Obsessing with one type of work - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 18 Old 10-17-2012, 09:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
Dot-to-Dot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 488
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)

My 3 year old just recently started Montessori (just turned 3 last week).  She's always been quirky - a little anxious, slightly obsessive but still distractible if need be, strong appreciation for order.  At the same time she's very verbal, extremely articulate about her emotions, seems to catch on quickly and all around advanced for her age.

 

We had a really rough start because she tends to be painfully shy and even scared of new people and new situations.  She did great when she met the teacher and went back to the classroom with her while I waited in the waiting room.  But when school actually started, each morning at drop-off has been difficult.  She glues herself to me, covers her eyes, refuses to speak and so on.  Sometimes she cries.  Some days are better than others but it still makes me so sad that it goes this way each day and I'm left wondering how she's doing every minute that she's gone.

 

But here's my concern:  EVERY day she does the same work.  I know that sometimes Montessori kids do tend to do that because they're working through some developmental milestone and they'll move on when ready, yada yada.  But the work she chooses is coloring.  She just colors scribbles on a sheet of paper and sometimes she'll do a very sloppy rubbing of a butterfly.  Every. single. day.  She is so smart and skilled and I'm sure she'd enjoy so many of the works offered but she will not branch out.  It's starting to bother me and make me think that I should be concerned about her anxiety...or her obsessing?  I'm not sure.  Bottom line I just feel very disappointed that she doesn't trot into her class each morning feeling confident and that she isn't learning and experiencing all sorts of new things and developing new skills.  Instead she seems terrified, sticks with one safe work and also is too scared to use their toilet (auto flush scares the crap out of her) so she holds her pee in the whole time.  This is not how I envisioned preschool.  And it seems strange to be forking out all this money for something that makes her so anxious and to think that she's not getting much experience with activities other than coloring.  At the same time, she has made friends, she LOVES the playground, she seems to like her teachers, she talks about school a lot and wants to go each morning.  She complains when she has to come home and says she just wants to stay all day like some of her other friends do.

 

Would you be concerned?  Is there any appropriate way to encourage her to do different work or should I really just wait it out?

Dot-to-Dot is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
#2 of 18 Old 10-17-2012, 12:48 PM
 
pek64's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 2,500
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Sounds to me like she's not ready. Preschool has been debated recently on a thread. Maybe you should read through that, and ask yourself if you feel it's necessary. There's always next year, at this point.

Edited to add link to preschool ddebate.

http://www.mothering.com/community/forum/newestpost/1344806
pek64 is offline  
#3 of 18 Old 10-17-2012, 01:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
Dot-to-Dot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 488
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)

Ugh.  It does sound like that, huh?  :(  She would be so sad if we took her out.  She really loves it.  Because of those quirks I mentioned, I just felt like she'd be like that next year, too.  She is even that way with beloved and trusted adults in her life like her Gramma.  Even her daddy when he comes home somtimes...she'll hide from him if the front door opening startles her.  And she's had 3 years to warm up to him!  I kinda think she'll still have a rough drop off when she's 4 or 5.  But, maybe it's true that she isn't ready.  I'll have to really think about this.  I don't think preschool itself is necessary.  But, I had this very intelligent little girl at home who was getting bored and I just did not have the time or patience to keep up with her instiable appetite to learn and experience so I thought she'd really enjoy this.  And she does.  I just wish she didn't feel so anxious.

 

Unfortunately she may not be able to attend M next year.  We are likely moving to a city where the tuition is 3x as much and this might be her only shot since it's much more affordable here.  (And yet, still a financial sacrifice for us).  But there's a possibility that we won't move and I didn't want to make decisions based on 'maybe's so I went ahead and put her in. 

