Could the school be more organised?

N starts summer camp coming Monday. We had enrolled him about 2 weeks back in a nearby school. Let’s not take names (Unless you are really curious. In that case, send me an email and I shall talk). At that time I was told that since he opted for skating as one of the activities he will need to bring his own skates. Point noted. I duly set out on a hunt to get a pair of skates for him, which I did manage to get well in time and easily.
Cut to Dday-3 morning, I called the school to ask when would they let us know about the transport details, pick up and drop times. The sweet lady at the other end said “Ma’m we will get back to you either today or tomorrow some time. I asked will it be an email communication or phone call. 5 sec pause. And the response was “Umm we will either call or send an email. ” Thank you, that was helpful.
Cut to Dday-3 late afternoon, I get a call from the school saying “We are having a PTM tomorrow morning at 9 am for the parents of kids enrolled for summer camp. Please be there.” I asked what is the PTM for? I mean agenda for the meeting? 5 second pause again. “We will tell everything about the camp there. What the kids will do, pick up and drop time, transport in charge nbr and all. ” I told the lady at the other end that I will get back to her with my confirmation in about an hour after rearranging another engagement that I had for the next morning.
After which I did call her back and confirmed my attendance.
Next morning I pushed myself out of the bed and made it to the school on time after juggling around existing plans and the husband and I splitting the task list.
What do I see when I reach there??
The meeting room isn’t ready yet. Extra chairs were being brought in to accommodate the (unexpected?) crowd. Parents were waiting outside, some with the kids in tow, some without. 35 minutes later than the scheduled time the parents were asked to move into the room. The organisers also announced that they would take the kids to the play room while the parents were attending the session. That was thoughtful, but it would be better if this was mentioned in the phone call intimating the meeting.
The principal addressed the parents starting with the basic what, when and how about the summer camp.
The ambiguities started popping up when the parents started asking questions. “My child has opted for swimming/skating. What accessories does he need?”. “My child is 4.5 years old. Will he qualify as primary or pre-primary?” Note: the activities and schedule for these 2 categories are different. The swimming and skating coaches who were present rattled out a list of things needed for each sport. This, for your reference is being done on a Saturday, 2 days before the camp begins. So all the parents are expected to send the kid with all the equipment on Monday or else they cannot do that activity. Why couldn’t the complete list of stuff required for each activity be mentioned when the child was being enrolled a week, 2 weeks or in some cases, a month ago? Wouldn’t that have made it easier for people to plan, research and buy equipment?
Then there was a vague announcement about a 3 days of one activity followed by 3 days of another and so on for pre primary kids. The perplexed parents scrambled to write down the schedule onto scraps of paper, smart phones, on bills, receipts and anything else they could find in their bags and purses. When one parent asked if they could get a soft copy or a print out of the same, you could see the light go on in the school staff’s eyes. Hmm, this was a much better idea than making people write all that down. So it was mentioned that after the meeting they would print and give hard copies of the schedule. It was also announced that 2 sets of ID cards (one for the child and one for whoever picks up the child) would be provided after the meeting.
The meeting ended in about 35 mins. People rushed to one of these 3 areas – the transport in charge to figure out pick up and drop times and locations for their kids, the area where the ID cards were being given away and the reception desk where any discrepancies were being corrected. No one wanted to form queues. Everybody had questions, doubts or issues they wanted to talk about. Names were missing from the transport sheets which then were discovered to be on another version of the sheet (hopefully that is the one the driver shall use). ID cards were not ready yet, some had one or more activity missing or mentioned incorrectly. Miraculously inspite of all the chaos people seemed to get what they wanted!! Maybe alls well that ends well.
But IMO things could have been better planned, organised and executed. It is the little things that help make it a smoother experience! * Hoping the actual camp is much better planned 🙂