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Nursery school and the (possibly) gifted child

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I'd love to get some honest feedback from those of you who post here. I'm not a frequent poster, but a frequent lurker and I apologize in advance if this becomes a really long post.

We enrolled our DD, 28 months, in nursery school two mornings a week about four months ago. For the first few months, we couldn't have been happier. DD, who has always been very social and intensely interested in engaging with other children, adjusted quickly. It was a good fit all around. I urgently needed to have a few hours a week, at least, to start working a bit again. (Mainly because I need to having something that is "my own.") And DD, whose social needs seem to be increasing, needed to have more frequent, regular social engagements. We've moved a lot since she was born -- three states in two years, and we just arrived here in November. While I have managed to make a few friends and arrange weekly playdates, DD seems to long for daily interaction with kids. Having her go to school twice a week takes the pressure of me a bit to be her social secretary.

I picked the school because: a) it's very close to where we live; b) DD seemed to really connect with the lead teacher, and c) the school seemed to employ all the parts of Waldorf, Montessori and constructivist philosophies I like, but none of the parts I don't like.

However, I'm noticing that the school is becoming increasingly aligned with Waldorf philosophies. I've read several posts on this forum and note the general agreement that Waldorf and gifted children don't go together. I'm not entirely certain how gifted DD is, nor did I think it was vital to assess that at such an early age. DD is very verbally advanced -- speaks full sentences, can come up with remarkably complex thoughts. I suspect her cognitive reasoning skills even outpace her verbal skills. Her "emotional intelligence" seems to be remarkable, when compared to other children her age. She picks up the nuances of human behavior. It seems she has always wanted to engage other children in her play, notices quickly when a child's mood changes and is visibly affected when a child is sad or angry. She becomes frustrated when another child doesn't reciprocate her efforts to play and I know she often is hurt by it.

In the meantime, her gross motor skills have always lagged somewhat behind. She's never been out of range in this regard developmentally, but the disparity between her cognitive/verbal skills and her physical skills has grown over time. We actually have her in physical therapy twice a month now to help with some weakness in her lower legs and her trunk. She is making gains and seems to be empowered that she can keep up with her peers a little better.

My worry is I'm picking up on a growing sense that she feels a bit isolated. In our most recent parent-teacher conference, the teacher noted that DD prefers to play with children older than her and that for awhile, her verbal skills seemed to isolate her from her peers. (She is quick to say hi to another child, use verbal cues to engage in play, and that wasn't being reciprocated.) The teacher said most kids use physical action -- basically mimicry -- to engage in play at this age. I have noticed DD has started to use physical action and mimicry more to engage other children her age, and the teacher noticed (and applauded) that DD had made that adjustment at school, as well.

But lately, when I ask DD about her day, she no longer mentions playing with any kids. She simply mentions her teachers. When we talk about the upcoming school day in the morning, she simply talks about wanting to play with her teachers.

I've also noticed that during our playdates outside of school -- all with children who do not go to her school -- she is becoming more aggressive. I've had to correct her numerous times for grabbing toys away, pushing, strong-arming her playmate. I know that a lot of this is developmentally normal behavior by a 2-year-old, but I am surprised by how much it has become an issue, so suddenly, to the point that it has made our last few playdates not particularly enjoyable. I'm starting to suspect her aggressiveness is borne out of feeling isolated and her need to actually play "with" another child, when most of her playdate friends are still at the "parallel play" stage of social development. I also worry that she no longer is getting social interaction she needs/desires at school, and that given the school's apparently increasing alignment with Waldorf philosophies, that my DD's method of interacting with the world isn't exactly being accommodated.

I've long known there was probably an expiration date on this school, but since I was only looking to meet DD's social needs at this age, I figured we'd be fine until about age 3. Now I'm starting to wonder.

Anyway, I'd appreciate and thoughts/advice you have to offer.
post #2 of 17
Do you have access to a Montessori school? Montessori primary classes mix kids from age 2.5 to kindergarten. The kids are expected to interact with children older than they are, and to learn at their own pace.

