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Pre-K & The Busy Body - Page 2

post #21 of 39

A conference sounds like a good idea and a change in teachers may be the best decision.

 

In case you are concerned that you might get emotional during the meeting, it may help to prepare and organize before you attend. Start with a written outline of concerns - headline specific issues that might come up and have some point-form notes under each issue that you want to make before the meeting ends. You could note anything relevant from his last doctor's check-up (including the doctor's opinion that he's right on schedule, developmentally, for a 3 4 y.o., if something like that was stated). If there are reports or assessments from last year's Pre-K teacher, bring them with you, especially if they remark on his classroom behaviour. Examples of any "work" he's done at home that might differ a little from what they see at school, in terms of artwork or writing that might show motor control, attention to detail, etc., in case there is some issue about his academic readiness.   

 

Having that kind of "portfolio" in front of you may help you stay on track if you start to feel overwhelmed during the meeting. Best wishes with it. 

 

Ed. to correct typo - he's 4, not 3. 


Edited by ollyoxenfree - 9/6/12 at 6:15am
post #22 of 39

Why is he in a class where he's so much younger than the other children?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post

A conference sounds like a good idea and a change in teachers may be the best decision.

 

In case you are concerned that you might get emotional during the meeting, it may help to prepare and organize before you attend. Start with a written outline of concerns - headline specific issues that might come up and have some point-form notes under each issue that you want to make before the meeting ends. You could note anything relevant from his last doctor's check-up (including the doctor's opinion that he's right on schedule, developmentally, for a 3 y.o., if something like that was stated). If there are reports or assessments from last year's Pre-K teacher, bring them with you, especially if they remark on his classroom behaviour. Examples of any "work" he's done at home that might differ a little from what they see at school, in terms of artwork or writing that might show motor control, attention to detail, etc., in case there is some issue about his academic readiness.   

 

Having that kind of "portfolio" in front of you may help you stay on track if you start to feel overwhelmed during the meeting. Best wishes with it. 


This is good advice.

 

I also prepare responses to things I predict the school or teacher will say.  "He's too wiggly"  Under that I'll outline my response -- he does fine for X periods, centers are going great, what is it about the circle time that's different?

post #23 of 39

Just noticed I made a typo upthread - he's 4, not 3. I don't think it matters to the point I was making about the doctor's opinion as to whether he's developmentally on track, but I've corrected my earlier post. 

post #24 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by AKA_PI View Post

Thanks everyone for your insight and encouragement. The teacher actually called me yesterday and wants his father, myself, her and the director of the center to meet to discuss my DS. I guess she still feels that he is not showing any progress in sitting still or paying attention to her for long periods of time. He still does great in small centers time (which is when they get to work a smaller group on an individual activity). We had a long discussion yesterday and the guy and I have concluded that we don't think her personality is meshing well with hers; we would like to transfer him to another classroom.

 

It happens. I'm glad my ds had the teacher he did for 1st because the other teacher would not have been a good fit personality-wise. Ds (who has ADHD/Asperger's) was a bit traumatized by K at a different school (a whole other story); the other 1st teacher seemed more "particular" about things, whereas his teacher was more "organized chaos" and flexible which worked better for ds overall. My dd would do fine with either teacher and actually has ds' 1st grade teacher now.

post #25 of 39
Thread Starter 

They recommended/lightly suggested that they may want to consider holding my son back from Kindergarten as well. I mean, one month into school and this is a recommend you have because he's playful and boy? I just don't think its a fair or reasonable assessment given the timeframe and his age. 

post #26 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by AKA_PI View Post

They recommended/lightly suggested that they may want to consider holding my son back from Kindergarten as well. I mean, one month into school and this is a recommend you have because he's playful and boy? I just don't think its a fair or reasonable assessment given the timeframe and his age. 

 You are right- it is not fair or reasonable.

 

In some areas it seems a blanket statement to 'wait' for a summer birthday, especially a boy.

 

You still have a year to go. A lot can change in a year!

 

When you do start to get ready for K (or close to 5) ask for a DIAL or Lollipop developmental screener- or any other screener used for kids going into Kindergarten. It is standardized, but the 'testing' is play based and question based. It will let you know where your son is based on other kids THE SAME AGE- so you know how he is really doing and if you think he is ready for K.

 

Other ideas are young 5s program- some kids do K afterward and some go straight into 1st. It is a good place for younger kids to test the waters of K and see.