Dot-to-Dot is offline  
#4 of 18 Old 10-17-2012, 01:20 PM
 
pek64's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 2,500
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
The only other suggestion I have is for you to support chances for her to form a buddy relationship. When I was in kindergarten, there was a girl who was very scared, and the teachers put us together (I was upset, as well). I became her buddy, and she shadowed me a lot! But it helped both of us feel more confident. By spring, we didn't need it anymore, and played separately more. But in the beginning, our parents arranged play dates for us to be together outside of school, too. Just a thought, if you want to keep trying preschool.
pek64 is offline  
#5 of 18 Old 10-17-2012, 01:35 PM
 
APToddlerMama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 2,130
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Is it just at school that she's obsessing about one type of work? If so, that is not unusual at all. My son has special needs and actually was just diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder and he does this at school too. When discussing goals for him, someone said it would be nice for him to choose different activities to do during free choice time, but his teachers said it is totally normal for three and four year olds to choose one activity for much or even all of the year. There is a little girl in my son's class (typically developing) who lives in the kitchen area. The teacher actually taught her mom many years ago and said she remembered her mother did the same thing...kitchen all day every day. Mom is a totally normal successful happy adult. I wouldn't worry as long as there aren't other issues going on. In time she will feel comfortable branching out.
APToddlerMama is offline  
#6 of 18 Old 10-17-2012, 01:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
Dot-to-Dot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 488
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)

Yes, just at school.  I mean she has favorite toys and activities at home that she sometimes gets really attached to until something else takes its place but she is capable of and interested in a wide variety of activities outside of school.  I'm just mainly surprised that she's chosen to dwell on coloring of all things.  It's never been her favorite thing to do here at home.  She's able to draw circles, faces, bodies, etc but at school she JUST scribbles.  I would have guessed she'd do practical life stuff at school or something with numbers since she loves math.  I'm just really curious about what this scribbling is doing for her emotionally/cognitively or whatever.

 

As far as other things going on...I really don't know.  I often wonder if she's a little different from the other kids.  But she seems normal with her cousins and she has 3 favorite classmates.  One in particular always greets her and wants to go play with her right away.  They are definitely buddies.

Dot-to-Dot is offline  
#7 of 18 Old 10-17-2012, 01:40 PM
 
linn7799's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 68
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

This article has been linked to here before - seems very relevant to your situation.

 

http://kiddietoes.blogspot.se/2011/07/sometimes-you-just-have-to-polish-duck.html

 

Personally, from what you described, I would wait it out a little. You say your daughter now talks about preschool, wants to go in the morning and wants to stay when you pick her up - I see these as encouraging signs.  She may well be choosing coloring because it is something familiar and non-threatening, and it provides some security for her as she explores this new environment. I don't see anything wrong with that at all - she is spending time in the Montessori environment and observing the other children using the various materials. I suspect that as she starts to feel a little more comfortable, she will naturally branch out and try some new things. The fact that she can concentrate for so long on the coloring is actually quite impressive, I think.

 

Though I definitely feel this is worth bringing up with your daughter's teacher, particularly your concerns about your daughter's anxiety - does the teacher also sense that your daughter is anxious in the classroom? If so, I'd ask the teacher if he/she has any suggestions about making your daughter more comfortable in the classroom... or if it's just a matter of waiting it out... and go from there.

 

 

Caitlinn

linn7799 is offline  
#8 of 18 Old 10-17-2012, 01:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
Dot-to-Dot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 488
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)

pek64, thanks for that link.  I'll check it out.

Dot-to-Dot is offline  
#9 of 18 Old 10-17-2012, 01:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
Dot-to-Dot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 488
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by linn7799 View Post

This article has been linked to here before - seems very relevant to your situation.

 

http://kiddietoes.blogspot.se/2011/07/sometimes-you-just-have-to-polish-duck.html

 

Personally, from what you described, I would wait it out a little. You say your daughter now talks about preschool, wants to go in the morning and wants to stay when you pick her up - I see these as encouraging signs.  She may well be choosing coloring because it is something familiar and non-threatening, and it provides some security for her as she explores this new environment. I don't see anything wrong with that at all - she is spending time in the Montessori environment and observing the other children using the various materials. I suspect that as she starts to feel a little more comfortable, she will naturally branch out and try some new things. The fact that she can concentrate for so long on the coloring is actually quite impressive, I think.