The primary class curricula also has a series of developmental tasks designed to improve gross motor and fine motor skills.
post #3 of 17
It seems like you've very thoughtfully considered what is happening with your dd and with the nursery school. I'm not clear on the set-up at the school. It sounds like there are some older children with whom she enjoys playing, and they may be more suitable playmates at this particular point in time. Is there a problem with encouraging or allowing her to play with older children at the school? I don't think "peer" has to mean another child the exact same chronological age. If she relates better right now to older children, then it seems like allowing her to play with them is part of the answer.

If it's a multi-age class, then one of the supposed advantages is that the children will interact in positive ways with each other regardless of chronological age. Are the teachers imposing an age-segregation despite multi-age classrooms? Is it the set up of the classes or an in-class schedule that keeps the younger and older children apart - eg. 2 yo. have to nap at a certain time, but 4 y.o don't?

Do the teachers believe that they have to emphasize more physical play with your dd to assist with her physical therapy? If you aren't concerned about emphasizing her physical play during her short time at nursery school, then perhaps you could talk to them about this issue. They may have misguided good intentions. You could ask them for some positive encouragement to your dd to play with children, whatever their ages, who are a good fit socially with your dd.
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your thoughts. Just to clarify:

The school is a mixed-age classroom. The children range from as young as 10 months old to 4.5. For the most part, they are never separated by age, though I know on art day that generally the older kids do more intricate art activities involving scissors, etc.

When DD has talked about the kids in her class, it's always the older ones, so I do think she sees them as her peers. The fact that the school is mixed age was kind of a "must" for me. Her teacher brought up DD's gross motor issues -- which actually validated what I've long suspected and have had dismissed by several pediatricians. She actually recommended the physical therapy clinic we ended up choosing and I have asked for her cooperation in supporting certain changes -- basically like discouraging a W sit, encouraging hopping and jumping during outside time (DD cannot jump or hop, has some balance problems and has a noticeable pronation in her left ankle).

My concern is more about some changes I'm noticing at home with DD and it makes me wonder if her social and emotional needs aren't being met and that perhaps she is picking up some aggressive behavior at school. Especially since after picking her up from school last week, she seemed eager to leave (which was unusual).

The teacher does a great job of explaining her POV without condemning yours. But in essence she indicated that children must master certain gross motor skills before being able to master fine motor and cognitive skills, and that learning at this age takes place in the body first, and the mind follows. And while she didn't say it, she seemed to infer there was something backward about the fact that DD's verbal and cognitive abilities so far outpace her physical abilities, and that it's important for her to master those skills. I may be extrapolating what the teacher said, but that's the sense I got from the conversation I had with her. For the record, I definitely want support for DD's physical challenges and am glad this school is working in tandem with us. But I don't see anything inherently wrong with how DD navigates her world, nor how she engages other children. And given the increasing Waldorfy sense I'm getting from the school, I wonder if I need we need to investigate a change sooner than I expected to.

As for Montessori; when I first started researching nursery schools, I thought we'd want DD in a Montessori. But I was left with some negative impressions after touring a few Montessori schools, mainly that the play was rather regimented with a lot of emphasis on the "right way" to play with a toy and strong discouragement of the "wrong way" to play with a toy. DD learns best if she is left to her own devices, and it does sometimes leads to unconventional ways of playing. I don't see anything wrong with that as long as she treats toys, books etc. respectfully.

I wrote my earlier post after being unable to go back to sleep in the middle of the night. I've had these lingering thoughts in my head and they started to scream at me this morning, so I thought I'd post here for some perspective. I realize I need to talk to her teacher, get a better sense of if the school is altering its direction a bit and also see if my suspicions line up with reality.
post #5 of 17
Quote:
But in essence she indicated that children must master certain gross motor skills before being able to master fine motor and cognitive skills, and that learning at this age takes place in the body first, and the mind follows. And while she didn't say it, she seemed to infer there was something backward about the fact that DD's verbal and cognitive abilities so far outpace her physical abilities, and that it's important for her to master those skills. I may be extrapolating what the teacher said, but that's the sense I got from the conversation I had with her.

