Does My Kid’s Preschool Really Need to Know THAT?

I’m a mom of a two-year-old. He is great. He is hilarious. He is chatty. I work full-time and have him enrolled in a local daycare/pre-school that I LOVE.

And then about two weeks into the school year, I looked in his folder for his artwork and the teacher let me know that all the artwork would be kept in a binder … till the end of the year! 

I was initially just slightly annoyed, then I found out that it was because the school went from being independent to being associated with the Department of Education. I asked the teacher what that meant exactly, and she explained it was more paperwork/administrative changes than anything else. Still annoyed about the artwork, but no red flags.

Jumping with excitement for his first day back at school!

THEN we were handed a questionnaire about two months in. This questionnaire would be included in my son’s binder along with his artwork. This “About My Child” page had quite a few innocuous questions such as “circle the adjectives that describe your child” “does your child like to do crafts?” “does your child like to play outside?” Then it got to be a bit more personal… “What is your child’s bed time?” and “Do you reward your child for good behavior? How?”

AND THEN … “Do you discipline your child? And how?” That stopped me in my tracks, and I immediately felt un-easy. This made me nervous for multiple reasons.

First: Discipline is a part of parenting as a whole. It is not one thing that happens independent of education, instruction, guidance, and care. To ask me to reply to how I discipline my child in one line feels very shallow.

Second: I spank. I spank on the hand. I only do this during persistent disobedience. Then I follow it up with kissing his hand and explaining “I spanked you because you have been disobedient. Mommy has rules and needs you to obey so you are safe.” Typically I pray with him and ask that Jesus would help him obey, then I reinforce HOW much I love him. But to just say “I spank” on the very small space provided, again, feels shallow.

Third: I’m a solo parent. This might not sound like a reason to you, but if I do spank and there is ever a time that my parenting is brought into question, there is no other adult in the house to back me up.

So what would YOU do? Would you write a much longer explanation of your parenting philosophy to attach to the questionnaire? Would you talk to the school administrator? Would you start researching new schools? I’ll be honest, I have lost some sleep over this one.

I expected to have a good number of school-based decisions in my future, but did NOT expect them yet!

Sarah Joy Hays is a native of Louisiana and graduate of LSU! She returned to Baton Rouge in 2015 after 6 years living and working in DC. She is a proud momma to an enthusiastic, red-haired toddler and is navigating all of this as a solo parent; fully relying on group texts with other moms, coffee, and Jesus. Sarah Joy, or SJ, has devoted much of her abundant spare time to the Moms on Campus, South Baton Rouge Presbyterian Church, and her newly founded Foundation that will focus on emergency disaster response. She claims to love to read, journal, and cook; but only manages one of the three out of daily necessity. SJ dreams of having a Target collaboration based on coffee mugs and dry shampoo one day… till then she will enjoy running her bakery CounterspaceBR and growing a consulting business!


  1. I remember receiving a similar questionnaire that made me uncomfortable. Honestly, I don’t remember any of the specific questions, and I don’t think there was one about discipline, but I wrote “refuse to answer” for any question I didn’t like. Keep in mind that the school is probably required to ask those questions, so the questionnaire wouldn’t cause me to leave a school I otherwise loved.

  2. personally it’s none of their business. I would answer “Yes” that I do discipline my child. and for the how? “depends” and leave it to their imagination. or for the real me… I wouldn’t turn it in 🙂

  3. I’ve been a preschool teacher and a mama. The most important thing to me would be to know that you do discipline and have thought about it. We have more work to do with the children who throw fits and get rewarded by receiving the object initially denied. I’d put time outs then prayer on the line. It’s not a complete lie but it’s not a written admission of corporal punishment either. You also don’t want to allow anyone else to spank your child and some places may have a policy of mimicing mom’s style. However I haven’t found that to work and I didn’t usually read the questionnaires beyond siblings names. Children behave much different in school than they do at home. The best way for a teacher to keep control is maintaining a strict routine and being constantly engaging and consistant. None of that has anything to do with you swatting his hand. I’m sorry you lost sleep over what sounds like a generic questionnaire. It’s not like tax documents you can leave ot blank. If asked about it you can explain or not. It’s up to you how much they know your business. And most teachers are also mamas. We get it. But it’s also not something I ever considered being an issue and if I go back to teaching I think I’d work on changing the questionnaire because it’s nit meant to be judgmental or confrontational but through your eyes it certainly feels that way to me. There has to be a better way to discover if school will be that child’s first experience with consequences. Thank you for your honesty.


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