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Please help - Trouble with preschool - **UPDATED** post #31 - Page 2

post #21 of 37

What is going on there isn't Montessori at all.  I have Montessori training, too, through AMI and what that teacher is doing isn't in keeping with the philosophy at all.  A child who just turned three should be doing activities that build hand muscles at the point - a lot of the practical life stuff, possibly metal insets, although still early for a young 3 year old.  But, regardless of age, a child should never be made to do work.  There is a sensitive period for writing (meaning a time when it will come naturally for the child out of their own desire to do it - and they will just do it - no forcing needed!!) and each child will pass through that sensitive period at a slightly different time.  All Montessori teachers should know that 1) a young three year old isn't typically in the sensitive period for writing and 2) the adult needs to follow the lead on when the child shows that they are in that sensitive period - it's not lead (or forced) by the adult.  

 

So, I would first find out what kind of Montessori certification the teacher has.  There are a lot of certifying organizations with varying degrees of authenticity.  There are Montessori certifying courses that just go over how to use the materials, but don't get into the philosophy - and that makes a big difference.  I would look for AMI or AMS certified teachers.  Second, I would just consider that this teacher has either misinterpreted the philosophy or has control issues or whatever - but that what she is doing isn't authentic Montessori regardless of her training.  

post #22 of 37

The really sad thing is he's now going to have trouble when he reaches the natural period for writing because of this horrific teacher.

post #23 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by kittykat2481 View Post

He deserves to feel successful every day.


I could not have said it better, OP. Your son, every child, deserves to feel successful every day. My heart breaks for your DS - a great way to suck the love of learning out of a child before they are even in "school". DD has always been in traditional schools and we would not have tolerated these behaviors (of both the teacher and the principal) there, either - they are far from being attuned with Montessori principles, or any good schooling/learning principles. I would be looking to move your son as quickly as possible. Little good will come from changing classrooms given the Director's attitude. Don't worry about the transition - it cannot be worse than what he is going through in that environment. Do careful research and ask as many questions as you think that you need to before commiting to another school - your DS deserves it!

 

post #24 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by amma_mama View Post

Don't worry about the transition - it cannot be worse than what he is going through in that environment.


yeahthat.gif

post #25 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by kittykat2481 View Post



 

I agree with all of you. They had some sort of school-wide observation thing today so the teacher didn't push him to do anything he didn't want to. Of course they also didn't send him to another class. If there's no change by the end of the week, I guess I'll have to go back in guns blazing. I've thought about changing his school entirely, but I just hate to for him to have to go through another transition, plus for all I know the new place wouldn't be any better than his current class. There's just no easy move to make. It's complicated by the fact that I would LOVE to make pop in visits and observe through the classroom window, but I work as a nurse M-F 6:00-3:00 and it's impossible for me to get time off work. DH takes him to school at 8:30 and by the time I get there in the afternoon his regular teacher (and assistant) are looooong gone.

 

Strangely, the girl that works at the front desk sent me an email from her personal email today hinting that I should consider another Montessori school down the street. She said she wants the best for DS and that I should listen to my gut. HELLO! :-/

 

Oh, and in addition to the director hinting that DS is immature and "not that smart" she also tried to make the point that the Montessori work cycle is from 8:30-11ish so "he's really only being challenged for 2-3 hours a day." She said, "the teacher isn't frustrated" to which I responded "but DS is!" I don't care how the teacher feels.

 

Sapphire_Chan, I 100% agree with what you said! I suggested to the teacher than he needed to pinch clothes pins, do tonging, puzzles, etc for a while and come back to the writing. She shot me down. Apparently that would be giving in and all the other children would see it as being able to get out of their work. So much for individualized learning. My 3 year old must be held to the same standard as 6 year old kindergarteners.

 

I'm still very much upset and unsettled about this.
 

 



As someone who has worked in childcare, both good and not so good places I can say RUN away from this place!!!! So many things you have said are just wrong. Very, very wrong! The fact that the girl from the office emailed you is huge IMO. She is risking her job to tell you to take your son out. Please listen to her. People do not to things like this without just cause.   Doing small motor work is what a young three should be doing! He is not "getting out" of anything. The fact that that is how she sees it says a lot about how she views children. Get your son out of there! Good luck to you and I hope you find a wonderful caring place for your son.  hug2.gif

post #26 of 37

I agree. Something weird, bad, or otherwise negative is going on. Power struggle with teacher. Weird defensive response from administrator. Alarming email from receptionish and not all at a good Montessori response.

