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The Ins and Outs of Early Intervention

Kicked Out of Preschool & Day Care?

Published October 25, 2016 8:58 AM by jasna cowan

I’m not sure when and why this started happening, but these days it seems to be happening more often than ever, that is, toddlers being kicked out of preschools and day care.

My mother was a day care provider, so I can really understand that sometimes children can be ultra-challenging and maybe the day care does not have the training to address the needs of the child.

But, just releasing a child because he is too much is just unacceptable in my opinion.

Many times these children are just let go, no meetings involved, no resources given to the parent, no alternative plan, just given the boot.  

I say, if you have gone into working with young children, then that means all children. And if that is what you are committed to, then you find a way, you collaborate with professionals and the parents, you support the family that entrusted their child to you.

I have heard of at least 10 different children in the past six months getting kicked out of their day care settings due to crying, hitting, and not being able to sit still. We don’t quit on toddlers; that is not “OK.”

I honestly think that everyone who obtains a license to work with young children need to commit to trying (and documenting) many different avenues and having meetings prior to, and instead of just quitting the child and the family.  

I have heard the stories from various parents, such as: “The school sat us down and just asked us not to come back because he is not appropriate for the school.”

Can you imagine being a parent and hearing information like that when your child is so young? Parents are defeated and become worrisome about their child's future. Where do they turn now? Many times they are not offered resources or an additional referral.

I propose legislators get involved here and develop a plan for what to do and protect these young children and their families. That way these centers would have to have documented formalities such as referring to a supporting agency (regional center, medical referral, school district).

Another option that schools can consider is meeting with the family to adjust schedules. Maybe it is too long of a day, or perhaps the child has a hard time with “circle time”?

I am not saying that day cares and preschools force a child into their environment if it is not working for them. But if kicking the child out is truly the only option, there should be documented effort, meetings, and resources offered to the parent first.

I have tough children all of the time, but when I signed up to become a pediatric speech therapist that was the day I committed to all children. Even when I know the child needs a more specialized therapist, say in an area like stuttering, I support the family until the child is in the right hands.

We should never quit on children, we need to support these families and put them in the right hands so they can experience a positive early start to their education.

7 comments

I'm sorry, but in this case I would come down on the side of the daycare center. Having your child in daycare is in agreement  that you enter into with a business.  It is not your right as a parent to have daycare for your child.  Like any other business, the daycare center has to do what's best to make their business a successful venture. Personally, I would be very concerned if the daycare that I was paying for was not safe for my child because another child was out of control  and I would probably search for another place where I felt my child was in a safe environment. Possibly that seems heartless, but the daycare center is not responsible for raising children and making sure that their behavior is acceptable--that's the job of the parent/guardian.  

I have to agree with the other poster who said that she has never seen so many behaviors in young children before.   Same goes for me, and I've been in this field for over 20 years. I lay the blame on bad parenting practices.  So many parents these days just don't want to invest the time and energy that it takes to raise children, which is very sad. Nobody ever said being a parent was easy-- it is not easy to teach a young child how to follow the rules and how to have acceptable behavior so that they can function in society.  But it is your job as a parent-- it should not be delegated to day care centers or schools.  I am not talking here about children who have  behaviors as a manifestation of their special needs. I have worked with many children on the autism spectrum over the years, and I know these children may have behaviors because of their disorder.  That is an entirely different issue, and those children need services beyond that of a simple day care center.   I believe all states have such services in place as a provision of the IDEA law.  That is the avenue to follow if the child's behavior is due to special needs. If the child is simply out of control because he has not been taught acceptable behavior, then that is on the parent/guardian, not a daycare or private preschool program.

Tammy, SLP November 5, 2016 8:57 AM

I'm an SLP and I work in the schools and in EI. I understand the concept of not giving up on a kid - there's the ethical ramifications as well. But, I have also worked with little ones who have been kicked out of day care - and it's not always the center's fault. I was in the home with a kiddo who has been booted out of three - 3 daycare situations! The little guy was adorable, but with horrendous behaviors that actually endangered other kids - this was also the home where mom would go take a shower or fix food and talk on the phone. I could never get her to understand that she needed to be PART of the sessions to get the most info to work with her child the other 6 days and 23 hours!

Parents need to be held more responsible than they are currently. When there are disabilities involved, the kid can get some slack and support the parents. But when it's poor parenting - there needs to be repercussions for the parents and not make the local school district or the day care centers take up the slack because the parents abdicate their responsibility for their own children.

Melissa, SLP November 4, 2016 11:19 AM

I have had this experience as well - in the public schools where we can't just "kick" the child out (as much as we would have liked to). In all the years I've worked with children, I have never seen the kinds of children we are seeing now - out of control, verbally abusive, and physically abusive - to other children and adults. Sometimes it was downright scary. We had a team of a behavioral therapist, school psychologist, OT, SLP, and special educator working together to create a plan for such children. Sometimes it meant the child had their own classroom and TWO one-on-one therapists to manage the behavior. Most private care providers are not equipped to handle such a child and they are protecting the other children and themselves by dismissing such children. That said, there should be a meeting to formally state the reasons why the child is being dismissed and referrals to the appropriate providers to ensure the child is assessed and receives help.

Pamela, Speech-Language Pathologist November 3, 2016 9:10 PM
Northwood NH

When a child enters a private home vs. a commercial center, there is a major difference.  If it is a home, then the child needs to fit into the environment of a private home.  An unruly child can disrupt the entire family unit.  In home childcare needs to be an appropriate match.  I work as a spec ed aide.  I have gone to work and lost money a few times, due to injuries inflicted upon me by unruly students.  We have no benefits.  I have a "disfigured" nose due to staph from a student scratching me.  I have a permanent hand injury from being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  A violent student from a different class went on the attack.  Imagine this in your home?  Most daycare workers earn little above minimum wage.  Committing for $10/hour vs. a substantial income is a big difference.  I cannot afford to have my scarred nose resurfaced.  I cannot use my hand for long lengths of time.  If I ever do in home care, it must be a suitable match.  thank you

Barbara November 3, 2016 7:50 PM
Santee CA

Let's not forget that there has to be responsibility taken on both sides, the provider as well as parents. Some providers, therapists, and even teachers often feel hesitant to deal with children who present with significant behavioral challenges because of liability. I agree that providers should document and put in the effort to address the areas of concern while the child is in their care. However, the parents should also be required to document their attempts at helping their child (support as needed can be given) too. I firmly believe it's a team effort. The same could be said about parents, why have children if you're not going to actually parent them? Seeking help is great but don't expect the help to do it alone. We are a team.

Pilar October 27, 2016 5:44 PM

I also have worked with children on the verge of getting kicked out of daycare. This is often because a special need exists and the staff is not trained on meeting the individual needs of the child.  In our model of service delivery, I have the luxury of meeting with the day care staff to impart knowledge and strategies to help the staff manage the child in daycare.  We also have a federally funded service called TAP (technical assistance program) that will provide ongoing support to children with identified  special needs.  

Neysa McKenney, Early intervention - SLP, Home based October 27, 2016 11:43 AM
Cuyahoga county OH

I, too, have had preschoolers who,have been "kicked out" of day care sertings.  I have had parents look depressed when I commented about working from under the table, etc, after a session...the look very surprised when I parted with "See you next session!"  The major factor I have seen through the years, even involving my grandchild, is that the caregivers usually have little training of any kind for even "normal" kiddos.

Dell, All ages - SLP, Private October 25, 2016 7:00 PM
Houston TX

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