 

That said-- I would ask for a change of teachers if you have not seen any of these issues before. 

 

I,too, am curious why most of the kids are already 5 in the classroom.

 

Developmentally the range of a new 4 and a 5.5 is normally pretty broad. That is a big spread and a lot of growth occurs in all children between those ages....


Edited by KCMichigan - 9/11/12 at 11:50am
post #27 of 39

Sorry you are going through this! What jumped out at me about your post was the expectation that your son sits quietly for 20 minutes at a time right off the bat. I can see working up to that over the year to prep for kindergarten, but not immediately. I am not a certified teacher, so this is admittedly anecdotal, but I led a 30-minute children's class on Saturdays for several years - I had kids K-2, and quite a few of them could not concentrate on an activity for 20 minutes at a time. I aimed to switch activities every 10 minutes or so. Seems like an unrealistic expectation to me.
 

post #28 of 39

http://csefel.vanderbilt.edu/

 

Here is an excellent resource that the teacher's program may find helpful.

 

I work in this field and there is a lot of variation in the capability of a 4 year old to attend to a 20 minute circle time. Yes, this is a skill that kindergartens like to see, but a skilled teacher knows how to engage students so that they want to be there for 20 minutes. It is quite normal for a teacher to assist a child in learning self-regulation and self-control skills not to just expect that they have them at age 4. That is what preschool is for, to learn these skills!  How about allowing him to use fidgets during circle? Has she ever taught the class expectations of circle time? These are skills to be taught.

 

I also think that the class ratio is not good. A typical preschool classroom is 2 adults to 16 kids, 18 at most. Your son might do better in  smaller class with more structure and direct guidance. It is amazing how kids can do better or worse in  different environments.

post #29 of 39
Thread Starter 

We had a good day yesterday! Woohoo! We have implemented a new thing at home: when we get home in the evening, he is allowed to go play with his toys for 30-40 minutes while I start dinner. Once I'm done with dinner, we have family play time in which the 3 of us will play with blocks and just talk or lately we've been playing Kinect Adventure (great physical activity for the whole family). After 30 minutes of this, we will all sit down for dinner and have a general conversation. Once dinner is done and the kitchen is cleaned, we'll have 20 minutes of study time. Typically we review shapes, colors, practice spelling his name and talk about what they are learning in school. After 10-15 minutes I start to lose his attention so all 3 of us will do some jumping jacks or I'll turn on some music so we can dance then settle back down to finish the next 10 minutes. After that's all done, he gets to go play for another 30 minutes until it's time for bed. 

 

We've been trying this method since last week and I'm starting to notice that he's getting used to it. He tells me "Mommy I want to do my letters" or "Mommy Daddy, let's play blocks". The main thing I want to do is teach him what he should be doing without making it so stressful for him. He thinks we're just playing school and playing games but we're actually learning and practices the same things he will have to do in class. 

 

I do wonder if his teacher is tried to find other ways of engaging not just him but all the kids when they seem bored. My little guy loved doing some jumping jacks and dancing in the middle of doing work. It made it so much easier to get him back on track and wrap up study time. 

 

I don't expect a change over night, in a week or in two weeks. With consistently on both our end and his teacher's, maybe we can teach him what he should be doing instead of scolding him for not (which is what I don't like).

post #30 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by AKA_PI View Post

 

I do wonder if his teacher is tried to find other ways of engaging not just him but all the kids when they seem bored. My little guy loved doing some jumping jacks and dancing in the middle of doing work. It made it so much easier to get him back on track and wrap up study time. 

 

I don't expect a change over night, in a week or in two weeks. With consistently on both our end and his teacher's, maybe we can teach him what he should be doing instead of scolding him for not (which is what I don't like).

Glad to hear you had a good day!! It sounds like you are figuring your little guy out and can then make some suggestions to the teacher.

 

I do think kids all like to learn differently and if your son is a 'mover' and likes to figure things out with his body, sit down times will be harder for him. As he gets older he'll figure out how to manage that but it is new for him. It would be great if the teacher could join with you in trying to figure out what works and doesn't work with him, more like  a 'puzzle' than a 'problem' you know what I mean? That's what skilled teachers do.

post #31 of 39
Thread Starter 

That is a great way to word it! A puzzle not a problem. I need to remember that. 

 

Let's hope today is as successful as yesterday. 

post #32 of 39

my dd was an extremely high energy child. she needed an energy outlet otherwise she was extremely emotional.

 

she not only had a high physical need, but an intense social need too.

