Preschool drop off and pick up — The Bump
Pre-School

Preschool drop off and pick up

What is the procedure at your child's preschool for drop off and pick up each day?  My DS1 just started preschool at our school district's program.  The preschool is in an old elementary school building that has a semi-circular drop off and pick up lanes that can handle 2 rows of cars. 

The school is suggesting that by the time your car reaches the front door that your child should already be unbuckled and a teacher's aide will come to the car and get them out.  On the way home the teacher's aide will open your car door and help your kid into the car and you are expected to move your car, pull into an adjoining parking lot, get out of your car and then buckle them in.

I just don't feel comfortable having DS unbuckled from his car seat for any amount of time.  What if someone accidentally hit the gas pedal instead of the brake pedal, or what if a car at the end of the line was rear ended and then started a chain reaction?

A group of moms posted on the PTA FB today about how slow the line is going because people are stopping the line to unbuckle/buckle and it's just taking too long. I made a comment on the FB that when my kids are in the car they are buckled... no exceptions...

Am I being "one of those parents?"
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Re: Preschool drop off and pick up

  • I do not like pickup/dropoff lines for preschoolers. Until my son is old enough to get himself in/out (almost five, still in a harness), I am parking my car and walking him over. I also have the child safety lock on, so he can't get himself out of the door anyway, and I don't plan on changing that any time soon.
  • How odd! At our school we park in the lot and walk in and out of the school with our kids.

    It's odd. While it's only a short distance I agree with you and would be "that mom" that takes an extra minute to buckle right away. Safety first.
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  • That seems strange!  I am a pretty lax mom, but that would probably bother me.  We are allowed to park in the circle drive since there are so few kids in the 3 y/o class.  However, I always park in the parking lot since I am always there a few minutes early and the circle drive does tend to get cluttered even with the handful of cars that pick up and drop off every day.  We have to walk the kids into their class and pick them up from their classroom every day, so everyone has to park. 

    I personally would park and walk my kid into class rather than deal with that.    
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  • Depends on the preschool, the one my oldest went to I had to walk him in and sign in and walk him out and sign him out. Which is not ideal with younger siblings and bad weather.

    My middle son went to two different preschools since we moved out of state. The first one I walked him in and then he started taking a bus. I did not love the bus idea, but his collaborative preschool had limited parking.

    And after we moved and my youngest currently goes to the same one it is a car line... Surprisingly, it moves fairly quickly. Parents are not allowed to get our of the car... I typically reach in the back to buckle my youngest in. Today I had one of his friends so I got out of my car to get them both in. I do this fairly quickly. My elementary kids have the car line as well, but they are walkers after school!
    Boy 1 2/06 - Boy 2 12/07 - Boy 3 9/09
  • I think it's sorta odd, but I wouldn't be all that bothered by moving to a spot to buckle them in.  They'd run in to issues with me though having 2 kids and I'd have to at least wait til they climbed in the seat which could take awhile.

    We have to walk them to their lockers for drop off and pick up they are released to us from the outside door.  So both times we basically have to park in the parking lot and walk in.

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  • This is a typical elementary school set-up. Where kids can manage their own seats. I would not be happy with this at the preschool level- a lot of our interaction with the teachers, other parents, and other kids happens during drop-off and pick-up (walk-ins).
    I was about to say this.

    The whole "being unbuckled" thing would bother me less than the fact that this is a very cold, impersonal way to start the day for a preschooler.  Walking my preschooler in gave me a chance to let teachers know important info like, "she said her tummy hurt this morning, but seemed to forget about it as the morning went on," or "his allergies are bothering him; he may need to be reminded to use the tissues."

    The procedure you described above is the protocol at my son's elementary school, where there are over 1000 kids in grades K through 5, many of whom are car-riders.  If your child's preschool is part of an elementary school, it's possible that they have to do it this way, or else elementary kids would still be waiting in the carpool line when the first bell rings.   Will the aides unbuckle kids who can't manage the carseat buttons themselves?  There was no way my kids at age 3 could press the crotch button themselves, and I drive a van.  I could not physically reach their seats from my seat. 

