for a center that I got stuck with over 45 afterschool kids and let me tell you these were special needs kids with Tourettes, ADHD, ADD, and a whole sleugh of problems. We were in this huge gymnasium where the noise level soon became unbearable. I finally quit.
I have experience working in different types of programs in the daycare, preschool, afterschool, Kindergarten-3rd grades in Public and Private schools.
My only experience with the La Petite Academy is through a friend who went to work there. She was my son's pre school teacher in a church program and was wonderful. She was creative and talented. She went to work for this company - went through training, worked for three months and then was fired for being heavy. Some parent complained about her being a bad role model. They let her go for "other reasons" they said, but a friend went into her personnel file on the sly and read it to her over the phone. Just be careful. They are a real high brow group who think they are the best. The best for others just like them who think they are better than everyone else. And so if you want to work for people that perpetuate this fallacy that they are the best, then good luck.
I also don't have any direct experience with La Petite, only through friends and coworkers, and I'm afraid both are poor experiences (and at two different centers at that!).
One situation was when I was working as a childcare director. I hired someone who had recently left a La Petite (actually she was fired because they found out she was looking for another job; of course, that was not the reason they fired her, but they found another reason). Once I hired the lady (FANTASTIC teacher, by the way), she told me all about how the center's director was having an affair with the district director. They would talk about it all the time in front of the children. She also said that the director and asst. director would constantly discuss their personal lives (including all the langauge involved with what we as adults do in our bedrooms, at nightclubs, etc.) in front of the children.
Now that I work for public school, my assistant teacher told me that she enrolled her son at one, and he cried everyday that he did not want to go. She also said that when she dropped her son off, the teachers would just take him from her - no happy greetings, no transitioning him into the drop-off. He was not his happy self while going there, so mom was not happy. When a kid is not happy at a daycare, something is seriously wrong.
This is not to say that all La Petite's are bad. It could be that the one you are applying with is quite good. But yes, if I were you, I would be very direct about the ratio situation. If you don't know what your state's standards are, do a search to see if you can your state's licensing agency - you could even call them to get the info.
One other thing I might suggest since you are job hunting, look to see if some of the school districts you live around have a childcare facility for its employees. This might be a much better working situation. Also, consider applying with those district for teaching assistant/teaching aide jobs. Again, could be a much better working situation.
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