 

what helped in ps was to walk to school instead of drive. and maybe sometimes stop for a hot chocolate and chat with the staff. at that age dd could never walk. she hopped, skipped and jumped to school. 

 

in K we were super lucky that we got into afternoon K. with the schools permission we arrived an hour earlier so that dd was able to join in recess with the primary and intermediate students. i had to be there to make sure dd was safe. just this had a HUGE impact on dd.

 

even today dd has an exercise ball for a chair at home. 

 

and oh yes even today dd is very much a kinesthetic learner.

post #33 of 39

I signed up just to reply to this because it makes me sad on your son's behalf. First, anyone who has been trained as a teacher should know that you never talk for more than ten minutes before moving the students on to an activity. Second, all procedures (lining up, raising hands, putting supplies away) need to be actively taught, and it usually takes a couple of weeks and a LOT of repetition before students get it right. I used to teach *high school* and I followed these rules, or else my *fourteen* year old students got frustrated and fidgety and didn't know how to behave. You don't get to be irritated with students for not doing what you want them to until you have really, really, REALLY taught them what it is you want them to do. And even then, being irritated is usually not helpful.

 

I know I am not part of your son's classroom, and don't really know whether this woman is a good teacher or not, but the fact that she is already annoyed and sounding alarm bells about testing seems really...odd.

 

But I will say that what you are doing at home, which is essentially teaching him classroom procedures, sounds really great. It sounds effective, too.

post #34 of 39
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much for your concern. We have a two-week follow up meeting this morning with the teacher and director again. I'm sure they are going to say there is no change and push us for testing again. They may not see a change but his father and I have. The funny thing about my DS isn't that he doesn't learn and retain the information (I quiz him in the evenings) but he just won't sit still. He's an extremely bright and inquisitive 4 year; he just likes to play more than sit still.

post #35 of 39
Thread Starter 

Hey guys - just wanted to let you know that we have a two week follow-up meeting at DS's preschool today. I'm about 100% sure the teacher will proclaim that there has been no change but we will see. Something new his dad and I implemented was no tv during the week. Sure we were giving him 30-40 minutes but then we talked about it and decided to completely remove it Monday-Thursday and do other activities instead. Before we know it, it's 8:30 and time for bed.

post #36 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by AKA_PI View Post

Thank you so much for your concern. We have a two-week follow up meeting this morning with the teacher and director again. I'm sure they are going to say there is no change and push us for testing again. They may not see a change but his father and I have. The funny thing about my DS isn't that he doesn't learn and retain the information (I quiz him in the evenings) but he just won't sit still. He's an extremely bright and inquisitive 4 year; he just likes to play more than sit still.

 

 

I am glad you are seeing some changes. =]

 

If he is learning that is fabulous.4 is an age that is mobile, it should be. Kids are wired to move and they learn through play. 

 

At 4, very few kiddos would be 'tested' for ADHD if that is what they are pushing for (there are always a few kids that are accurately diagnosed that young, but that is often after several years of suspecting it anyway). It would be rare that would give such a diagnosis to a child that previously had no concerns from parents, previous teachers, etc

 

 

Hope your meeting goes better than you expect!

 

 

 

Even my almost 7 year old rarely SITS, she perches, flops, lays, crouches, etc. and she still plays constantly. She learns best through movement- it is just the way she is. Her attention span is long and she listens well, but rarely is she just sitting still.

post #37 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by AKA_PI View Post

Hey guys - just wanted to let you know that we have a two week follow-up meeting at DS's preschool today. I'm about 100% sure the teacher will proclaim that there has been no change but we will see. Something new his dad and I implemented was no tv during the week. Sure we were giving him 30-40 minutes but then we talked about it and decided to completely remove it Monday-Thursday and do other activities instead. Before we know it, it's 8:30 and time for bed.

 

Do you have any other options for preschool? Do you think the issue is just with the teacher or with 'tone' of the school? My dd (1st grade) came home with a packet the first week of school, and in it there is a blurb that says

Quote:
"When you ask me what I've done at school today, and I say that 'I just played,' please don't misunderstand me. For, you see, I'm learning as I play. I'm learning to enjoy & be successful in my work. I'm preparing for tomorrow. Today, I am a child and my work is my play."

 

In regards to holding him back, holding a student back is not a (legally--in public school) acceptable response to failing to address a student's needs; meaning, if they think he has special needs they need to address them and not just hold him back. If this school is your only option right now you may want to take him to a developmental-behavioral pediatrician and have them write a report for the school that (likely) says he does not qualify for a diagnosis and that his behavior is developmentally appropriate for his age.