post #27 of 37

i am a 17 year old in highschool now. but i had the VERY problem as your son. i was reading books to my mom like cat in the hat and the hungry little catipillar when i was 3. but i could NOT wright, i could spell, read and define most of the words, but not wright, my mom got me this ABC 123 laminant card, one of them ones you can trace the letters and numbers with a dry erase marker. i couldnt do it. i didnt start to wright until the first grade, but the way to do it is to make a game, everyone used to play "Do as i do" kind of like simon says. you make PART of the letter. once he gets that PART OF THE LETTER then work on the full letter. so like an A. YOU make an upside down V and have him on his own paper. do the same thing. then when he gets that down, you do the same thing then add the line in the middle. keep working on the finished letter for a while, then in his mind as he sees the A hell think about the upside down V and draw that then hell remember "mommy added the line in the middle, so i have top do that too" start with basic letters, A,B,C,D,E,F,H,I,K,L,O,P,Q,T,U,V,X,Z. notice that a few letters are missing. wait untill he gets the basic letters down first. i have a 3 year old nephew and this is how i work with him! he can spell up to 5 letter words such at motor, Tyler, Sacha, Brent, and stars, and one 8 letter word "MudTruck" its the same as reading. you break it down a little bit at a time! my 3 year old nephew is currently attending kindergarten classes. and for future purposes GET HIM IN A SPORT. Great way to gain not only alot of respect in school. but a grat motive in life and COLLEGE BENIFITS. unfortunantly i waited till my senior year this year to join a sport, but lucky for me i was really good at wrestling and made varsity and lettered in the same year, now i have colleges wanting me to come to their school and wrestle for them. and get him interested in coleges as soon as he gets into middle school. so he can set goals early and shoot for the moon!! i hope my advice help you as much as it helped me and my nephew!!

post #28 of 37

I would pull my child out of that environment immediately.  I can't tell you how wildly inappropriate it all sounds.  I mean, it wouldn't be right even if a child was 6 or 7 to create such a power struggle over reading.  

post #29 of 37
I've been in your shoes before so know that I'm sending you a big hug over the computer.

One thing that worked for us was to lay off the work that he didn't like. We found that pushing it harder make our son resist even more so it was a real lose-lose situation. It's unfortunate your son's teacher doesn't agree with that method.

As a compromise, of sorts, have you tried doing non-letter tracing sheets? These might help improve his fine motor skills and get him ready to write letters but, it would be fun and different from him -- and be totally unrelated to letters!!! Here's a link to some really cute free printable fine motor worksheets. Your son can trace a plane flying in a loop-de-loop or a bee flying in a zig zag line, etc. Would worksheets like this help put the "fun" back in developing his fine motor skills?

I hope this helps!
post #30 of 37

While the suggestions of letter learning and motor skill developing are great, keep in mind that the program the teacher was trained in, Montessori, already has an extensive list of activities designed to develop fine motor skills and build hand strength--that the teacher is ignoring in favor of having a fight with a child.

 

OP, how is it going? Have you demanded a refund yet?

post #31 of 37
Thread Starter 

***UPDATE***

 

Sorry it's taken me so long to update. There has been so much going on between dealing with DS's issues and myself changing jobs, and it hasn't left much time for writing!

 

The director of DS's school made a feeble and misplaced effort at helping the situation by offering to have DH drop DS off with her in the morning to help her with some special task, and then she would take him to his class. This was meant to avoid the crying fit that would happen every morning at drop off. While it did help to ease DH's separation with DS, all it really did was delay the inevitable. The teacher claimed that she was going to try to give him more choices, and DS did tell me a few times that he "did numbers instead of papers" some days. While the improvement was slight, it still wasn't enough.

 

Then last weekend we decided to let DS try Sunday school for the first time. It looked like so much fun - free play, songs, stories, crafts, puppets... DS was scared, clung to us, didn't socialize with the other children, didn't look the teacher in the eye. That was finally enough for DH. He knew that that wasn't our son. The next day he told the director that we had done enough talking about it and he wanted DS in a different class. On Tuesday he went to another class and had a great day. Sadly, the director didn't even tell me, but DS told me about it that night. Even without knowing, I knew that something was different. His mood was so much better that evening. On Wednesday the director said that she wanted to put him in a different class (because the other class had more children in it and she was trying to even out the numbers). We allowed the SECOND change only because DS's best friend is in that class, and we thought that might be good for him, considering his previous issues. Also, the best friend's parents have actually come to like the teacher more as the year as worn on.

 

On Wednesday DS officially moved to that class. The teacher couldn't understand why he had even been introduced to some of the work he was doing, and stressed that his focus should be on sensorial works and practical life works right now. She asked me to give her until at least Friday to just observe him and get to know his needs, and that she would give me a report at that time. I was just so happy that FINALLY someone was even considering my son's needs in all of this.

 

The change that we've seen in this short 3 days has been staggering. He happily participated in karate this week, played soccer with his friends yesterday, has not hit me once or told me he doesn't like me. He is excited to go to school, has come right out and said he likes this teacher better than his old teacher, and the tantrums are *almost* a thing of the past. Obviously he's still 3 years old, and sometimes his behavior is less than ideal, but suddenly he's sweet again. He's polite. He's reasonable. He's generous. He's loving and affectionate.

 

He's only been in this class for 3 days. I can't believe it. It makes me that much more sad that we left him in that environment as long as we did, since it obviously had such an effect on him. Our plan right now is to leave him in this class through the summer and if we're not 100% happy with the teacher (we know the director won't cooperate with us, but a good teacher can make up for that) then we'll move him to a different school in the fall.