    If you are otherwise happy with the program, and the aides will unbuckle the kids, then ask that they do this favor for your L.O.  If they bristle at this, I'd honestly look for a different school.  

    High School English teacher and mom of 2 kids:

    DD, born 9/06/00 -- 12th grade
    DS, born 8/25/04 -- 7th grade
  • Thanks, ladies.  I appreciate all of your input.  Other than the drop off/pick up situation, I am very happy with the program.  There are a lot of opportunities to communicate with the staff, and I am volunteering once a week in his classroom.  Plus, he has taken very well to the program and his teachers and classmates.

    The school sent home a reminder about the procedures.  It sounds like the only option for the car riders is to go through the loop. I've decided that since I am not in a time crunch for either drop off or pick up, that I'll just get to the school once the line isn't as long.  That way, the people who are in more of a hurry will have already gone through the line. (hopefully)

    I did suggest to the FB group that maybe we could have a "fast" lane and a "slow" lane.  Only one person said they liked the idea... maybe I'll bring it up to the principal if people are still having a problem.
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  • This is the set up at our preschool, but we are also allowed to park and walk the kids in/pick up at the door, which is what I do.
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  • Our school district provides busing for 4K students. If kids aren't riding the bus, it's expected that parents park to walk them in and pick them up. All 4K classes are in a separate building from the elementary schools.

    Once the kids go to elementary school, there is a drop off line but no pick up line. Even in summer school (1st-8th grades), there was the option to use the drop off line or walk your child into the school, but all parents had to park and get their child at pick up.
    Annalise Marie 05.29.06
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  • I'm going to join the chorus of "that sounds odd. We have a parking lot."
  • I completely agree with you. I would not want my child to be unbuckled for any length of time, no exceptions. Is there a way you can park your car close by and walk to pick him up?

    At DD's preschools, everyone just parks in the parking lot and walks in. The parents drop the kids off directly to the chapel and then pick them up in the hallway. 


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  • We do the same thing and I was not comfortable at first but over time I really am ok with it and my kids have never once in five years thought it was ok to do anywhere except this one situation. If you are not comfortable then find someone else to park and walk in because holding up the line is not cool.
    Jen - Mom to two December 12 babies Nathaniel 12/12/06 and Addison 12/12/08
  • DD's preschool has the car drop off line, and I actually like it.  The school shares a parking lot with several other businesses, so there's lots of other cars driving around the parking lot at drop off time in the morning, so I think it's safer to just drop the kids off in front of the door.  Plus, now that I have DS, it's easy to drop off DD without hauling DS inside.  There's no rule about having your kid unbuckled, though. Parents take a few extra seconds to buckle/unbuckle and no one seems to care. 
  • At the twins preschool it's park and wait at the doors to escort your children back to the car. At DS's school (private w/ prek) the preschool parents park at the front corner of the building where the kids are dismissed and wait a tthe door. When we're picking up k-8 we have to drive through those cars if they're running late from their dismissal. But the procedure for K-8 is kid in and once sitting keep get moving. This doesn't bother me because DS at 5 can buckle and unbuckle himself... but no way would I do this for my 3 year olds.
  • We have the option to walk DS in and out of his class or drop him off and pick him up in the line. They are very strict about their pick-up/drop-off rules in the car. No cell phones, park the car, and the child(ren) get buckled by the teachers before they'll shut the door. I am very appreciative of their concern for the safety of all the children, staff, and parents while doing drop-off and pick-up. There is only one line and it moves pretty quickly. The kids are called from their rooms and waiting by the time their car gets to them. There are normally 3-5 kids loaded at a time. 
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  • I would not be comfortable with that set-up either. 

    At DD1's school, the parents can either drop their kids off in front of the school (older kids) or escort them to their classroom themselves. DD1 is only at school until noon so she is not dismissed at the same time as the rest of the K-8th grade students. The parents of the preschoolers wait in the front lobby for the teacher to escort the children from the classroom. The teacher will only release one student at a time as she double checks that only those adults designated to pick up a child actually leave with a child.
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  • At DS preschool we walk them in, but have a pick up line when leaving. As you pull up they put the child in the 1st or 2nd car and either you can buckle them or the teacher will buckle them...right then.  No pulling away at all until you are ready to go.
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