I would be worried about this perception.

Both my DDs were delayed in gross motor skills at age 2. One still gets Physical Therapy at age 4.5

Many kids may have to follow the pattern she described, but NOT ALL.

Gifted kids especially are known for asynchronous development.

One of the great frustrations of some cognitively gifted kids is frustration at the limitations their physical abilities may have.

FWIW: Both my DDs are reading fluently, able to do high level math, have complex thought processes and discussions, have above average attention spans, both have excellent verbal skills, and one has above average fine motor abilities, the other average to high average fine motor skills.

One DD still can not ride a trike, skip, or do a few other gross motor skills.

Other DD is totally average grossmotor wise.

It is important for both of them to continue learning physical skills, but 1) neither one is terribly interested in many gross motor play activities 2) they (like most people) enjoy what they are good at- they love to talk and create large fantasy situations, as well as do extensive art and dramatic play activities.

So I incorporate it as I can (outdoor play) and discourage bad habits (I have W sitter too), but at this age---let them lead the activities for the most part. Even more so at age 2.

They were totally able to sign 2 and three word sentences before they could say them, therefore they could communicate before they could speak well---so communication skills were developed way before physical ability to express themselves.


I would go by your childs lead, if she seems unhappy or not enjoying school, it may be time to find another school or talk to the teacher about the unique set of abilities your child has and ways you can adapt what they do to suit her.

I also would at least get a PT evaluation--PT has been GREAT for one of my DDs and she is much more self confident in physical activities (free play, playground play, jumping,etc)
post #6 of 17
I don't have any specific ideas for you but I'll share our experience.

DD was similar to your DD at that age. At about 2 1/4 she started going to a mom's house 2 mornings a week for social time. It was mixed age, low numbers. The family moved so we started her at a very good Christian daycare two days per week at just 3. She started preschool (regular, play based preschool) two days per week at about 3.5. DS at 2 had his sister every afternoon after kindie. He started at the same daycare and a different preschool at 3.

We are not Christians so they were exposed to concepts that did not align with our values. They were both extremely verbal and intellectually curious and struggled at times with other kids in the ealier years. They both came home with learned aggressive behaviours and learned baby talk and approaches (which really irritated me). I definitely saw examples of learned behaviours that were regressive rather than progressive.

BUT, on balance, they were happy. Our family influence was greater than external influences so these learned behaviours tended to be transitory. As they got older, things got easier and some of the differences between them and their peers narrowed (or everyone got better at shared play). I also look at it as code-switching immersion - my kids could speak meaningfully with their peers and then have a proper grammatical conversation with an adult.

28 months is really, really young and things may get better as they all get older. However, the notion that gross motor, fine motor, intellectual development have to occur in that order is a bit disturbing. I would ask the teacher if she believes this in every case or if she can accomodate individual differences. My very gifted kids are both slow in their gross and fine motor development so thank goodness they weren't harnessed intellectually waiting for them to be able to tie their shoelaces.

This is long, but my point is that all of this may be just fine and that there's not going to be a perfect environment. Or, your instincts may be bang on and it's time to keep looking. I looked at many montessoris and never found one that was a good fit for DS (DD would have been fine, but we only had one car back then and I couldn't get her there). I think it would be worth going and looking at one as they vary widely.
post #7 of 17
Quote:
But in essence she indicated that children must master certain gross motor skills before being able to master fine motor and cognitive skills, and that learning at this age takes place in the body first, and the mind follows. And while she didn't say it, she seemed to infer there was something backward about the fact that DD's verbal and cognitive abilities so far outpace her physical abilities, and that it's important for her to master those skills. I may be extrapolating what the teacher said, but that's the sense I got from the conversation I had with her.
This is what stands out as concerning to me as well. We know many people who are Waldorfy, and I got a few comments about my DD (who was also slow with gross motor) along these lines. Indeed, this is a very Waldorf belief, and one I cannot get on board with.

