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Creative 6 year old's imagination being discouraged in school - Page 3

post #41 of 84

Schools and/or teachers can be so limiting to children's creativity.  My son went to school for one year.  At recess, there were so many limitations.  They were not allowed to pretend any type of weapon at any time.  In the winter, they were not allowed on the equipment, not allowed to build snowmen, pretty much all they could do was stand around and shiver.  At one point they had shoved up enough snow to make a teeny tiny ramp to slide down and even that was forbidden.  We've been homeschooling for several years now.  My daughter had an imaginary friend.  Now she writes plays and stories instead.  Encourage that creativity!  Hopefully you can put a stop to interfering teachers - good luck!+

post #42 of 84
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Knittycat View Post

Schools and/or teachers can be so limiting to children's creativity.  My son went to school for one year.  At recess, there were so many limitations.  They were not allowed to pretend any type of weapon at any time.  In the winter, they were not allowed on the equipment, not allowed to build snowmen, pretty much all they could do was stand around and shiver.  At one point they had shoved up enough snow to make a teeny tiny ramp to slide down and even that was forbidden.  We've been homeschooling for several years now.  My daughter had an imaginary friend.  Now she writes plays and stories instead.  Encourage that creativity!  Hopefully you can put a stop to interfering teachers - good luck!+

Thanks for that. that experience sounds horrible!  I have always been on the fence with homeschooling for us. The most important thing to me is our DD's well being— so whatever it takes.  It's great to hear about your daughter's experience! My daughter is already a vivid storyteller, so I have no doubt that she'll become a great writer when she's older. smile.gif

post #43 of 84

So OP, how did the meeting go?

post #44 of 84
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post

So OP, how did the meeting go?

Thanks for asking, I just came on to tell!

 

The principal said straight away that it was perfectly normal to have an imaginary friend and he felt that it was really made into too big a deal because there was no resolution. We saw that there was no resolution because there continued to be issues, he said that a common language should be found to support our daughter and open the other kids understanding of it. We addressed how the other teacher was hurting our DD by diminishing her invention. We said we felt the head teacher should share it with her assistant teachers (there are student teachers in the classroom too). So, we will talk with our daughter and try to come up with language that will be acceptable to her, but also protecting her and then telling the teachers what is acceptable to us. We'll see, but we got the head teacher on board, we have the principal on our side, so it was a good meeting.

 

I had printed out and highlighted 3 articles, and I didn't even need to bring them out. We were very pleased with the principal's response, and don't think we would have accomplished so much without him.

 

It was very reassuring that the school wants to encourage imagination and we felt that he put the head teacher in her place and got her on board, if that makes sense.

post #45 of 84
Quote:
It was very reassuring that the school wants to encourage imagination and we felt that he put the head teacher in her place and got her on board, if that makes sense.

 

 

thumb.gif very happy for all of you! Glad all went well and the meeting sounds like they DO care.

post #46 of 84

hmmm. i think i'm a little confused. 

 

so... there was the principal at this meeting and no one else right? the head and assisstant teacher wasnt there right?

 

so there are a series of student/assistant teachers going through the class?

 

it wasnt the head teacher who was the problem was it? i thought it was the assistant teacher who had issues. the head teacher was only a problem because she hadnt explained things to her assistant.

 

language? what language? so your daughter has to speak in a certain way? i dont get it?

 

if anything could your dd introduce her sister doll to her class? would it be too painful for her to explain the circumstances and introduce who she is. she could write a story about it couldnt she? 

 

i am happy your principal is on your side. i think your head teacher too was. is.

post #47 of 84
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

Quote:
It was very reassuring that the school wants to encourage imagination and we felt that he put the head teacher in her place and got her on board, if that makes sense.

 

 

thumb.gif very happy for all of you! Glad all went well and the meeting sounds like they DO care.

Yes,I wish it had been handled better beforehand, but very relieved that the principal came in strong supporting what we had said all along. Also, the head teacher said how much she loved our daughter and how very engaged she is in every aspect of school. She also came through with saying she agreed with the principal that it was normal, so maybe she had come to that conclusion (after my irate email?).

 

Not sure of what language is acceptable to our daughter, but I'll spend the weekend mulling it over. thanks very much for your support and to everyone else. blowkiss.gif

post #48 of 84
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post

hmmm. i think i'm a little confused. 