 

Though I definitely feel this is worth bringing up with your daughter's teacher, particularly your concerns about your daughter's anxiety - does the teacher also sense that your daughter is anxious in the classroom? If so, I'd ask the teacher if he/she has any suggestions about making your daughter more comfortable in the classroom... or if it's just a matter of waiting it out... and go from there.

 

 

Caitlinn

That is very comforting.  Thank you.  It's true, she's definitely an observer.  Even as a baby she just watched and watched and watched and then boom she got up and walked unexpectedly as if she'd been quietly learning how to do it the whole time.   It makes sense that she'd be choosing something safe but at the same time gaining benefit by observing.  And I do believe that she is benefiting just from time spent in the Montessori environment.  You have some good points.  And that's a good question for the teacher, "do you sense that she's anxious in the classroom?"  Because it's hard to know how much I'm projecting.  This teacher doesn't do much communicating about individual students...a lovely blog with photos, but nothing about MY individual baby..er uh, child.  :) 

Dot-to-Dot is offline  
#10 of 18 Old 10-17-2012, 01:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
Dot-to-Dot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 488
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)

As I read the article posted by linn9977 I am wondering...is it typical to get a progress report?  We don't get anything like that.

 

"The duck, his teacher informed me the second month of school, was well maintained. "Anson likes to polish wooden objects and repeats this often," his progress report duly noted. I silently calculated how much we were paying per month (with what kinds of financial sacrifices) to subsidize our son's wood-shining habit."

 

Ha ha!!  I am always thinking how we're paying all this money for her to sit alone and color!!  Yay!  I'm not alone!

Dot-to-Dot is offline  
#11 of 18 Old 10-22-2012, 09:43 AM
 
thehighernest's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: South Florida
Posts: 94
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I would call my son an observer also, and he just happened to spend the first 3-4 weeks of school doing nothing but drawing also. Guess what? He's over it now. LOL. winky.gif

 

He's moved on to working a bit more diligently now and is varying more of his lessons, but his teacher told me that he still prefers one particular lesson at the moment, which is the one where they open and close jars.

 

I think this is probably just normal and seems to line up with the idea of sensitive periods in Montessori, and I also think part of it is my son's nature. The school was supportive of his drawing, but we were having some other issues with him where he was mostly playing with all of the other lessons or not doing them unless someone was by his side. It is still early in the year. A lot of it is probably just normal adjusting.
 

thehighernest is offline  
#12 of 18 Old 10-22-2012, 02:46 PM
 
babymommy2's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 405
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

at 3 one of my kids did pink tower and screw driver boards every day the entire year. He branched out a bit the next year, but still loved any activites involving blocks. He is 6 now and goes to public elementary school. It is just his thing. he likes lego and meccano (blocks and scew drivers). I think he is an engineer in the making. I wouldn't really worry about it at all. Preschool, it is new, she is probably spending a good amount of that time observing while she scribbles.

babymommy2 is offline  
#13 of 18 Old 10-26-2012, 06:34 AM
 
mashrb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 9
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

My 3.5yo is also somewhat anxious, though perhaps not to the same degree. She's also an observer, big time. And she, too, puts most of her time into scribbles at school, but then she comes home and her drawing and coloring at home is totally different (faces, houses, attempts at squares and letters and numbers, her version of "cursive writing," etc.). My theory has been that at school, she seeks out coloring and play dough because they are familiar activities that comfort her in a very new environment. I would love to see her choosing some of the materials that she can't do AT HOME ANY HOUR OF THE DAY FOR 1/1000th OF THE COST, but I know that she's doing what she needs to do and is getting her Montessori education/foundation in the Montessori way.

mashrb is offline  
#14 of 18 Old 10-30-2012, 02:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
Dot-to-Dot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 488
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)

mashrb, yes!  My daughter can draw faces and she approximates shapes and makes very purposeful designs *at home* but just scribbles at school. 