Nothing else about the rest of your post really concerned me--I wouldn't assume her aggression is caused by frustration, as MANY kids suddenly become temporarily aggressive at this age, even with no modeling. But unless you feel this teacher absolutely will not negatively judge your D for being who she is, yes, that would ring a bell of concern for me.
post #8 of 17
The challenge to the school of her cognitive advances combined with her gross motor delays would get me looking into other options. It took me almost two years to realize that many of the problems DS1 was having at his Montessori school were because his fine motor delays meant he wasn't able to do work that was cognitively challenging for him - and without the cognitive challenge, he would not work on the physically challenging activities. Knowing about a disconnect between your DD's strengths and the school's approach is very valuable information.

On the social front, I don't know. Being ready for language-based interactions and play when one's age cohort are still in parallel play and physical mimicry must be incredibly challenging for precocious kids. Some of the learned behaviour may a sign that your DD is socially aware and is learning to fit in. Some of this will probably be fine as her age cohorts develop. It may be that when she started, the older kids liked playing with her and are now not so welcoming. I take my kids to a playgroup with kids from infancy to 5 and I notice that the 4- and 5-year olds often don't want to play with the younger kids. If they see her as a "baby," it may be tricky for her to find a place with them.

DS1 was definitely isolated on the playground until he was 5 and joined the kids a couple of years older for fancy games of tag. He needed to develop the emotional maturity to interact with the big kids without me supervising very closely and he needed to physically grow a little. He is tall, which helped the older kids forget that he was younger.

What I notice with my 3-year olds is very different and not really relevant to your situation. They engage in very complicated play with each other and with DS1 at home. They do not play with each other at preschool, but they don't play as deeply with the kids at school, either. What they get out of school is not social. They get to play with new toys and they get a lot of experiences that are challenging for me to manage in a home environment with 3 of them.
post #9 of 17
I first need to say its too late and I am too tired to read all the posts, but I read the first fully and skimmed some of the others.

I wanted to say that minus the nursery school part, this was exactly our experience when DS (now just past 3) was that age. He wanted to talk and play with conversation and kids his age and younger couldn't do that--so he played with the big kids (esp. 4-6 year old girls). The worst part was that he didn't just ignore the babies and toddlers--he was aggressive with them--and oddly for such a verbal child--he used his body or even grunts and faces! He'd come very close to a standing baby/toddler (18 months or so) and slowly use his torso to bump them away/down. It wasn't like all out hitting or shoving--but this angry face, a grunt, and a sly push with foot, body. It horrified me. I just dealt with it every time and STILL have to explain that the same way the big girls are nice to him, he's the big boy to those kids (slightly altering this for kids his age). He is 3 now and it is still an issue--but not as bad. He'll likely start a part-time preschool at 3.5 in the fall and I'm likely to get him in the 4s class--which will help somewhat. Even though the verbal gap is closing somewhat (not the reasoning gap!) it is still enough at 3 to make play with other 3 year olds tough. He constantly asks me "Mommy, what did he say?" when he can't understand what another 3 year old says. Today we went to a friend's house--only his second time there--other was 9 months ago--so unfamiliar but remembered. There are 5 kids there--2, 4 (but quiet), 6 and extroverted, and preteens. He played exclusively with the 6 year old girl and it was surprisingly (though not exactly) equal (meaning it wasn't her just playing with him like he was a toy--they really played together.)

No idea about the nursery school part (yet), but wanted to let you know about our experience with the aggression toward same age/younger kids.

Good luck!
post #10 of 17
It's not exactly the same, but one of my kids is short for her age, and is often taken for younger because of that-- when she was 6 there was a girl who was 1 1/2 years younger than her who liked her, and whose mother was sure my dd was her kids' ideal playmate and strongly encouraged her daughter to seek mine out (I suspect she believed they were the same age because they were the same size.) The younger girl couldn't play the games my dd wanted to play, and she wouldn't let my dd play them with anyone else, and the younger girl's mother did not see what was going on. My dd tried to be nice, but it was a difficult situation for her.

