Thursday, August 27, 2009

Supporting families through pre-school

I attended pre-school orientation the other night. Some of my readers may remember, my children attend a local Christian pre-school, sort of a mother/parent's day out program. See here and here.

This is the third year we've been enrolled. It really has been great. My daughter draws and paints all the time. In the orientation, the teacher (who knows my son) pointed out all of the activity stations and then said - there are the trains for {aerin's son}. So yeah, they know my kids and are paying attention!

It is a play based pre-school, but they are working on writing letters and motor skills.

But the point of this post is not to expound on how great this pre-school is.

The point is to question why there aren't pre-schools located in LDS churches. Which generally remain empty throughout the week during the day.

When I've asked my (mormon) parents about this before, they say it's due to liability issues.

That may be the case. But clearly, this pre-school has been operating for over thirty years. I met someone the other day who had attended this exact pre-school when they were growing up (and had fond memories of it). Liability doesn't seem to be an issue for many of these churches/pre-schools - I'm not sure why not.

A parents day out is win/win for the entire family. The parent or primary caretaker gets anywhere from three to five hours to themselves, sometimes multiple times during the week. They can spend that time shopping, or working from home. Or however they choose.

I have to say - normal activities take so much less time when a person is not negotiating with four year olds.

And the benefits are not just for the primary caretaker. Children benefit as well. The child is exposed to other children their age. They are also exposed to caring adults, inspiring them to learn about their world AND also by enforcing boundaries. For my children, as twins, the teachers are very familiar with multiples and are working with both of them to be more independent and to have separate identities.

As for the benefits for the church/congregation, that I can't say. Some of the pre-school families are members of that congregation. Others (including some of the teachers) are Roman Catholic. It doesn't seem to be a big deal at all to anyone. The point of the pre-school (their mission) is to serve parents and children. Whether or not those parents or children are affiliated with that church or religion.

As far as I can tell, they seem to think serving humanity is Christ-like - they don't seem to care what the official status is of the people they are serving.

Without question, I have a great impression of their church. And I am incredibly grateful that they sponsor such an open and tolerant pre-school. My kids do learn religious songs (ask me about the B-I-B-L-E song sometime) but we are talking already (as a family) about different religions and faiths.

An LDS friend of mine, a stay at home mom, also sends her daughter to a pre-school. Her pre-school is run by the same denomination. Here in the midwest, there isn't an LDS alternative.

It seems to me that a family friendly church, and clearly supportive of moms-who-stay-home church would support such a program. As a heavily missionary oriented faith, I would think that the LDS church would want people of all faiths to bring their children to the church to expose them to mormonism. Despite whether or not the children/parents joined mormonism, it is a good thing to do in general and serves the community.

It doesn't appear to be terribly expensive, and well worth the benefits for the parents and children.

The LDS leadership typically supports LDS members only, with some exceptions. Refusing to sponsor or encourage a mother/parent's day out pre-school doesn't seem to make a lot of sense and is incongruous with the LDS/mormon values of supporting families.


Freckle Face Girl said...

Lexi went to a Methodist one last year and later I found out that 2/3 of the kids were mormons. That always makes me laugh. I know that these programs can be pretty good money makers for churches.

I think the LDS church doesn't do it because they want the kids home with mom. They think that not providing the service keeps moms from going back to work.

Aerin said...

Thanks FFG.

That's my argument - that having a mother's/parent's day out actually _supports_ the mother/parent staying home. Supports them emotionally. That's why I don't understand it.