Friday, July 19, 2013

Pagan kids and our religious freedoms

I've been thinking about this topic for a bit after running across an out of print book this past week, titled  Pagan Child: A Handbook for Teachers, Carers, Childminders, and All Those Involved in Looking After the Children of Pagan Parents  by Dee Weardale. This book was published in the mid-90s in the UK, just a couple of years before I found Pagan folks at college and learned that there were other options when it came to religion.

I've talked before about the challenges we face when it comes to caregivers. Clearly, though, I'm not the only person who has wondered about your run of the mill daycare and our kids.

Around here, a fairly sizeable percentage of daycares and preschools are run by Christian churches. It's an obvious choice for them - if they're big enough to have classrooms for their Sunday School programs, they've got those rooms sitting largely unused all week.

Our current daycare for Acorn did ask about our faith - the owner ran across one of my blogs. But she was respectful, and it has never come up again. Our previous daycare, however, told me at one point that they "do a Christmas program, with traditional songs and stuff" and that they planned to continue to do so, because "we don't have anyone here who objects." Which I guess is code for "everyone here is nominally Christian or afraid to say otherwise."

But that does leave me wondering - in some areas, it's likely that church-based centers are the only option (or the only affordable option, which is a totally different post for another day). Even all of the small centers I interviewed that advertised themselves as being "green" or "organic" turned out to be heavily Christian based - some even using pre-packaged Christian curriculums, even though that wasn't mentioned in their ads at all. So even here, with one of the largest Muslim populations outside of the Middle East, along with sizeable populations from all corners of the globe, daycares that aren't Christian are hard to find, and are so much the norm that they don't see a need to mention it.'s somewhat interesting that both our local Hindu temple and one of our Mosques here in our small suburb have Montessori based preschools....

So...what should daycare providers know about our kids? Mine aren't likely to say anything that might cause a stir anytime soon, but I bet yours talk about holidays and witches and that sort of thing once in a while.


  1. I did not use daycares at all. I briefly looked into them, but my DH and I felt that we could not trust someone who is being paid minimum wage and in charge of so many kids. I mean what if a fire happened? Are they likely to panic and run to save their own lives? Are there enough people to save all the kids? When I called back after the owner was no longer in the business (she was there only a half day) I asked the workers where their fire extinguishers were. They had no idea. So we firmly said NO to that option.

    Instead we went the private baby sitter route. When I hired them I made it clear that if a religious question came up, they were not to teach them anything about it. Just change the subject and move on. We never had any problems. Oh, and it was cheaper with her too. :)

  2. We interviewed more than 50 nannies and small in-home daycares. They either would not take Acorn, or wanted $40 an hour. I know he's intense, but there way just no way we could afford that. So...a good quality medium sized daycare is actually cheaper for us.

    If they couldn't tell you where the fire extinguishers are, they'd likely fail their licensing review.....

  3. Wow that is high. I found an experienced mama who had been sitting for 20 yrs. She only charged me $50. While that area was a lot cheaper than other places, her price was a steal.

    I tried to report that daycare, but I don't believe anything was ever done about it.