Years later, my dd will still occasionally bring up how frustrating this was. I imagine that gifted toddlers experience something similar when they are expected to play with neurotypical peers. Aggression is a pretty normal reaction for a frustrated 2 y.o.
post #11 of 17
FWIW, my son (a very bright kid - not sure if technically gifted, but definitely bright) never went to daycare or preschool until he was 3-3/4, and he still went through an aggressive phase around 20 months-2.5 yrs on and off with different things (verbally or physically). While it *could* be the school environment contributing to it, I wouldn't necessarily think that it wouldn't have happened if she wasn't in school. I think for some kids, especially kids who are bright but not always capable of doing the things they want to do (either being thwarted or not being physically able to), the frustration can come out in a primal way - even though they might be bright and emotionally perceptive, they're still 2.
post #12 of 17
<i>As for Montessori; when I first started researching nursery schools, I thought we'd want DD in a Montessori. But I was left with some negative impressions after touring a few Montessori schools, mainly that the play was rather regimented with a lot of emphasis on the "right way" to play with a toy and strong discouragement of the "wrong way" to play with a toy. DD learns best if she is left to her own devices, and it does sometimes leads to unconventional ways of playing. I don't see anything wrong with that as long as she treats toys, books etc. respectfully.</i>

There's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

It sounds like you're looking for something more play based. Montessori materials are designed around specific lessons which lead to other lessons, which lead to other lessons. It's work that's designed to form the basis for elementary school academics. The children are required to use the materials "the right way" because they're supposed to be learning something specific from each set of materials.
post #13 of 17
I haven't read THAT closely but will chime in anyway.

I often hear friends whose kids are between about 2 and 3 1/2 talking about how their DCs are learning aggressive behavior from peers. My son, who is now 5 1/2, was a little precocious with aggressive behavior (lol... but he also got over it younger than many kids) and was for a while frequently pointed out as the kid who was "teaching" others to hit, push, etc. I had to accept that he apparently learned it all on his own. He was also an early talker, and definitely resorted to aggression with peers when frustrated by their lack of communication-- among many other triggers.

My thoughts are basically that the aggressive behavior is pretty normal for this age range. Sure, maybe being in a social setting brings it on earlier, but maybe not. You can't really know. Social settings also give LOTS of opportunities for learning to manage conflict and if the adults there are active in teaching conflict resolution skills and use non-punitive methods to manage toddler conflict, then the good may outweigh the negatives of witnessing or engaging in more aggressive behavior. I noticed that by 3 or 4 many of these supposedly "aggressive" kids seem really good at playing with same age or different age peers.

My son has always been in mixed-age classrooms (very part-time, play-based nursery for 1 1/2 years, then Waldorf Kindy, he's in his second year), and there is a nice mixed-age group of kids in the nieghborhood who frequently play in unstructured, lightly-supervised ways. DS very much looks up to and admires the older kids, and when he was younger, he definitely followed them about and engaged with them (or not, if they ignored him!). By 3 1/2 or 4, I noticed he began to choose same-age boys to play with, if available, but otherwise is perfectly happy to play with older or younger kids.

One final thought is that kids aren't always the most reliable reporters on what they are doing. My son NEVER talks about playing with the girls in his class, never mentions doing crafts, cooking, etc. Rarely mentions story time or singing. He pretty much ONLY tells me a blow-by-blow account of the war, fighting, and chase games he played with a particular group of boys (mostly older). But when we had our parent-teacher conference, the teacher was telling us how well he gets along with everyone, plays with girls, boys, younger and older, large groups, small groups. She talked about how engaged he gets in the crafts, how attentive he is during circle and how he sings with gusto and accuracy every day, etc. I mean, she *could* be making it up, but I think that my son just tends to relate the things that seemed most "exciting" or are somehow top in his mind at the end of the day. I mean, if I explicitly ask about the songs, or the girl he sits with at snack, etc, he has stuff to say.

