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Is my preschooler slow?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

My newly 3 year old just started preschool last week and I helped out at her class today and I noticed she is behind all the others as far as language, social skills, holding a pencil and just ''getting'' things. She won't really talk to the other kids unless she is playing with them, and even then its just to ask for a toy or something like that. Her teacher told all the kids to cross their legs and mine just sat there, totally didn't get it even when she watched everyone else do it. She kind of had a blank stare on her face when she was sitting at circle time, not shouting out answers like her classmates, she just looked lost. It was sad. She is newly 3 and I know a lot of the other kids will be 4 soon, but even the younger ones could recognize their letters and numbers. I work with her on these things at home but it seems like she just doesn't get things. My husband has a very, very mild case of dyselxia and my youngest brother has some undiagnosed learning disabilities, so I am worried about her. She is so quiet and shy and I wonder if its because she's insecure. She still holds her pencil with a fist grip and doesn't quite talk like her 3 year old counter parts. Do kids really recognize their letters and numbers at 3?!? I couldn't believe how most of them did! It's sad.....

post #2 of 20

I think you need to give her time to adjust and get the feel for her classroom. If you  are still concerned in a month or two, speak to her teacher or her doctor.  Get an evaluation done if you are worried.

Everybody is different, and some people are more outgoing than others.


And, if she is newly three and the others are near four, that year is a huge difference. Even 6 months is a big developmental difference at a young age.


Have you seen the PBS development tracker?


post #3 of 20

My 3 yr old(in August) does NOT recognize numbers or letters or even colors!  He just has no desire to learn it.  My 4 yr old learned all of that by age 2 and is extremely visual and learned it very quickly.  How familiar is some of this language/actions to her?  Has she ever heard to cross her legs before it was mentioned in class?  That kind of stuff makes a big difference.    And maybe she just didn't connect the fact that everyone was doing it.  My 3 yr old is really shy too and he barely talks in school.  He does a fist grip a lot too-but we are working on it.  Also look at the kids in the class...is this theire first time as well or were they in school before?  That makes a huge difference.

post #4 of 20

Short answer....NO.  There is nothing developmentally wrong with what you've described.  Perhaps a more play-based preschool would be more appropriate to where she is at.  This one sounds relatively academic, and if she is not ready for this it could reinforce your doubts and eventually hers.  (My oldest didn't adjust her fist grip until well after her 5th birthday, BTW.  She's very bright in many other ways.)  Don't let this get to you.  


Is this a problem for the teacher?  How does she handle your daughter's skill level compared to other kids?  All might be well from his/her perspective as well.  If, not, move your dd out or remove her from preschool entirely.  Pushing academics too early can be detrimental.

post #5 of 20

Recently turned 3?  Sounds totally normal! My DD is 4.5 and still does not recognize many letters and numbers.

post #6 of 20

Until you have more kids, you don't realize how young "newly 3" is.  That's barely out of babyhood, really.  Is this her first time in this type of setting?  Did she attend daycare?  If not then this whole experience is brand new and a bit overwhelming.  

post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 

It is a play-based school, its actually called a playschool, so I am terrified of what preschool has in store! She is my first, so I am hoping I am just being neurotic. Maybe its just so much pressure these days to have kids working on their PHDs by 4th gradeirked.gif thats making me think she's behind. Her teacher knows her really well and says she is very shy, which I know she is, but some of the kids in the class could recognize all their numbers and letters and write them so well. She can say all her ABCs and count to 20 and knows all her colors, so I thought she was doing really well, and then this stinking school has me second guessing her skill level.

post #8 of 20

Have you spoken to the teachers about your concerns?


With her just being 3- did she or does she have a well visit to the ped?


I think you should talk to the teachers and the ped and not jump as fast as you are.


Normal is a large range- this really becomes an issue if she can not keep up with the "school" based on what they can do for her-talking to the teachers should give you a better understanding if they can meet her needs.


