UPDATE - We had a meeting today .... 3 yo not doing well in Montessori-like school - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 15 Old 02-16-2006, 08:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
gaialice's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,236
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Hi,

My two girls (3 and 5 yo) are in a Montessori-like pre-school. I am not sure in what ways the Montessori approach differs from the one in their school, which is based on active learning, offering children different activities from which to choose from, and a lot of singing and dancing in the classrooms. They also do a lot of crafts and are not at all pushing the kids to learn, each child doing things at her/his space.

The school does however time-out and punishments (like demanding that the child sits down, or sending child to another class) which we at home never did.

I have always been very relaxed about discipline at home, the children are free to do their thing, very little is demanded, and even that is not compulsory, just expected. They are both very “spirited” little girls and the atmosphere at home has never been very positive, with a lot of tantrums, frustration etc all around.

DD2 – the 3 yo – used to be a kid that loved to play on her own and required little direction during the day. She resisted things like sitting at the table for lunch/dinner but I never pushed. I tried to ask her the very minimum and she always did cooperate easily, so long as not too much was asked and she was given enough freedom to play in peace.

Recently though it appears at school she has become very negative, not paying any attention to what the teachers ask and running away from them during outings or at recess. They did try to punish, and it was a catastrophe, I think at this point she hates them and the whole system. At home too, things really started to fall through and EVERY SINGLE REQUEST I HAVE TO MAKE IS A TOTAL STRUGGLE. I am in tears and really do not know how to cope. We will have a meeting with the teachers next week, they said, "to propose an approach that we could all agree with" and "impose a structure on her". I am really afraid this is going to make things spiral out of control.

Any ideas....?
gaialice is offline  
#2 of 15 Old 02-16-2006, 08:13 AM
 
DoubleOven's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Lap of Luxury
Posts: 880
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
:
DoubleOven is offline  
#3 of 15 Old 02-16-2006, 10:40 AM
 
CinnamonDeMarco's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 281
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Structure, chores and discipline are good for children. It is a parents job to provide those things. It sounds like your daughter is unhappy and having problems at school because your home is lacking in structure. Maybe the teachers can give you some good ideas about how to change your home-life for the better.

I was a teacher before becoming a SAHM. We (teachers) disliked that some parents thought the school should transform their wild children into well behaved ones. OR even worse, just accept the fact that their children danced on the table at mealtimes and peed on the walls, or whatever. It seemed like they had given up on trying to parent their children. It was very hard for us to work with children who had no structure at home. The children were very unhappy about suddenly being expected to submit to structure.

The children who did well at school were already used to following a daily routine, putting toys away, eatting at a table, using good manners etc.

You are the parent. You are the one raisng your child. Good parenting takes a lot of hard work. Sometimes it will be a struggle. If you have to struggle - struggle. But don't give up.

One thing that helped my son cooperate with me more was to limit TV watching and use a daily routine. I let him watch a little TV after his bath. He didn't like to bathe so I told him I'd help him bathe quickly and when were are done he gots to watch TV! I want to limit TV even more but Dh likes it. That's another story.

Anyway the rountine was based on what we already do and I added in a few things I would like to do but I kept forgetting - like take vitamins. I'll post it here if you like.

Good Luck.
CinnamonDeMarco is offline  
#4 of 15 Old 02-16-2006, 10:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
gaialice's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,236
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thanks DoubleOven. Well, I do try to change things around at home. I really do try. I have never spanked, and if I yell it is mostly "AAAAAAHHHH I can't handle thiiiiis!!!". It does happen that I turn a bit sarcastic, but honestly this is just soooo hard.
Anyaway I do not punish, don't do time outs, don't do rewards. I emphasize the good things they do, without praising, but letting them know when they are of help to me. I am very playful and I try to spend quality time with each of the kids every day. I also do try to communicate well with them, with empathy, blah blah, But, in spite of my best efforts, the kids tantrum a lot, resist all requests, are very disrespectful and in general non-cooperative. Like dd1 yesterday spilled water on the floor, on purpose, and I said, please help me clean, how can we do this... and she ran away laughing. Then I said, I will clean this for you now. But next time, this is your job. I try to model respect. I am not sure what I am doing wrong and what I could do better. I do try every day. Nevertheless, I work full time, I am not there all day for the kids. I had to go back to work when they were still little. In the evenings, there is just not enough time for us to do lots of things together.
I have to say though that since the preschool started to demand more of her and punished her, her behaviour really exploded. I am not sure what to do, I would like to keep her home, but I work full time and I do not see how I could do that.
gaialice is offline  
#5 of 15 Old 02-16-2006, 04:19 PM
 
healthymantra's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 69
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Two questions:
1. What do you mean 'Montessori like'?
2. Why do you want a Montessori education for your child?