 

On a side note, his godmother is in a PhD program that requires her to take a preschool assessment class. As part of that class she did an assessment of DS several weeks ago (all play-based and observation). She told me that while he tested above average in almost all areas, he score extremely high for anxiety. As in, almost clinically high. That is just too sad. He never exhibited these behaviors before, and has been 100x better just this week. I will still be watching him closely, but have hope that our happy son is going to return to us. I didn't even realize just HOW bad that teacher was until he was no longer in her class. They passed each other in the hall the other day and she didn't even greet him. How ugly. I am just so surprised at how this has played out.

post #32 of 37

Great update!

 

post #33 of 37

I've got mixed feelings.

 

Well, first I'm 100% happy that your ds is in a better environment and is with his best friend and with a teacher who has a clue.

 

Where I'm conflicted is that I kind of  wish it was at  a different school. Because even though your ds escaped, his former teacher is still in her classroom screwing up the other children. And I think it may have sent a stronger message to the director if you'd been able to say "that teacher is so bad she is costing you money." OTOH, by staying with the school and gushing about how great the new teacher is and how she really knows Montessori and is great at observing children and meeting developmental needs and all those other education phrases from the school's own brochures you might make things easier on the new teachers.

 

I think your ds's old teacher should be given a choice between going through the Montessori training again and writing up an analysis of what she did wrong in dealing with your son or losing her job. I really don't see anything less getting through to her enough that she won't make exactly the same horrific mistake with another child.

 

 

post #34 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post

I've got mixed feelings.

 

Well, first I'm 100% happy that your ds is in a better environment and is with his best friend and with a teacher who has a clue.

 

Where I'm conflicted is that I kind of  wish it was at  a different school. Because even though your ds escaped, his former teacher is still in her classroom screwing up the other children. And I think it may have sent a stronger message to the director if you'd been able to say "that teacher is so bad she is costing you money." OTOH, by staying with the school and gushing about how great the new teacher is and how she really knows Montessori and is great at observing children and meeting developmental needs and all those other education phrases from the school's own brochures you might make things easier on the new teachers.

 

I think your ds's old teacher should be given a choice between going through the Montessori training again and writing up an analysis of what she did wrong in dealing with your son or losing her job. I really don't see anything less getting through to her enough that she won't make exactly the same horrific mistake with another child.

 

 


I can definitely see where you're coming from. There's still a chance that we will leave the school, but with only a few weeks left in the year I hoped that a gentler change (classroom vs. school) might be what DS needs. My main concern is that I can't trust the director to even know what is in DS's best interest, even if I thought that's what she was concerned with. I also feel like I can't trust her to be 100% honest with me. I am putting a lot of trust in the new teacher right now because DS's bff's parents like her - and I sort of don't have a choice. Next week I'm taking DH to the school that I've considered moving him to for a long time. It's just extremely expensive (although not completely beyond our means, just mildly hehe) so I really need him to see all the reasons why it's worth it.

 

As far as sending a message to the school, the director is so clueless I don't even think losing enrollment would clue her in. And financially it wouldn't make a difference to her. I really have to just focus on what's best for DS right now. And somehow, some parents support the crazy teacher's methods. Unfortunately as long as those parents exist, she will have a job.

 

On another note, today DS was supposed to have a pull-out music class in the afternoon. He was tired after his nap - it was a very busy weekend - and said he didn't want to go. His teacher gave him a couple of opportunities to change his mind, but he didn't. She didn't make him go, and when he asked her to sing a song with him she happily did. I told her I was glad they didn't try to force him. I think in a few weeks when DS realizes that his voice is being heard and that he has some choices in his life again, he won't push back as much. And if a couple of weeks go by and he still doesn't want to do music (but is otherwise happy) we'll just take him out of that.

 

Anyway, I really appreciate your honest feedback. While we have had some great improvement, I'm still cautiously navigating the situation. I'm really looking forward to DH finally getting to see the other school (AMI school, goes up through Adolescent/middle school). We've talked about sending him there for elementary anyway, and for a variety of reasons it would make sense to make the switch now (like learning cursive first as opposed to print, etc.)

 

post #35 of 37

I think it is great that the new teacher is so much better and I think you should point this out to the director.  You might consider sending her an e-mail the last week of the year if it is still going well and telling her you understand she needs to protect her employees but that your son is doing really well and that she should also think about finding ways to support the other teacher in finding ways to build better relationships with the children in her care.  I think the change in the school makes it clear that it was the teacher and not the child and that is good for the director to see if she uses it to make sure the teacher improves.

post #36 of 37

I like the new teacher. The new teacher is what Montessori certification is supposed to guarantee.

 

I don't think you should have to pay for the first part of the year, but also don't see how you'd get a refund because that would require a director with a clue about why the teacher was so horrible and no one with a clue about that would've let things get as far as they did.

post #37 of 37

I am glad to hear that things are on a better track with the new teacher. It sounds like the other school is a longer term solution, though I understand wanting to limit the changes in a isngle school year. As you see, though, your son has the ability to be resilient with the right support, so I am certain that whatever route you choose will be fine. It is ashame that the other teacher will probably continue what she is doing to other children. No child should be put in the position in which your son was put. How very sad and demoralizing for the children that are made out to be failures at such a young age.

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