I would really appreciate some advice from the seasoned Mommas out there! Sorry this is going to be a bit long. My 4 year old just started Kindergarten in September and was at home with me/DH/my mom until then. He never went to any organized day program/daycare so I knew that going to school full days, 5 days per week with 30 children in his class would be a HUGE transition and was worried. I expressed my concerns on his first day (a half hour visit with DH and I) to the teacher and she told me she felt everything she observed was developmentally appropriate and had no concerns. DS loves going to school - never any tears, in fact he seems to look forward to going each day. Every day at pick up I will ask how his day was and the teacher always said "good" or things like "getting better every day" etc. A concern was never raised. Well 3 months in we have our first parent-teacher conference and observation day. I attended thinking it would be a lovely day where I would hear about all the wonderful things my son is doing, how he can improve etc. etc.
Well was I ever blindsided - the teacher literally (I wish I were exagerating!) went on for 25 minutes about all the concerns she has about him before even voicing one positive. I could barely speak I was so upset and felt the tears developing in my eyes. The teacher told me that she was very concerned about his behaviour, that he is repetitive and at times "obsessive" (as she put it) in his play, does not engage children and does not give her eye contact. She said he has no focus or attention and acts "silly" all day. She said he does not follow direction well and tends to spend all his free time playing/acting silly with another boy in the class who also acts similarly. When I observed him in class I saw a totally different child from my child at home - he was acting silly that is for sure but when he was in circle time he gnawed on his fingers constantly (I have never ever observed my child do this) which I see as a sign of anxiety. She even told me that if he continues this way he will not be successful in older grades - quite a weighted statement for a 4 year old. The only positive comments she had was about how intelligent and bright he is.
The observations she made of my child are odd and in no way describe him. He is a bright, engaging boy who loves to spend time with others so I had no idea where this was coming from. The observations she said made me think that she is hinting that she is seeing signs of autism spectrum which is completely off base (I am an child therapist and work with children with autism - he does not meet any of the diagnostic criteria in the least). So what is going on here? I feel that I have a little boy who is having trouble adjusting to school and perhaps is finding it hard to follow the routine and make good friendships because he has just never been in this scenario and needs guidance from his teacher to navigate this new environment. I am just beside myself that she is so concerned yet never spoke to me about it once until 3 months into the program. Never in our discussion did she provide any advice or tell me of a plan to help things improve.
Therefore, I have requested a meeting with her and will be speaking with her about just that. Now what? How do we work together on this to help him improve? I am thinking about sending him on a modified schedule (e.g. half days or every other day)or even pulling him out and sending him to another school that has a smaller class size (only 13 other kids) and a teacher that I know is very nurturing and accommodating. I would prefer to work with his teacher towards a solution here but I feel like she has already written him off and sees him as the "problem child" that she has no time for.
Any advice? Anyone been through something similar? I would really appreciate any input....I've never felt so upset in my journey as a parent. Something about hearing another person criticize your child that has the Momma-bear in me coming out!!!!