We chose a waldorf kindy for our son-- actually, he chose it-- he is certainly not profoundly gifted, but did test out right on the line for being "highly gifted". He is very physical, and has always been extremely coordinated (gross and small motor) for his age, so perhaps that is part of why Waldorf has been a good fit. But I haven't noticed him being kept down or anything by the adults. My personal concern w/ Waldorf for gifted kids would be with grades. The early childhood classrooms that I have seen tolerate a whole lot of child-directed activity and a lot of variation in skills and behavior from the kids. I also visited 2 Montessori schools, one of which I liked a lot, where the kids seemed really engaged and to have a ton of choice in what they were doing, the other which seemed rigid and focused on pushing the kids to be "advanced". My feeling is that a rigid teacher, or otherwise inflexible classroom, regardless of the pedagogical approach, might not be a whole lot of fun for an inquisitive, experimental youngster.

If you sense your daughter is unhappy, or that the teachers are viewing her negatively, you shouldn't keep her in the school. At her age the whole point is to enjoy it, if you don't really need the childcare. You may be able to set up a rotating playdate or something, with 1 or 2 other families, so you each can take 1 morning a week off.

Good luck!
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies. I sent an e-mail to her teacher yesterday who acknowledged receiving it this morning and said she would respond tonight.

I'm feeling a little better about the aggression thing. From what you all describe, it's probably just a symptom of her frustrations -- from being more verbal and cognitively advanced than most kids her age, but unable to physically keep up with kids older than her, or to even physically perform the activities her mind is determined to do. And from the fact that's she's 2 and that's what 2-year-olds do.

joensally, I have noticed a little regression, too. More baby talk. Sentences that were once grammatically correct aren't any more. It's annoying, but I'm trying to let it go. We will continue to talk to her the way we always have, and hope she decides to transition back eventually. I do think she is making adjustments to her behavior to better fit in. She's actually quite savvy about determining what people want and expect from her, and will her adjust her mood or the way she talks to fit the situation. She also is very eager to please adults, especially people other than me or dh, which actually concerns me a bit.

I'm also totally picking up on the sense that the older kids, who once welcomed her into play because she was new, now aren't as welcoming, or treat her like a baby a little bit (I've witnessed this during pick-up time, where one girl will sort of boss her around. This is a girl she often plays with, as well.) I wonder if she gets frustrated by that and then tries to assert control over her playmates outside of school, who generally are her age or a bit younger.

DD is not particularly big for her age, by the way, and often is mistaken for about six months younger just by the way she moves (And then she starts to talk and adults start "wow"-ing about what comes out of her mouth).

She's only been to physical therapy three times and I'm already noticing improvement in balance and strength, which is great.

Right now, I think I'm going to just wait and see. I'm five months pregnant and we've already signed her up of the summer. I really don't want to pull her out of school in the fall, just before the baby gets here, unless it's absolutely necessary.

RiverTam -- I definitely want, at this stage, for school to be solely play based, a mixture of unstructured and structured play time, and this school provides that. DD really enjoys being a part of a group, but also needs freedom to just play the way she wants to play. We are considering moving her to a Spanish-immersion nursery school (if we can afford it) down the road, because we'd love our children to be proficient in another language and DD has such a strong interest in language and picks new words and concepts up so quickly.

But yeah, I still am a little concerned by the increasing Waldorf presence in the school and will definitely monitor that. What I liked about this school, and this teacher, was that it didn't subscribe solely to one philosophy. The rhythm of the day is very Waldorf, the toys are very Waldorf, but there are books, and room to let children do things at their own pace. I hope that continues, despite all the Lifeways handouts I got at our parent-teacher conference.
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by wami View Post
We will continue to talk to her the way we always have, and hope she decides to transition back eventually.

[...]

But yeah, I still am a little concerned by the increasing Waldorf presence in the school and will definitely monitor that. What I liked about this school, and this teacher, was that it didn't subscribe solely to one philosophy. The rhythm of the day is very Waldorf, the toys are very Waldorf, but there are books, and room to let children do things at their own pace. I hope that continues, despite all the Lifeways handouts I got at our parent-teacher conference.
As for the first thing I quoted- she will! and she will most likely go through waves of verbal behaviors that are annoying to you-- especially in, say, 10 or 12 years...

