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Old 01-19-2011, 06:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi!  I don't post often, I have infant twins that are running me ragged. :)  A little background, my older DS is 4, and very bright. We had him tested in November, he scored a 139 on the WPPSI.  He's currently in Montessori, ages 3-6.  I thought this would be good for him, because he has very asynchronistic development.  I figured he can work on the stuff he is behind on, and yet have the opportunity to work ahead in the areas he excels in.  He can read at a 3rd grade level, yet he can't draw a stick figure.  Typical gifted kid, LOL.  I also liked the idea that it was a mixed age classroom because he always gravitates towards older kids. (Actually adults mostly.) 

Anyways, none of this is going as I planned.

First of all, I had a long talk with his teacher last Friday.  She voiced some concerns, one of which is that she feels he has ADD.   I'll admit, it's crossed my mind from time to time, I don't really see him focus on one thing for very long.  He will read books, and catalogs for hours, and he will do legos, but a lot of times he starts things and doesn't finish them, which is what they are seeing at school.  He starts things but doesn't finish them.  I don't see him as an "ADHD" kid, because although he is active, I don't see signs of hyperactivity.  His teacher agrees on that point. I personally think that he just isn't interested in the work.  I'm not sure why, I would have loved it, but maybe that's part of my problem, I'm projecting.

 Also, he is reluctant to do work without a teacher present.  This is obviously a problem because he can't always have a teacher present.  The last thing is that he won't repeat works.  Montessori builds on simple ideas, so there are usually series of things, and you can't move on until you can show that you have mastered the previous step.  Well, stubborn DS won't repeat anything.  For example, for those of you familiar with Montessori, the golden beads.  He can do the golden bead exchange but he won't repeat it the 2 more times necessary to move on to golden bead addition.  His teacher said that she considered letting him just move on, but decided that it was important that he learn to pay attention to detail, because when he did it himself there were some steps he left out.  He obviously gets the concept, he just doesn't want to deal with the details.  I can definitely see the point of this, and agree that he needs to learn to pay attention to detail, I'm just not sure how to get him to do that.

The more pressing problem is that he's having problems with some other kids.  There are 2 3rd year boys that are best buds.  My DS wants in on their little group, but they want nothing to do with him because he's younger.  I get that, I really do.  All year I've heard about how they tell my DS to leave them alone, and that he's "only a first year."  I told DS to just find other friends.  There are 30 kids in his class, he doesn't need to be friends with them. Well, DS won't give it up.    All last week there were "altercations," and they were all my DS's fault.  He kicked them twice, and hit them.  He also shoved another little boy. :(   I had no idea until Friday, I don't know why no one told me sooner.  We had a nice 3 day weekend and DS wrote apology notes to everyone, and we talked about how it's never acceptable to hit or kick, or basically touch anyone else.  I told him if the other kids weren't being nice to him to walk away and if he wanted to he could tell a teacher.  I talked to his teacher about it, and she agreed that it's a matter of the older boys not accepting him, and she was going to talk to them.

This all makes me so sad because preschool is supposed to be fun, and DS isn't having fun.  Sometimes he talks about stuff he did at school that he liked, but it's always special projects.  He doesn't like the Montessori work.  He has said from the beginning that he doesn't want to go, and that he likes it "a little bit."  He says it's boring.  He says lots of things are boring, so part of me thinks it's his stock answer but part of me thinks that maybe Montessori just isn't for him.

I know in the end it's up to his teachers, his ped, and us to make a decision, I was just wondering what it looks like to other moms on the outside. Do I find another preschool?  See how the rest of the year plays out?  Am I over thinking all of this stuff?  If I need to find somewhere else for him next year, I need to get busy, places around here fill up fast. 


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Old 01-19-2011, 06:35 PM
 
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Our attempt at Montessori was a freaking disaster for my son who sounds similar to your son. I don't think Montessori per se was a disaster for him, but the teachers he had certainly were.

 

We ended up moving him to a traditional daycare program, and he is loving it, even as he "learns" the alphabet and numbers 1-10--even though he is reading fluently and doing division in his head.

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Old 01-19-2011, 06:41 PM
 
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Hi,

 

I currently have 3 kids in Montessori.  A lot of it depends on the individual and the school, not all Montessori schools are the same.

 

I would strongly encourage your child's teacher to let him go on to the next level of the golden beads. Often gifted kids will skip entire steps, and it take a really good teacher to observe and get that, and know what to skip.  If a child is able to focus on other tasks, and then skips certain tasks, a good teacher will know they are skipping it because it doesn't require a lot of concentration from the child, and they need to move on. 