Has anyone brought this to your attention (aside from the "shy" thing) or is it all what you are just seeing based on the others?


just wondering

post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

Have you spoken to the teachers about your concerns?


With her just being 3- did she or does she have a well visit to the ped?


I think you should talk to the teachers and the ped and not jump as fast as you are.


Normal is a large range- this really becomes an issue if she can not keep up with the "school" based on what they can do for her-talking to the teachers should give you a better understanding if they can meet her needs.


Has anyone brought this to your attention (aside from the "shy" thing) or is it all what you are just seeing based on the others?


just wondering

I asked her teacher about her fist grip and she said many kids still do it at 3 and she literally holds each kids hand and shows them how to hold their pencils correctly. She says I should see big improvement by the end of the session (10 weeks). Also, she isn't a qualified teacher, since its just a playschool, so developmentally, she wouldn't have any input. She just calls my dd and one of the other girls her ''shy/sweet kids.'' She also doesn't get it when the teacher asks the kids to do certain things, like crossing their legs and some other instructions. She was in her 2 year old class in the spring and at the end of the session her teacher breezly mentioned that she had to tell my dd certain things directly as opposed to telling her as part of the group or she would just sit there. Its like she didn't get what she was saying to her. She is slightly behind in her language skills and I am wondering if her comprehesion is more behind than I thought. She has been evaluated by 2 speech language pathologists who say she understands language and is slightly behind, that she doesn't need any speech therapy, but when you put her in a preschool setting, she totally seems lost.


post #10 of 20

SInce you are not dealing with "trained" teachers- personally I would seek the advise of someone you trust- be it a older teacher (even a older more experienced per-school/Sunday school helper-some one who has baby-sat LOTS of kids--that type of person) or try and speak to your ped- if you are using one (this would be my 1st choice if I had any concerns - an evaluation is nothing and can rule out things- I know many don't like doing that)----express your concerns--shy and not following group directions are two separate issues here------it is hard to tell from what you posted how her comprehension level really is, what is normal is a big range as all have said


also  - 


 but when you put her in a preschool setting, she totally seems lost.



does she seem to be enjoying herself or is it too much for her? is she "stressing" (looking lost and out of place) for just confused by what is being asked? is she "enjoying" the interaction with the others?


you could do the 10 weeks but I would not if I saw any signs at all of unwillingness 


how different is her behavior in this setting as opposed to being at home or at a play-date?


does she show eagerness to go to the program? separation is normal but you should get some idea that she joins in or looks forward to doing things 


is she excited when you pick her up--NOT to see you but to tell you what she did?


when she is NOT at the playschool how different does she act?


when you give directions does she follow them or do you need to give lots of explanation? 


I would write down your concerns as well


I think these are some things you ped might want to know


if she is happy about the program there is no need to stop unless it is an issue with the staff and dealing with her-IMO

Edited by serenbat - 10/5/11 at 5:44pm
post #11 of 20

i dont have much experience, having met my DSD when she was almost 3 and she is now just about 4, but that sounds fine to me! 


DSD knows more than she lets on, but she cant reliably count past 10 and doesnt know all of her letters. she was shown how to properly hold a pencil probably at 3.5 and now can write her name if coerced. she is just not really interested in developing skills that arent immediately interesting to her and i dont think that is an indication of her intelligence or development. she is also pretty spacey and easily overwhelmed. for example, at a kids birthday, there was a treasure hunt (very exciting of course) and even though she was almost a year older than the other kids, i dont think she found even one of the many treasures that were in plain sight. she just looked bewildered and blank and excited while the others raced around and found them all in short time. i would point to a toy and describe its position and she would look right at it and not see it. she is usually very observant, but the new and exciting situation was foremost in her mind and she just couldnt focus on anything else. 


also, DSD can only reliably display her knowledge and capabilities if she thinks no one is watching, or if she is having calm one on one time. any pressure at all and she just acts silly, cant concentrate and pretends she doesnt know anything. 


anyway, i wouldnt worry about your DD. she honestly sounds better off than my DSD was at that age (total space case, omg!) but the gal has come an incredibly long way in a year. 

post #12 of 20

No, sounds totally normal to me. I have an almost 3 yo and he wouldn't sit still in circle time, let alone shout out answers. He is still very much a baby. My older sons didn't start preschool until they were 4 and even then they didn't "get it" for awhile. 

post #13 of 20

All preschool classes have a range of ages and abilities. I would give her some time to adjust and get in the flow of things. She may be simply younger. I do think a lot of 3 year olds know letters/ colors but some do not and both are normal.