 

So guess what ladies!  I decided to really embrace the drawings she was coming home with.  I think my reactions to her daily drawings were lacking enthusiasm as she brought home more and more - I'm not the type of parent to gush over something that didn't take any thought or effort and I feel bad that I didn't give her more credit.  (Not that I was hard on her or visibly disappointed...I just didn't jump for joy or squeal when she'd show me the new papers each day.)  I decided to *really* appreciate them and make sure she could tell and I had an easier time doing so after reading all of the insight above.  And especially after reading the article from linn9977.  The first couple days she was increasingly proud and instead of just flatly saying, "I did coloring." she excitedly said "I made more pictures for you mommy!!!"  And then all of the sudden she chose two different activities the next day!  And each day since then she has done coloring, but also 2 or 3 others works!  Now she's stamping and perforating, doing puzzles, knobs and clips!

 

If this happens again, though, I really feel like I understand her and Montessori better now and I won't feel so anxious about it.  Thank you all so much!

Dot-to-Dot is offline  
#15 of 18 Old 10-31-2012, 02:06 PM
 
linn7799's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 68
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Thanks for posting an update! It's great that you've been able to relax as a result of reading the advice here. And really wonderful to hear that your daughter seems so enthusiastic about the activities she's choosing.

 

Yay! Really hope your daughter's Montessori experience continues to be a good one.

 

Cheers, Caitlinn

linn7799 is offline  
#16 of 18 Old 11-02-2012, 07:25 PM
 
mashrb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 9
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

That's great! And it reminds me--my daughter actually told me that she draws at school all the time because her daddy likes her drawings so much. So there might be some aspect of connecting to us while away from us when she's coloring at school. So fascinating how their little minds work even when they/we don't know it.

 

Also, I had a conversation with her about whether or not she knew she could play with the other stuff at school, and used the pink tower as an example of something she could choose to work with. Her response was, "I already did that." I wonder if this might indicate that she doesn't find the materials that interesting? When we did pick up the next day, I mentioned this to her teacher in front of my daughter (to sort of involve her in the discussion), and her teacher talked about how she needs to master it/do it a few times before they can move on, or something. On the way home, I told her she is free to do whatever she wants unless her teacher is asking her to do something else; I felt like putting pressure on her or talking about it too much wasn't really going to do anything, and I need to trust that she's doing what she needs to do. So I got my packet of scribbles for the week. Excellent!

mashrb is offline  
#17 of 18 Old 11-27-2012, 09:30 PM
 
farmermomma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Indiana
Posts: 924
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18 Post(s)
Wow, I love mothering.com. I actually cried reading this dialogue through. (I am pregnant and emotional). What excellent growth as a parent you experienced. My 5 year old very, active, social homeschoolin' boy has asked to make something for me when at friend's house, didn't happen, then he seemed so relieved to make me a drawing at mops. I thought he had bigger plans than a drawing and was gonna take him to crafty grandma, but I see it about the connection more so now too. He doesn't draw much at home.

In case you don't get to do montessori next year, just thought I'd tell you...My boy did one year of Montessori as a 3 year old that did both of us a world of good. What a great introduction to respectful schooling. He was respected and he showed more respect for space and time.
farmermomma is online now  
#18 of 18 Old 11-28-2012, 06:33 AM
 
mashrb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 9
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I can't help but keep this thread going. It's fascinating to me, and I would love to see how others' kids progress through this phase. Mine came home from school last Tuesday so super-excited and happy and told me about a bunch of stuff she did--it was so fun for me, as I practically drool over every nugget of information she gives me about her hours away from me. But then the funniest thing. Over the period of several days off of school for Thanksgiving, she told me, "Guess what, Mommy. Binky's coloring season is over." Binky is one of her stuffed animals. I'm always interested in what her stuffed animals are up to, as their little narratives are a great spotlight on what's going on in my daughter's head. So I asked her what "season" was next for Binky, and she told me that it was going to be "block season." She told me that she still likes to color sometimes during "block season," as if to let me know that she might be doing less of it, but that it's still an important part of her activity schedule. :)

mashrb is offline  
Reply

Tags
Montessori

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off