 

And *observation* is a critical element of the whole process of Montessori.  The teacher observes the child, and sees what their M. O. is, so they can tell when they are engaged, struggling, etc. 

 

The trick is to find something for the child worth repeating. If you haven't already you may want to explain that gifted kids might do things differently, as well as faster.  He may not require all the steps, and the steps are there for the child, the child is not there for the materials, yk? 

 

Does the school go through elementary?  Are there other works that a child can do beyond primary?  Are the teachers trained/have access to the works at a primary level?  I suspect that his instructional level for math is probably nearer where his reading ability is... does that make sense? 

 

For us Montessori is the best thing we can find... but it is not perfect.  My oldest son last year had some difficulty finding work during his last year of lower elementary.  He wanted to read all day. Not in upper el he is much happier with new works and older peers.  Ours is a public school, so we may have a grade skip after next year to prevent that from happening again.  But right now he is happy.  And really for kids like that, is can go from bad to good or good to bad is 6 months time...

 

I love that the kids can go back and repeat things, but they can also go far ahead. I also love that there is a focus on practice, and that the kids learn to practice--and may be surprised at doing something again that they though was "easy" and not worth doing again.  So I would ask your son to pick something that is worth doing more then once, because sometimes we learn different things that way--like with a musical instrument. But not do it just because someone expects him to do it (or because someone says, "That's the Montessori way").

 

And talk to your son.  What does he want to practice? 

 

Also, there is a section of this board that is under Education> Learning at school > Montessori.  There are some professional montessori folks there who might be able to help you navigate the edu-speak. 


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Old 01-19-2011, 10:48 PM
 
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We did 2.5 years of Montessori.  The first two years were great, DD learned tons and enjoyed school.  The last half-year was a raging disaster, she didn't learn anything, and spent hours of her life sitting in the hall. Yes, for real, the hall.  The whole difference was the teacher.

 

I'm not sure what to say about repeating work.  Gifted kids can and do learn stuff faster, but I would agree with the teacher that there's value in doing the work well. But it's too bad she can't find a way to convince your son because if she could work him past his stubbornness he'd obviously be getting higher work faster.

 

The playground stuff -- I think the teachers should be handling that.  The "first year" vs "second year" attitude would bother me, and I would suspect the teachers aren't doing enough to merge the new kids in with the older ones.  Again, DD had a much better social experience last year, when the teacher was great about encouraging the kids to play together, and she had 3 or 4 kids she played with regularly and talked about all the time.  This year, she apparently didn't play with anybody and her teacher told us she was antisocial.


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Old 01-20-2011, 07:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the replies.  I think I need to talk to his teacher and see how we can help him at least get through the school year.  We have a gifted charter school that he tested into for next year.  I'm not really ready for my baby to go to kindergarten, he has a Nov birthday, but they thought he would excel when he was tested, so maybe I need to let go and see how he does. 

 

 

Thanks again!


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Old 01-20-2011, 09:22 AM
 
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Good luck with the new school! 

 

I agree that the "first year" thing doesn't sound like it belongs in a Montessori casa.  The teacher's should talk to the kids about that kind of language, and talk about how they are all part of a community-- one community. 

 

I would visit the charter school and really see how your son will respond so you can talk with the teachers before problems occur.  This has made a world of difference for us.  Our local gifted magnet has a good program, but they use candy and competition to motivate the kids.  Like "whoever gets to the door first gets to take down all the chairs!"  And that doesn't need to be reinforced with my kids, they are already competitive.  I like that now they are pushed to compete with themselves. 

 

Good luck and let us know how it goes!


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Old 01-24-2011, 06:45 AM
 
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 Sounds like you are on the right path. My gifted son would never have fit into a Montessori classroom. He hates perscribed methods of doing work and thrives on coming up with his own methods especially when it comes to numbers. Fortunately he has had teachers so far who have allowed him the freedom to explore different approaches (I am the one who has the hardest time because I love "rules" and sequential steps). We transferred preschools between age 3 and age 4 because the 4 yo preschool teacher was too rigid. He went to a child-led play-based nature preschool and LOVED it. He transitioned amazingly well to K but a lot had to do with his K teacher really "getting" him. Keep working with the teacher and do what you can to prep him for K next year at the charter. I found that spending time working on the social skills the last 6 months really paid off. Lots of practice introducing himself to new kids, learning how to join a group without over staying his welcome, how to respond to mean comments from other kids, how to stand up for other kids being left out or bullied, etc.