 

so... there was the principal at this meeting and no one else right? the head and assisstant teacher wasnt there right?

 

so there are a series of student/assistant teachers going through the class?

 

it wasnt the head teacher who was the problem was it? i thought it was the assistant teacher who had issues. the head teacher was only a problem because she hadnt explained things to her assistant.

 

language? what language? so your daughter has to speak in a certain way? i dont get it?

 

if anything could your dd introduce her sister doll to her class? would it be too painful for her to explain the circumstances and introduce who she is. she could write a story about it couldnt she? 

 

i am happy your principal is on your side. i think your head teacher too was. is.

Hi Meemee,

 

Our meeting was with the principal and the head teacher. they didn't go into details of what the assistant might have said, but didn't disagree with the things that our daughter said. I said it was important that the head teacher communicate with the assistants/students. it's confusing— it's a lab school, so they have 2 student teachers there as well as the head teacher and an assistant.

 

Our issue was with the assistant teacher and the things she said to our DD. But, the head teacher had said things in the past that upset me very much, like: by 6 years old it isn't common to have imaginary friends, and she wanted to talk to the school psychologist about it, she also said that she wouldn't feel comfortable with telling another kid  if they got into a disagreement about the "sister" to respect each other's different perspectives. That was at our meeting in the beginning of the year. She then followed up asking about the "sister" and when I responded, never acknowledged it (a a problem with emailing, I guess). So, we had that anguish and then our DD told us how the assistant was "hurting" her by telling her "her perspective ".

 

I don't really know what the proper language is, the principal was looking for something for the teachers to be able to explain so that all the kids could  relate to the idea. He mentioned "pretend" which I said would definitely not work. because, as we know children who have imaginary friends aren't "pretending" and the word, again, would diminish her creation. My husband said our dd should just say, "she's real to me" when a kid questions her. the teacher wants something to explain to the kids when her "sister" is mentioned. Part of me thinks that the teachers could just ignore it when she brings it up. But, if there is some way of saying that we can use our imaginations in many ways. personally, I don't know why they can't just say, 'she's real to DD and it's important to her so let's respect her.'

 

That's a great idea about bringing her in for show and tell, I could check with my dd and the teacher if they thought it was a good idea. I know I have said a lot of things on here, but the doll isn't a replacement so much for a miscarriage we had, she turned real long after. I think she turned real so that my dd could take the pressure off of me, who she saw sick in bed for a week, this way she could have a sister and not worry about her mom getting sick again. her doll has helped her through some difficult times and the doll's personality changes throughout time. (She's been real for about 6 months).

 

I know the head teacher has been on our DD's side, i just think that the teachers made too much of a big deal about it and left us feeling that after 2 months we shouldn't still be having meetings about it. I don't know, I guess it's complicated.

post #49 of 84
I think ignoring it and focusing on redirecting her to be on task is probably the best way to go. If she brings the doll in and calls it real she could be opening herself up to a lot of teasing she won't get if she just sticks to making up imaginary games with her friends. This age is not an easy one when it comes to friendship drama and it only gets worse. I would never willingly allow a teacher to have my child do something that singled her out as needing an accommodation that most children don't need. Saying she's real to your dd sounds nice but it is special ed speak and it will be very damaging if it is delivered in a tone that makes it clear that your dd is the only one who sees the doll as real, which is a possibility if the assistant teachers or even the head teacher really aren't as on board with going along with calling the doll real as you think they are. I really think asking them to ignore it is best.
post #50 of 84
Quote:

I don't really know what the proper language is, the principal was looking for something for the teachers to be able to explain so that all the kids could  relate to the idea. He mentioned "pretend" which I said would definitely not work. because, as we know children who have imaginary friends aren't "pretending" and the word, again, would diminish her creation. My husband said our dd should just say, "she's real to me" when a kid questions her. the teacher wants something to explain to the kids when her "sister" is mentioned. Part of me thinks that the teachers could just ignore it when she brings it up. But, if there is some way of saying that we can use our imaginations in many ways. personally, I don't know why they can't just say, 'she's real to DD and it's important to her so let's respect her.'