Montessori drew an analogy between raising children and flying a kite. You don't give the child complete freedom, in the same way that you don't just throw a kite in the air. You need to keep the strings short, until the kite is catching air and flying, and then gradually loosen the strings so the kite flies higher and higher, freer and freer.

I think that part of the reason why things have exploded is that there are two different levels of expectation for the children, those at school and those at home. Discipline is, ideally, self imposed, but a child needs to be shown how to exercise it for herself (the short strings). The teacher has higher expectations of what your child is capable of, and should be responsible for.
When your child spills water, intentionally or otherwise, she should clean it up. If she cannot, you should show her, while she sits and watches until it's done. The first time. Only once. There is no shaming, no yelling, just a simple statement; 'this water is spilled, you need to clean it up'. Any subsequent times, you could say 'I am going to sit here until you get it all cleaned up'.
We should be teaching natural consequences, not using punitive punishment or value based reward. The natural consequence to this behavior is that you can't run off until it's cleaned up.

It is the ultimate work of parenthood to teach our children to participate in the greater society. If there are no consequences at home, how will your daughters learn to expect and deal with them outside the home?

Listen to your child's teacher. Hopefully they have some strategy you can use, and by working together, you can help your children gain the self-discipline and responsibility they will need to function in society.
healthymantra is offline  
#6 of 15 Old 02-17-2006, 06:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
gaialice's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,236
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
CinnamonDeMarco, Healthymantra thanks for your replies. You're fully right. My children are indeed suffering from a lack of structure at home and low expectations at home.

I do work hard at parenting the children, but somehow I seem to lack the skills and most of all the time. I read tons of books, here were we live there are no parenting classes - else I would attend. But I just do not seem to get it. Maybe with one child, I'd manage. But two, I don't know. While I try to reason or discipline one, the other runs wild. We do not watch a lot of TV and in theory we have a morning routine. The children just do not respect me and I do not want to resort to punishments. I do not want to give up, either. For example:

Quote:
When your child spills water, intentionally or otherwise, she should clean it up. If she cannot, you should show her, while she sits and watches until it's done. The first time. Only once. There is no shaming, no yelling, just a simple statement; 'this water is spilled, you need to clean it up'. Any subsequent times, you could say 'I am going to sit here until you get it all cleaned up'
The problem, of course, is that she will try to run away. A worse problem still is that she will reach out for other things to spill and break. Or the sibling will join in and do that. Or worse somewhere else in the house. I am at a loss as to what to do.

I totally agree with what you say:

Quote:
It is the ultimate work of parenthood to teach our children to participate in the greater society. If there are no consequences at home, how will your daughters learn to expect and deal with them outside the home?
You are also right that it is the parents' job, not the teachers' job to educate the kids. I do my best every day. I feel just so sad.

Quote:
1. What do you mean 'Montessori like'?
2. Why do you want a Montessori education for your child?
Again, as I said in my opening post, I am not sure in what way the school the children attend is different from a Montessori. The reason why I wanted them to attend an "active-learning" school, as opposed to a school where notions are just transmitted to the children for them to memorize, is that the most important thing is transmitting children faith in their own ability to discover and learn. At their own pace. Memorizing a lot of notions, that can be done, but serves little purpose because they will soon be forgotten.
gaialice is offline  
#7 of 15 Old 02-17-2006, 01:14 PM
 
zeldamomma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 2,226
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm interpreting your post as asking for advice-- if I've misunderstood, I apologize.

I know that not everyone agrees with this, but I feel like gentle discipline (with timeouts) is helping my kids learn to control their bodies. Having confessed that, I will try to share some things I do with my kids that don't require punishment.

I think there needs to be some kind of consequence of to poor behavior, whether it's that children who won't clean up spills only get drinks in sippy cups or something else.

As a general rule, I don't tell my kids they have to do things if I'm not prepared or able to enforce it. If all that you're doing is asking them to clean up after themselves, then phrase it that way. If you can stand it, you could let their messes accumulate for a day or two till they see the value in cleaning up (I would put away anything that is particularly special to me before I tried this). Either way, I would make sure they understand that there are fun things the 3 of you might have done together that they are missing out on because you spend so much time cleaning up their messes, or because you don't feel comfortable taking them because they don't listen well.

Since I use timeouts, I'm not entirely sure how to have a peaceful home without any punishment-- you might ask for advice at the boards at unschooling.info, a lot of the families don't believe in punishment. Our family uses the discipline method described in the book "123, Magic"-- there are timeouts, but no yelling. We also do our best to make sure the kids are well rested and eating well, and we don't actually give out very many timeouts (because they behave well, not because we are inconsistent).