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Old 01-24-2011, 07:30 AM
 
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We've never done Montessori (never felt right for either of my kids) but the older boy issue seems troubling to me. My kids go to a private mixed age school (K-grade 12, and the all can end up on the play ground at the same time). Exclusionary play is not allowed. It's just not. If a child of any age approaches another child, they *must* be allowed to join in. The behavior of the older boys would have been corrected ages ago in my kids' school. It would have been considered bullying. If two children want to have a play date and not let others in, they need to do it OUTSIDE of school time.

 

I do not understand the value of a mixed age grouping if the older children (in this case who are barely older) are allowed to exclude the younger children. You put your child there because he gravitates toward older children, but the older children are allowed to tell him to "go away" because he's "just a first year."  It's no wonder your son is frustrated. And I really have a problem with the fact that these boys have been doing this all year, but it wasn't considered a problem until your little guy lost it. It's as if the policy is that exclusion is fine, as long as the other child has self control.

 

Nothing in your post jumps out as ADD to me. It sounds like once he has something basically figured out, he wants to move on. That just seems normal. When he wants to focus on something, he can.


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Old 01-24-2011, 07:46 AM
 
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Can't comment on anything but ADHD. There is a bit of misconception that the hyperactivity must be present for one to be considered ADHD. There are several types of ADHD. Both I and My DH are ADHD inatentive type. I am personally very good at hyperconcentrating on things I am interested in and can spend hours on end doing it, while you can not make me do things I am not interested in. I am not saying that you son is has ADHD but if shoulf not be dissmised only because he is not hyperactive.
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Old 01-26-2011, 03:14 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

We've never done Montessori (never felt right for either of my kids) but the older boy issue seems troubling to me. My kids go to a private mixed age school (K-grade 12, and the all can end up on the play ground at the same time). Exclusionary play is not allowed. It's just not. If a child of any age approaches another child, they *must* be allowed to join in. The behavior of the older boys would have been corrected ages ago in my kids' school. It would have been considered bullying. If two children want to have a play date and not let others in, they need to do it OUTSIDE of school time. 


Linda, I know I don't need to tell you this but your DD's school sounds like the COOLEST school on earth. I LOVE this policy (you may remember my thread about exclusionary play being encouraged at DS' current mixed-age preschool from last year; you chimed in with a comment about your daughters' last school which did not allow students being exclusive at the lunch table and I thought this was already pretty cool, too). School's a community. Playdate is for being exclusive. Wow.


MeDH DS1 10/06 DD 08/10 DS2 10/12with SB and
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Old 01-26-2011, 06:53 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerle View Post

Linda, I know I don't need to tell you this but your DD's school sounds like the COOLEST school on earth. I LOVE this policy (you may remember my thread about exclusionary play being encouraged at DS' current mixed-age preschool from last year; you chimed in with a comment about your daughters' last school which did not allow students being exclusive at the lunch table and I thought this was already pretty cool, too). School's a community. Playdate is for being exclusive. Wow.



I can't believe you remember that from last year! We've had really fantastic school experiences. Last year was a traditional public school. Years ago, they had a problem with children being single out and not allowed to sit anywhere during lunch, the other children would tell them that the empty seats were *saved*.  So they made it the policy that the kids couldn't *save* seats. It ended that problem. The principal was a GREAT guy who ate lunch in the cafeteria with the kids. He ate during the same time period as the sn class, and he sat with the most awkward of the sn kids and talked to them. He was really committed to lunch period being pleasant for the kids.

 

This year my kids are at a private alternative school, and the bar is even higher. The school prides itself on providing ways for kids of different ages to interact. When kids have trouble getting along, they work with them to resolve it. It's a funky mix of kids -- some have very alternative families, but others came after not fitting in elsewhere. There are a lot of 2E kids and some kids have been bullied elsewhere. They have a very low student teacher ratio, and lots of parent volunteers. But it still amazes how they work with the kids -- very gently, just talking to them, nothing is ever harsh, but the staff is just so clear on the fact that they have to be kind and polite to others at the school.

 


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Old 02-18-2011, 05:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just thought I would post an update, in case this helps anyone!

 

I had a chance to observe him at school 2 weeks ago.  I was there for an hour, 20 minutes of which he ate snack. :)   The rest of the time, he wandered around a lot, but he did pick "work" to do.  He would do it for a minute or two and put it back.  He looked a little sad the whole time which really broke my heart.  He was however sick, so I don't feel like I got the true picture of his school day.  He was really good though, he seemed uninterested in the fact I was there, he went about his business and didn't try to talk to me.  When I was leaving he got a little teary and I asked him what was wrong.  He said, "I just really don't want to be here today."  :(   So after I picked myself off of the floor, I asked his teacher if we could have a meeting to discuss the ADD business and the other concerns I had.