But I must say, being interested in letters is not "sad" and doesn't indicate a parent has forced a child to learn them. Some kids are interested in those things, some are not.. DS spoke late and colors where his first words followed rapidly by the alphabet by sight (before 2). And then came teh word "mama"... And we are media-free. He had books and blocks.

post #14 of 20

YOur child is probably quite normal, especially if she has never had any other 'school' like experience, such as daycare or early childhood family education classes. There is a lot to learn in group/social settings, that you really can't teach or learn at home! Like the sitting in a circle with legs crossed, taking turns in a group, etc. SHe is also probably not used to so many people in a group/room at once.

post #15 of 20

I've worked as an early childhood teacher and education specialist. The school is  throwing up red flags for me, especially if they are billing themselves as a play-based program.

post #16 of 20

My daughter has never had preschool, but we have been doing gymnastics for a year.  When she started (at 4yo) she was so distracted it was painful to watch.  The coaches were very sweet, though.  They never lost their patience even though they were constantly trying to get her attention.  She can be very much in her own world and instructions seem to go in one ear and out the other (and no, she doesn't have trouble hearing.)  At 5yo now she is used to the flow of the class, but I still see the teachers patiently struggling to get her to do what they are asking.  Hard to watch sometimes but she absolutely loves the class.

post #17 of 20

I can really only talk about the pencil grip - our daughter had an OT eval when she had just turned four.  She still used a fist grip - I had just never corrected her.  She had been trying to write for a while and I never wanted to make a big deal out of it so that it became miserable and not a fun thing she was teaching herself.  The OT said it was normal and just remind her to "pinch it" and she'd get the hang of it.  It became habit pretty quickly.


My daughter wasn't involved in anything "organized" like preschool or day care or even Sunday school.  It took her a while to go from observing everything to participating.  She was just taking it all in and figuring out her place.  She caught on.  She's fine.  She's still one to assess a situation before jumping in and that's fine, that's her personality. 

post #18 of 20
It sounds pretty normal to me. My 3 yr old does a fist grip half the time, and does not know how to write any numbers or letters nor would she recognize them.My kids go to school (she will start next year), and i figure she'll learn those things then. We do sing the alphabet song and count in day to day activites, but i don't make any effort to teach her in any structured way. I know there have been times with my oldest where i've encountered experiences like yours, and i think sometimes it's just hard to see our children not excelling. I would take the facilitator's word for it and see how she is doing at the end of the sessions.
post #19 of 20

I would say totally normal.. My oldest had a good pencil grip at 2 1/2, my middle is almost 3 and still holds the pencil with a fist. My oldest (4 1/2) doesn't recognize letter names or numbers but she will tell you the sound of some letters. My oldest also takes a while to warm up to a situation, shes been in the same class in Church Sunday school since May and she is just now starting to talk to her teacher. My 2 1/2 year old everyone would swear doesn't speak a word because she warms up slowly to people as well.


Id say either 1) give it time or 2) if you are really concerned take her to her ped and see what the doctors say. Since the teachers there aren't "trained" they might not catch a problem.

post #20 of 20

I wouldn't worry about teachers being trained or not.  An experienced one, now that one is worth listening to.  You don't want someone imagining trouble where there often is none (kindergarten and ADHD, for example).  I'll admit that as a homeschooling parent I more than a little biased on this one, so read my opinion in that light. 

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