As for the second-- I wouldn't think of Waldorf as an entity to beware of, but instead a set of ideas and ways of thinking through what it means for adults and children to be together. Can you talk directly to the teacher about it, being careful to be open-minded? Explain that you didn't chose a waldorf school, and you wonder why there is so much waldorf literature lately? Could be that its something the teacher herself is thinkng about, and is just excited about, and sharing with you? I mean, I wouldn't think of it as something infecting your school, ykwim? If you trust and respect the teacher, don't assume she's being brainwashed by Rudolf Steiner. (like I posted above, our son does go to a W school, and I certainly do not think of myself as a Steiner adherent, yet there is so much overlap with our prior beliefs in what they do and how they treat the kids, at this school at least. I have learned a lot from them, actually, though there are whole areas I don't really agree with. And while I don't like the dogmatism, what I see is that the teachers are not dogmatic about it, and that it provides a very clear structure of support for them. They don't seem to follow it in a rigid, unthinking way.)

A very dear friend of mine who is an incredible teacher (public school) and a mom, was talking to me about our search for preschool for our son. Her point, and it was a very helpful one for me, was that NO school is going to be perfect. There will be SOMETHING you don't like or disagree with. BTW, your own home life is unlikely to be *perfect*. If your child is safe and well-cared for, generally happy, engaged in the school activities, and treated with respect, then as a caring, involved family, you look at the strengths of the school where you child goes, and you can compliment at home what you think are the weaknesses.
post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 
Good points. I don't expect the school to be perfect at all. We certainly aren't! In fact, I see the school as a complement to what we are doing at home. My husband and I are fairly cerebral, though still very imaginative, and I don't particularly enjoy doing art -- and especially cleaning up after toddler art projects, etc. I don't want a teacher who views the world the same way I do. I want DD's world to broaden a bit. She seemed ready for it and so was I. We read a lot at home -- DD prompts it -- and I actually would be totally fine if they never had books at school, because she gets plenty at home.

But the school definitely is identifying itself as Waldorf-inspired these days. I found their announcement for fall enrollment on a local mom Web site and the school is now called "Waldorf/Lifeways"-inspired, whereas before, the school simply listed Waldorf as one of several philosophies it would pull from. Coupled with some of the behavior changes in DD I noted above, I just wonder a little bit if the school is still a good fit for us, especially now that we are being asked what sort of schedule we want for fall and are expected to pay the materials fee in about a month-and-a-half. But toddlers change all the time anyway, so it's hard for me to attribute her behavior to changes in school, changes at home (we're having another baby) or just her growing up.

Still haven't had a response from the teacher to me e-mail. I'm hoping to open a conversation with her soon so I can get a better sense of where the school is headed.
post #17 of 17
Oh, this just really touched my heart, how you described your daughter trying to connect through conversation. I've watched DD try to strike up conversations with kids (some her age, some a few years older) and most of the time they don't respond at all... I think she's starting to get the idea of mimicry/physicality, IF the other child starts inviting her this way, like the other girl starts hopping around, then DD will get this, "Hey I see what you're doing" smile on her face and hop, too (normally after looking to me or DH... like there's still this gap where she's expecting some verbal discussion first).

I think play-based and mixed age sounds best for what you're looking for. I'd be annoyed by the Waldorfy idea of body before mind, too, because every day I see DD able to think way beyond her body's ability to catch up.

It's nice to hear from others with similar kids, b/c sometimes we feel like aliens.

I think you're smart to keep asking yourself if any school is still a good fit. If they're going to be critical of your DD regarding the whole body/mind development thing, I'd be very cautious. It just seems too judgey to have for the caretakers of a child, to me. But if what they really spend their time on is good fun creative play with art and everything, and they keep their comments to just you, it might still work. Good luck!
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