 

I had imaginary friends for a long time. In fact, I was like one of the PPs in that I eventually used my pretend family as a coping mechanism for stress in my life. I don't think it's necessarily bad, and by that time I was aware that it wasn't something that other people would accept (though I secretly harbored the idea that other people also had these active imaginations but kept them quiet as well). I now make my living as a writer, so I do believe that it served me well. Anyway, I say that to say that I understand your daughter, but the truth is that it IS pretend. I always knew that although my "family" had names and personalities and conversations.

 

The problem I see at this age is that learning the difference between fiction and non-fiction (at least for my kindergarten and second graders) is part of the curriculum. While most kids are aware that, for example, Dora the Explorer, is a made-up story, some kids aren't really sure. It gets trickier obviously with something like Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Junie B. Jones because they are stories about people. I can see how it could become confusing if the teachers have to use language suggesting that her doll is a real person. She's not. I don't think that "invention" is the right word. I think that character is the most appropriate word for how she views the doll.

 

I also see some confusion is saying on the one hand that your daughter knows the difference between real and fantasy but that you cannot use "pretend," which is the language for fantasy play, because it would upset your daughter. That does suggest to me that your daughter may have some difficulty with telling truth from fiction or that she relies on the doll/sister too much. Perhaps I did not pretend to the depths that your daughter does, but by 1st grade, it certainly wouldn't have bothered me for someone to call my "family" imaginary or pretend. If your daughter is going to talk about her sister and other kids are aware that it's a doll, I do think it's important that the teachers have a way to address the situation that attends to your daughter's needs but isn't too confusing for other students.

 

My son has given me the benefit of seeing a mind that works on pure logic, and he would point out - likely repeatedly - that your daughter doesn't actually have a sister. He would find it difficult, if not impossible, to refrain, and a child like that in your daughter class could pose another issue to consider going forward. I think that coming up with language can help the teachers know how to walk the line between your daughter and children who may reject the idea. I also don't think the teachers should be expected to play along with your daughter's fantasy, though some of your posts seem to suggest that you do expect that to some degree.

post #51 of 84

It seems to me a good idea would be for the class to write stories about characters.  To introduce their characters to the class and then to put them away until a designated "imaginative play" time.    So whenever the kids are having imaginative playtime they could talk about or with their characters and I would imagine your daughter wouldn't be the only one who has an imaginary friend so it might be a welcome project for many of the kids.  If there is a way to introduce this so it benefits your daughters as well as the other students that would be a win-win wouldn't it?

 

Otherwise creating some sort of language for just one kid sounds daunting. 

post #52 of 84

Am I the only one who thinks that it's the teachers who have an issue with this and not the kids? They seem to be phrasing it as "This is a big deal because the other six year olds just can't handle it" -- and yet, according to the OP, her dd has friends who are okay with this kind of imaginativeness, and it doesn't sound like the OP's daughter has experienced any real problems with teasing.

 

With all of the real problems that teachers must encounter in a classroom full of kids, it seems bizarre to me that there's all this angst about the possibility that other kids "might" have a problem and "might" tease the OP's dd.

 

Honestly, I'm someone who's very supportive of a lower ratio of students to teachers in classrooms, but this situation has me feeling like in some ways, a higher ratio could allow stuff like this to just flow past the teachers without them even noticing or feeling a need to interfere. Don't get me wrong, I honestly don't think a high ratio wouuld be good overall, but in this case, it seems like the teachers don't have any real issues to deal with so they're hyperfocusing on something they think "might" become an issue down the line...like when the OP's daughter is 18 or something.

 

And I agree with the OPs husband that their dd could just say "she's real to me," and I agree with the other poster (or posters) who said that the teachers could just say that, too. I just honestly don't see why people who work with 6 year olds don't see how capable they are of accepting different ways of looking at things. Maybe that's because I have two girls who were both still very imaginative at that age, and still are very imaginative.

post #53 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionaryMom View Post

My son has given me the benefit of seeing a mind that works on pure logic, and he would point out - likely repeatedly - that your daughter doesn't actually have a sister. He would find it difficult, if not impossible, to refrain, and a child like that in your daughter class could pose another issue to consider going forward. 