Anyhow, I have 5 year old and 3 1/2 year old dds, so I can appreciate that it can be challenging!

Good luck!

ZM
zeldamomma is offline  
#8 of 15 Old 02-17-2006, 04:24 PM
 
flyingspaghettimama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 4,671
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We do not use timeouts in our family, but I did use three books to create our own discipline structure: Playful Parenting, Love and Logic, and How to Listen so your kids will talk...etc. These seem like three very divergent books, but they are not so different at heart.

If it were my kid, this is what I would do:

1) Create a safe environment. As zeldamomma said, if they are intentionally spilling drinks, give them only sippy cups for a little bit and make a big deal of getting out regular cups. If they are breaking certain things, put those things up. Think like they're toddlers, even for just a few days. When you get out the special items again, make a HUGE deal of it and how special and grown up it is to have it (this is Montessori, BTW).

2) Give choices all day long: would you like to wear your white sweater, your blue sweater, or a different one? Would you like to hold my hand in the store or just stay next to me? (If neither option is taken, maybe go back to the car). And then, sometimes, there is not a choice - and L&L says this - you were able to make choices about what to wear to bed or whatever; but it is my choice as to your bedtime (and it's now)...however, would you like to read this book or that book before bedtime?

3) Take a whole weekend to really enforce natural consequences (i.e. if you spill your water, we clean it up); but also make time to do fun things that help bond (trip to zoo, park, whatever), play, etc. Basically, a discipline-in. Keep your schedule loose so you can do what needs to be done.

4) When they tantrum (and hey, we still have this problem!) just remind them very calmly, to use their words and you will be able to hear them. Say it over and over, "I can understand you when you use your words and talk calmly to me." Eventually they will calm down and get it. Go to that Zen place inside where it doesn't bother you. I sometimes get lost on my way to the Zen place, but hey...maybe you have better directional sense.

I have to ask though - do you feel guilty when you impose consequences? Did you have a crappy upbringing? Sometimes that business can interfere with our parenting.
flyingspaghettimama is offline  
#9 of 15 Old 02-21-2006, 09:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
gaialice's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,236
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I like the idea of natural consequences. Not punishment, but natural consequences. I think I have been confusing punishment - which I do not want to do - and consequences. The idea of a sippy cup - for instance - is definetely a good one. I will try that. Of course, childproofing for a 5 yo who figures out things much more quickly than me is complicated but I really do not think it will last so long.
I also like the idea that there are parent's choices and children choices. I give them a lot of choices: we set the menu for dinner together whenever possible and of course they choose what to wear (within reasonable options) which books to read before lights are out etc... but I like the sentence "You can choose b'n x and y but it is me choosing your bedtime".
It is true I have seldom imposed consequences, so far. My upbringing was rather chaotic, I have to say, and I dislike routines, doing things the same way, in the same order every day... etc etc. I do routines now for the sake of the kids but I am not a routine person at all. However, I see clearly that I grew up with very little responsibilities - not much except going to school and getting decent grades - and I learnt very little of how to make a home function. I really want to try and make my kids more responsible.
gaialice is offline  
#10 of 15 Old 02-21-2006, 09:50 PM
 
Lillianna's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 765
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Hi
lots of good suggestions, it's time for you to start holding your children accountable for their behavior.
just wanted to add that "sippy cups" are definitely not Montessori by the way, a child will never learn how not to spill if the possibility does not exist. From the time a child begins to drink from a cup, we offer the child a real cup, maybe a very small real cup but a cup.

My sweetie and I have a lovely little lady 07/02 and 3 cats
Lillianna is offline  
#11 of 15 Old 02-22-2006, 02:06 AM
 
flyingspaghettimama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 4,671
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lillianna
Hi
lots of good suggestions, it's time for you to start holding your children accountable for their behavior.
just wanted to add that "sippy cups" are definitely not Montessori by the way, a child will never learn how not to spill if the possibility does not exist. From the time a child begins to drink from a cup, we offer the child a real cup, maybe a very small real cup but a cup.
I hear you - but Montessori teachers also make it a BIG DEAL to give the child the "plain" cup - talking about how breakable/special/grownup it is to use the cup. They might give a lesson on using it properly so the liquid doesn't spill. It just sounded like the OP's children needed to take a step back before taking a step forward, KWIM?

