Toddler's First Day of Camp Ever - am I a bad parent?

Our oldest Andrew (two-and-half) starts his first day of any kind of day care ever today with camp at JCYS (Jewish Council for Youth Services). We're very excited, but I feel a little guilty. Am I a bad parent, because I'm not nervous about it? Why don't I feel sad or scared?

Fun at JCYS

Fun at JCYS

The program directors gently urged us parents not to loiter outside and peer in their windows or double-park in front all day. That would creep out the kids. Again, I never imagined spying on our son to make sure he's happy during the day. My Mom told me not to cry and to make it a fast good bye. Well, my husband agreed to do the drop-off - so potential anything avoided. And, I just realized I don't have two matching socks for his first day despite a fresh load of laundry. I feel a little bad now, but it'll build character... And, JCYS assured us they call parents if a child has any problem.

I get it though... I've heard school, daycare and camp horror stories, but we knew JCYS was the right fit before we even toured the school. That's why they urge parents to send kids with "lovies" or a photo of family and other things that smell like home (I am not sending dirty diapers to replicate what I smell right now from our infant thank you very much!). Friends we've trusted for over 25 years sent their kids there and loved it. Our speech therapist from 606Speech, who's worked at several day schools, said JCYS (where she also sent her two kids) is the best since the providers love the kids like their own so they feel confident to learn and grow. She said some other play school programs lacked the strong educational component. Our pediatrician also sent his kids to JCYS.

The open house that our son attended with us in the spring confirmed our trust in the program. JCYS does not use electronic devices to teach the kids. Thank God - since Andrew already seems addicted to technology.

SO, now that we're off the wait-list (PHEW!), below are a few more highlights about the JCYS Sunflower Day Camp and JCYS Preschool (there are several locations throughout the Chicago land area and suburbs) program.

JCYS Program Details:

  • Their teaching philosophy is developmental so kids learn through play, which encompasses intellectual, social, emotional and physical aspects - broken into language arts, art invention, block center, small motor activities, dramatic play center, science center and music center.
  • They serve breakfast and lunch with snacks and nap time in the afternoon (YAY - less for me to think about!).
  • All classrooms participate in the Jewish holiday curriculum as it is a Jewish program, but you don't have to be Jewish to attend.
  • The preschool feeds kids to Jewish schools, Catholic (our religion) and other private schools in addition to Chicago public schools.
  • Kids don’t need to be potty trained so that’s no pressure for parents like us.
  • The schedule is flexible.

Our high-energy Andrew is so ready for this. In fact, we attended a JCYS family day a few weeks ago. He loved the jumping jack, face painting, play dough, magician and music. I was bummed, he wouldn't do family yoga with me, but maybe next time… We are sure he won't miss the smell of his baby brother's dirty diaper that I am going to change right now!


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Filed under: family, wellness

Tags: Chicago day care, day camp, JCYS

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