 

I actually see differences like this as a beautiful example of the current saying that there is "strength in diversity." Idealistically speaking, the U.S.'s government was founded on a vision of creating a place where many different people could dance to the beat of their own inner drummers and still get along. Of course, the U.S. was also built on a horrible history of slavery, murder, and eradicating  the entire way of life of the native peoples -- a way of life that many of us now realize had more wisdom, and was infinitely more sustainable, than the one that replaced it.

 

At any rate, I think even six year olds -- and yes, even adults -- can begin to learn to appreciate how purely logical minds and very imaginative minds can and do complement each other. After all, it seems pretty obvious to me that many of the popular science fiction books and movies draw on both hard science and imagination; a good amount of both makes for a better movie. It doesn't seem to me that it would be like rocket science for people who are skilled in working with six year olds to facilitate discussions about how "many heads are better than one" and how different perspectives can help us see different aspects of a problem and come up with better solutions, and ultimately can help us create a better world.

post #54 of 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post

Am I the only one who thinks that it's the teachers who have an issue with this and not the kids? They seem to be phrasing it as "This is a big deal because the other six year olds just can't handle it" -- and yet, according to the OP, her dd has friends who are okay with this kind of imaginativeness, and it doesn't sound like the OP's daughter has experienced any real problems with teasing.

 

With all of the real problems that teachers must encounter in a classroom full of kids, it seems bizarre to me that there's all this angst about the possibility that other kids "might" have a problem and "might" tease the OP's dd.

yup this is how i am reading it too - which is why i said all professionals dealing with children should take ECE classes which are electives. unless of course it was the kids who said something to the teacher. 

 

unless some kids have reacted or teased but the teacher hasnt made that direct observation to the OP.

 

i really do think most kids deal with this very well. not all of course. in fact i discovered how imaginary play is still HUGE In 4th grade and is used as a coping as well as 'figuring out' strategies when personality clashes happen - read as puberty.

 

i recall a lot of dd's k and first classmates brought their imaginary friends on the playground. and the imaginary friends had a party with the other's imaginary friends. i've seen logical children roll their eyes at the imaginary play and run off and the other kids go join them when they had enough imaginary play. but i have never seen imaginary play around the teacher. 

 

actually to be honest - i seriously think most kids can handle things so much better. dd's first school in K had a high number of special circumstances kids - kids with severe emotional issues. never ever was there ever a problem. in fact dd's best friend there was one of the most abused kids ever - but the kids always got along fine except for minor tiffs. and i really think there is something to the same kids being in the same group as they go up in grades. i have seen this in the camaraderie and willingness to work amongst kids who have been together for years. of course its a problem for other teachers as most of these kids because of their familiarity are chatty cathys. 

post #55 of 84
Thread Starter 

I totally agree with mammal_mama and meemee.  We appreciated the principal coming straight out to say that this is perfectly normal and that it was blown out of proportion, but then I'm not sure he really got it either when he said finding common language like "pretend". I do think the teachers are worrying too much about this.

 

What the teacher said (and my dd says) was that there is one boy that is giving her a hard time. But, this same boy said "raise your hand if  you want to throw 'so and so' out the window" and to another kid, "if you don't like the same football team as me then I'll get my big brother to punch you." I think we can all agree that this kid has some issues with being threatening. Not my dd's problem, but the teachers' problem.

 

My DD said that the head teacher believes her because when the teacher asked my daughter if 'the doll" was real and my dd said, "yes" and the teacher said "okay." That okay might have meant anything, but to my daughter it meant she believed her.  By saying a simple word of "okay" she is not taking away from my DD's beliefs and she is also not agreeing with it.

 

They seem to be so worried about what other kids will think, but I think most kids aren't putting too much into it. the teacher didn't say anything about when my DD raises her hand for something the other kids question her validity. My DD says that she makes sure she's talking about her real older sister even though she's thinking about her "little sister".