We gave our child regular cups by about one year of age; but before that, we totally used sippy cups. Seeing as she didn't get the "special" argument quite yet...nor had the hand-eye coordination to use a regular cup. And I personally would prefer a sippy cup to a bottle...
flyingspaghettimama is offline  
#12 of 15 Old 02-22-2006, 07:03 PM
 
Lillianna's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 765
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
sorry if I flipped that out without more explanation, FSM, I really liked all your suggestions...offering choices and having logical consequences will take you a long way. The cup we offer to the child under 1 is usually no bigger than a shot glass, but it is glass! Part of my problem with sippy cups is that the child is taught that it is ok to drink anywhere, ie. standing, in the family room, in the car, etc...then, when the child is older, the expectation changes to only drink sitting down, so in essence, the child has to relearn this behavior. It is easier and more effective for the child, if she is taught how to drink while seated at the table from the get-go. If the child is not taking care of an item, it is removed from their use until they are ready to use it in the way it is meant to be used. Some may view this as a type of punishment, but the expectation is that children are interested in learning the appropriate use for items in their environment. By teaching the child how to drink from a cup without spilling, how to use a spoon, how to pour water from a pitcher, etc, etc, etc (and this includes modeling from the adult ie. you should be sitting down to eat dinner together whenever possible)...the child is learning how to accomplish these tasks, but more importantly, the child percieves the trust and confidence that the adult has in his or her abilities and then the child's sole ambition becomes to please the adult. When the adult offers the child the rules of the society, (teaches appropriate behavior, especially grace and courtesy) the child is assured that he or she can become a participating member. Ask your children to contribute in some way, while you are in the kitchen together and you will notice that the "behaviors" are many times a cry for attention. You can make it a challenge: can you carry this cup of water on a tray without spilling a drop??? Can you pour each family member a cup of water for dinner without spilling a drop??? Increase the challenge and the expectation, your children are watching you for guidance.
Gaialice, Please let us know how things are going for you and with the conference. You are not expected to know these things, parenting is often trial and error. You're heart is in the right place and you will find some solutions that work well for your family.
What I do with the children in my class who have behavior problems is to try to keep things on a positive note from the beginning of the day. It is called proactive discipline. If you can keep them challenged and busy contributing in some way, the "behaviors" melt away. We also do alot of role play concerning social interactions.

My sweetie and I have a lovely little lady 07/02 and 3 cats
Lillianna is offline  
#13 of 15 Old 03-06-2006, 06:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
gaialice's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,236
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
... with her teachers.
What they said was:
Positive that since the beginning of the school she has learnt a lot and participated in the activities rather satisfactorily. She has also made a lot of friends, she interacts well with her peers, in fact she really shows a lot of empathy for them if they cry or have any issue, she really tries to help them, even giving up her little sandwich from home at times (I found this really touching).
Negative The real problem is that she does not listen to the teachers much. She does not seem to pay much heed to the school's rules. Like, she is supposed to wear slippers in the class. She takes slippers off and leaves them wherever. Now I understand, if 16 kids do this it is not OK. At times, she really plain takes her clothes off and wanders off almost naked. Or, when they do an activity, many times she needs to do it twice over, not because she is not capable of doing it but simply because she does not listen to the teacher's explanations in the beginning. Once she does listen, then, she is capable of doing it very well. Or again when they are outside, she wanders off past the school courtyard fence.. Things like that. If they tell her this is not OK, she will not say no or get angry. She basically just ignores them.
Proposal What they have decided is that they will really enforce the rules (starting from the slippers in fact) one by one. In the slippers example, she will not be allowed in the class without them. After leaving her outside for a long time by herself to put slippers on if she still has not put slippers on they will put slippers on for her.
My feeling.... my feeling is this will not work... knowing her, she may just as well start playing with stuff which is outside the class rather than putting slippers on. Even if there is nothing to play with. She has a lot of imagination. If they eventually put slippers on her, she will take them off. She used to be very sweet in the beginning of the school year and mostly I could tell she did a lot of things just to please, because for her it did not matter much one way or the other. But since so many things have become an issue, she is into an all-out-rebellion and I am feeling more and more disconnected from her. And indeed so do the teachers. I really doubt a big battle of wills will lead us all very far...
On the other hand, I do not know what else the teachers can do. I truly feel discouraged.
gaialice is offline  
#14 of 15 Old 03-07-2006, 04:04 PM
 
zeldamomma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 2,226
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My first thought is to explain to her that if she can't follow the rules, she can't stay at school. Ask the teachers to call you if she isn't listening, and you can come pick her up and take her home. I wouldn't punish her when we got home, but I wouldn't go out of my way to make it a lot of fun for her either.

Not always listening the first time through an explanation seems age appropriate to me.

Another place you might get some feedback on her behavior could be your ped.

ZM
zeldamomma is offline  
#15 of 15 Old 03-09-2006, 08:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
gaialice's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,236
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thanks zeldamomma I actually work full time so it is not really feasible but I will ask the teacher to write a little note for me from school when issues arise there so that I can at least discuss them at home.
gaialice is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

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


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may 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