 

The strange thing is that even if he had a diagnosis that wouldn't change anything for them. They have no say in whether or not he is medicated and (if public) they would have to provide accommodations that they already should be doing. With ADHD (or any special need) there is a lot of adjusting the environment to fit the child, not the other way around.

post #38 of 39
Thread Starter 

UPDATE FROM TODAY'S MEETING:

 

The teachers informed us that his behavior has increased and that he has become defiant. When asked to do something he now tells the teachers "No", covers his ears, or crosses his arms while pouting. They also said that they noticed that he just simply cannot seem to stop making IronMan or character noises. He is a bit obsessed with ironman so we get on him to "turn it off" so that he settles down but that is hardly working for us. 

 

The director informed us that she is having someone come to generally observe to class and if maybe the room is overstimulating or perhaps the teachers need to change the way they do some of the large group/small group activities. She isn't having the person to come and observe my child directly but she is going to see if the observer picks up on his behavior and what he is doing. DB and decided that they were OK with someone observing the director even offered to set something up so that we can speak to her/him to see what they noticed in general. 

 

The director thinks the the changes as of late may be causing him stress and that that is the reason for his acting out. I do have to agree with her on that thought process but at this point, I don't see how this entire situation can be resolved without everyone feeling some sort of stress.

 

At this point, we do not feel that what he has going on is anything super major but to hear that there is an increase in his behavior after the last meeting definitely causes us to pause. The teachers are going to continue with the methods they have been trying and will try to alter depending on the situation. At home we have agreed to take away all of his action figures leaving him with toys like balls, cars, etc. Since the things he is emulating are the action figures, perhaps removing those will help the situation a bit. 

 

I also spoke with his pediatrician today and she believes him to be an active 4 year that must be taught to settle down. She also thinks that maturity plays into this and that two months for now this will be a thing of the past. I told her that I would bring the report and discuss things with her from a medical perspective. She's known him since he was 5 days old so I value her input into the situation. 

 

On a positive note, the teacher said that he has made some new friends in class and that academically he impresses them everyday. They have been able to keep him focused on certain assignments and he does them exceptionally well. We do have to work on him cutting with scissors since he tends to use both his hands and hasn't decided if his left or right him will be dominant (both his grandfathers are ambidextrous). Anyway, that's the latest on the situation. We're going to have a family talk tonight about good behavior and go from there. 

post #39 of 39
Thread Starter 

LATEST UPDATE

 

I have spent the last two days in the classroom with my son to observe but to also just spend time with him, given everything that has happened up to until this point. Yesterday was a very good day for him. I didn't have to tell him to stop making the noises too many times and when I did he stopped immediately. He and his classmates played nicely but I was able to see the personalities of some of the boys he continuously has issues with. One kid in particular kept pestering the other kids intentionally. Several times I caught him pushing a child down and looking around to see if he got caught. I remember this child because this one of the kids my son bit the other week. My son has never bit anyone (not even me) so I was surprised to learned that he bit someone. Given what I saw yesterday, I have a pretty clear understanding why it happened now. 

 

Today I spent the morning in the classroom and will return at lunch. He was in rare form this morning. He was extremely active and bouncy. I did have to keep telling him to be quiet while I read the class a story and made him come sit by me to settle down. I even pulled him to the side and had a talk with him. I could see some of the behavior the teacher identified first hand and I can see how it can be a disturbance when it is time for the lesson. Our goal right now is to get him to focus and settle down doing circle time (aka story time/lesson of the day). I even went as far as to let him bring his favorite Dr. Seuss book to class and I read that to the kids and he wasn't paying attention at all. Seeing how he loves the spotlight, I could tell that some of what he was doing was to get attention from others. 

 

I'll be back up there for the second half of the day and the afternoon. I'm scheduling a meeting with his pediatrician when she returns next week to discuss him and possibly see a developmental pediatrician. It's not necessarily testing but I would like to see a medical review to make sure that yes is indeed acting like a 4 year old little boy who loves attention. I'm sure if Dad will be ok with that but I don't want to give the school any more ammunition to build a case against my son.

 

OH! And the other day I made him sit in timeout on the couch for 15 minutes. He actually stayed there the ENTIRE 15 minutes. He whined a couple of times to get down but I stuck to my guns and said no and he stayed!

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