 

The fact is this: my DD is very imaginative and nobody is going to convince her otherwise, and some people might not understand this. the school said that they don't want to take away from her imagination, I just don't think they have a grasp on it. I really think ignoring it is okay, but if a kid questions her little sister, they want to say something that all kids can relate to. I don't see why they can't just have my dd answer it  or the teachers could say, this is a good example of how we can see things differently and we should have mutual respect for our different ideas. MY DD says, "I just tell them that anybody can be your brother or sister whether their real or not" Sounds to me like she knows how to deal with it. If, it means that some kids think she's a little strange then that is fine, maybe she "is", but they should not be mean and make fun of her because of it— or any other reason. what if two kids had a disagreement about God? One kid says God is real and the other says God isn't. maybe some people can't see my analogy, but really those are two different opinions, coming from two points of view. if the teachers can help the kids to understand differences there, then they should be able to do it here. I'm not asking for the teachers to placate her, just to respect her differing opinion.  I agree with mammal mama when she said, "strength in diversity".

 

When I spoke to my DD about it again this morning she came up with  12 step directions on how to turn something real— it's really brilliant!  I think she has enough confidence to get through this, if the teachers didn't make such a big deal about it.  She says she barely talks about it at school.

 

In some ways I feel like we haven't accomplished as much as I had wanted, but at least were finally told that it was normal and not really an issue.

post #56 of 84
double posted?
post #57 of 84

700Quote:

One kid says God is real and the other says God isn't.

exactly!  

 
Quote:
They seem to be so worried about what other kids will think, but I think most kids aren't putting too much into it. the teacher didn't say anything about when my DD raises her hand for something the other kids question her validity. My DD says that she makes sure she's talking about her real older sister even though she's thinking about her "little sister".

I really don't get their attitude, at this age kids make up stories about REAL people in their lives too!  

 

 

 

I like your DH- "she's real to me" the best.

post #58 of 84
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

700Quote:

One kid says God is real and the other says God isn't.

exactly!  

 
Quote:
They seem to be so worried about what other kids will think, but I think most kids aren't putting too much into it. the teacher didn't say anything about when my DD raises her hand for something the other kids question her validity. My DD says that she makes sure she's talking about her real older sister even though she's thinking about her "little sister".

I really don't get their attitude, at this age kids make up stories about REAL people in their lives too!  

 

 

 

I like your DH- "she's real to me" the best.

Very funny cartoon! I have written a long letter that I will send tomorrow setting forth what is acceptable to us. For example: for the teachers to ignore it, for the teachers to stop asking my DD questions about it, if my DD does say something to them they just say "okay" or something to that effect— as in they understand but don't have to agree. To explain to the other kids, IF they question it to say, "that it's perfectly normal for her to see it/feel this way" or something to that effect. Since the principal said it's perfectly normal, I'm picking up his language. I think it's a brilliant thing to say to the kids. Why teach them that it's weird, strange or abnormal when 65% of kids have imaginary friends. I pointing out that teaching kids mutual respect is the way to go forward, and I'm also giving them my DD's 12 step plan to show them what they're up against! wink1.gif   We'll see how that goes.

post #59 of 84
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by featherstory View Post

It seems to me a good idea would be for the class to write stories about characters.  To introduce their characters to the class and then to put them away until a designated "imaginative play" time.    So whenever the kids are having imaginative playtime they could talk about or with their characters and I would imagine your daughter wouldn't be the only one who has an imaginary friend so it might be a welcome project for many of the kids.  If there is a way to introduce this so it benefits your daughters as well as the other students that would be a win-win wouldn't it?

 

Otherwise creating some sort of language for just one kid sounds daunting. 

That's a good idea, although she's not "imaginary" to my DD, she's real nut.gif.  I agree that a language for kid, a well-adjusted kid, is daunting, and unnecessary. I think I found a way around it and we'll see how they'll respond.

post #60 of 84
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionaryMom View Post

 I also don't think the teachers should be expected to play along with your daughter's fantasy, though some of your posts seem to suggest that you do expect that to some degree.

I'm totally okay with my DD's imagination. I appreciate you talking from a writer's perspective, because that's my daughter in  another year or two (or 20). I don't expect them to play along, but I do expect them to accept that this is how my DD sees it and that it is "perfectly normal". I know it can be hard for some people to see, but I also have lots of complete support. This issue is not with my DD and not with the other kids it is with how the school (the teachers) has mishandled it. They have way-over complicated it. The teachers don't need to be asking my DD if she thinks the doll's skin is real or if she thinks she's real. We told them before the first day of school that she calls this doll her sister. so, why are they even questioning my daughter and then telling her it's not possible? i don't need that answer. some kids believe in santa some don't. 

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