Seattle >Paideia Academy
so disappointing. enrolled my daughter in the toddler 1 class and after 3 days we decided to pull her out. all the teachers seemed nice however they all questioned me when i told them about giving her breast milk. the last day i took her there, i was questioned by 2 of the teachers and both the director and assistant director about the fact that no other child in that class consumes breast milk. i then was told that if she were to continue on to other classes, NO breast milk was allowed and perhaps its time for me to ween my child! they had to confirm with the state dep of health before letting me give my baby her milk. seriously disturbing, i hope they educate themselves and NEVER make anyone feel bad about breastfeeding.
Value Worker Insight.
This is a response to PaideiaMom. I'm glad you have peace of mind sending your children to this school. After reading what the other workers below have had to say, and after working in Paideia myself - I can tell you that you SHOULD pay more attention to what the workers are saying here!
It doesn't matter what the RN said because she reports what she sees but looks can be deceiving! As a former worker below stated, the school is barely "one step ahead" of the nurse and that is really true! They would rush and clean the rooms and tell the employees to make sure the bathrooms and everything looked tidy - put the food they feed kids out of sight so that there are no questions asked. Because Julie knows that kids there get substandard food like bruised bananas and expired frozen pancakes. This is NOT the kitchen lady's fault because she only works with what she is given by Julie, and Julie does not like to give or spend money on your kids' care or food - she likes to save.
Also, PaideiaMom says that "the teachers are montessori certified" in the preschool. NOT TRUE! Only the "lead teacher" is certified, but is she the one that looks after your kids? No! It is the "teacher's assistants" that do most of the caring AND most of the teaching, and those assistants are barely given any training and are overworked, like the girl below also mentioned. The certified lead teacher just throws together a lesson plan and sits in the circle for a few minutes in the morning. She probably spends only half the day in the room, whereas the assistants spend all day. They are not paid well, given benefits or treated well at all - so of course they will be too tired to care well for your kids. They want to love your kids, but the truth is that they are not given any respect or rights, so they are tired and cut many corners, aren't alert and just want to relax on the clock. Take all these issues up with Julie - and believe the women below. Don't write them off as disgruntled workers; they are just women who are smart, caring and want to share their inside knowledge with you.
Great Paideia Experience.
Background info: My eldest attended Paideia from the age of 3 months and graduated in 2008; my youngest also started at the age of 3 months and is currently in the preschool at Paideia. We have been a Paideia family since 2002 and will be until our youngest graduates in 2012.
The school is inspected regularly by a public health RN who inspects all Seattle area day cares. The nurse told me personally that the infant care at Paideia is among the best in the city. You know this already if you have an infant at Paideia.
The preschool is great as well. The teachers are montessori certified and do an excellent job preparing the children for elementary school. My eldest was a full fledged reader before entering kindergarten and I have high hopes for my youngest.
I have known the Director, Julie, since 2002 and she is a wonderful lady committed to the early education of our kids.
Stand out classes: Infant I, Toddler I and both Preschool I and II.
Exploited workers = unhappy babies.
I have witnessed the abusive conditions under which immigrant women work as caregivers. Most caregivers are brought in through word of mouth, by their friends who are employed at the school, and therefore lack much of the training and experience needed to deem one a "teacher."
These immigrant women are exploited by being paid next to nothing and are scolded/yelled at in front of the children - they may work from open to close and forego badly needed lunch hours. By the end of the day, they appear run down and most unhappy, but put on smiling faces for the parents. Most of these caregivers love the children they look after which makes their work conditions and lack of rights particularly heartbreaking.
Parents MUST know: the immigrant women who work at Paideia are NOT awarded the dignity and respect you want your own children to learn about and earn in life.
Immigrant women brought to tears at work is not an uncommon sight at the school. The owner's very own family member (also an immigrant) was a beloved caregiver in the infant division. She was a school teacher in her home of Albania and, upon immigrating to the US, looked to Paideia for a job. She was reduced to working for miniscule wages, receiving the same lack of respect other women did in the school. This particular caregiver carried on, however, most loyal to her job and "her babies," working for over 10 years. At the time of her retirement, she made little over $10 per hour. I think anybody who cleans babies behinds for over a decade, as lovingly as this woman did, deserves a lot more than $10/hour coupled with bullying lectures and scoldings.
I also agree with the above post in that strong teachers don't last long at the school. In fact, the principal of the school openly discourages the workers from "spending time together outside of work" or "discussing wages." These are t ypical and tyrannical tactics to keep workers from unifying and growing a backbone.
I could go on to air a laundry list of problems with Paideia Academy but the treatment of workers is above all other issues. If Paideia does not keep its workers happy, they are not caring for your children as well as they could - and I don't blame them. Additionally, you want your children to spend their time in an environment where they can witness love, dignity and respect for all - not racism, classism and sexism, which is at the core of the exploitation of women at the school. Witnessing the open mistreatment of other human beings can only harm your children.
exploitative hiring practices, poor training, greedy director.
Paideia Academy is constantly on the run from licensers, staying one step ahead of being shut down by the sweat of the low paid employees on whom the burden of keeping the school open is firmly placed.
The director knows very little about what goes on in the classrooms, leaves very early every day without so much as a status report from her staff, and at any given moment may or may not have a program director. The staff is paid barely more than minimum wage and any strong teacher is basically discouraged from finding a home at this "school" due to the director's refusal to offer pay raises for hard work and constant attention to the basic needs of the children. She is exploitative, hiring mainly from a pool of immigrants who she believes will be easier to bully into remaining under her unfair work ethic. Strong teachers have a life expectancy of less than 6 months, which is to her liking as she prefers that these people not develop bonds with parents or children; she has been known to make up stories casting ex-staff in a negative light in order to explain the turnaround of a popular teacher.
Many of the teachers are positive, strong individuals who take good care of the kids, even though there are currently only two Montessori trained teachers at this "Montessori" school. The vast majority of them, however, are clueless as to even basic child care, leave children with feces crusted on their little behinds, pay little attention to them in group settings - a dangerous thing in a downtown daycare that must walk across busy 1st avenue to get to its outdoor play area - but instead sit and chat amongst themselves rather than interact with the children. You will never see this if you meet them only at the beginning and end of the day.
A bottom-of-the-barrel day care, you should think twice about putting your child in such an environment. The director offers competitive prices but makes up for it by operating in much the same way as a sweat shop.
Editorial Review. Non-profit Montessori academy located in Pike Place Market offers programs for infants, toddlers and preschoolers.
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