We ended up having a phone conversation with his head teacher on Friday.  I have to say, she is awesome.  She brought up a good point, that she thinks Henry is dealing with separation anxiety that isn't manifesting itself as crying at drop off or the other usual ways.  He is probably still adjusting to the twins being here too.  It was a huge shock to his system to be ousted as the king of the house.  She also had several suggestions for what we can do to help Henry like school more.  He has a lot of little quirks that relate to being gifted, and it makes it hard for him to make friends. I'm sure you all understand that!  He told us he was lonely at school a few times, and I know he mainly talks to the teachers. They had a student a lot like Henry 5 years ago, and his teacher still keeps in contact with him, he's now 11.  She is going to ask him to come in once a week to work with Henry.  (The older boy is homeschooled so this could definitely work.)  She is also going to talk to some of the older kids and tell them how Henry is feeling and ask them to work with him.  She did say that this older boy had the same problem with friends, and still to this day doesn't have a lot of friends his age.  I hope we can get over that with Henry, I would hate for him to grow up without that friendship.  I have the mom's number too, so I'll be calling her to pick her brain a little.

She also asked a lot of questions about his interests and wants to try to figure out how she can relate the materials to those.  She brought up his lack of focus again, but was very careful not to call it "ADD."  I think she realized that it wasn't her place to diagnose that. We are going to work on getting him to work independently, and I'm confident that as he matures, this will be less of a problem.  (I don't expect it to completely go away, I'm pretty scatterbrained myself.)

We are going to keep the lines of communication open and hopefully figure some things out to make at least the rest of this year better.  Ian and I decided if, in a few months, he's still saying he doesn't like it, we'll figure something out for next year.  We toured the charter school for kindergarten next year, and weren't impressed.  We also saw first hand what lack of funding looks like.   The other preschools around just won't be a good fit, either because of his food allergy situation, or the curriculum.  I'm still looking though, just in case I missed something.

So, I feel much better about the situation at this point.  I know it's only preschool, but I don't want him to get a bad taste in his mouth about school and always hate it.  That can lead to lots of problems down the road.  


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Old 02-18-2011, 06:37 PM
 
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As a pp mentioned, one doesn't have to hyperactive to be ADD; they can be ADD-Inattentive--it's something to keep in mind.

 

A lack of social reciprocity or pragmatics may be contributing to the social issues; therapy can help with that.


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Old 02-19-2011, 02:02 PM
 
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TBH, my DS sounds a bit like yours...the aimless wandering without being able to make up his mind what to do or where to join (he's in a play-based school), the exclusion from the older kids he'd love to play with, possibly an issue with pragmatics, some (in our case undirected, thus more worrisome) aggression (or maybe mis-interpreted sensory-seeking behaviour?), having to adjust to a new sibling (in your case, two at once!) - they're even all the same ages!

 

In our case, the aggression and the social difficulties have had us worried sufficiently to involve the local Children's psych unit. In our case, they feel DS does not sound at all like a case of AD/HD, but we are currently having him evaluated for possible Asperger's (just sharing - this is not to say at all that this might be true for you!)

 

My mom thinks it is all about being gifted, quirky, sensitive and rejected and that preschool teachers just don't get it. (You can imagine we've all got some issues left from my own childhood). It may be the whole truth; I  am sure it is at least part of the truth. I would keep pushing towards a more inclusionary policy, like Linda mentioned. I am still banging my head against that particular concrete wall, but you never know what may give us answers.

 

I am still sitting on that fence, completely unable to move in any direction and feel I have holes in my butt from the stakes.

 

This probably doesn't help, except to let you knwo that you are not alone!


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Old 02-20-2011, 08:57 AM
 
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I know you have a full plate with your babies, but is there the opportunity for your ds to have playdates with special friends outside of school?  I don't think I saw this mentioned in previous posts-sorry if you did.  Even if you couldn't host a playdate, perhaps you could ask another mom to have Henry over to play with a friend.  Being outside the school environment might facilitate connections.  When I read about the aggression toward the other children, it struck me as an act of frustration--a 4 y/o having reached the limit of how well he could cope with social exclusion.  It may be that he needs just one or two good connections, or perhaps some social skills work to help make those connections.

 

Our ps also has the "no exclusion" policy, and while it's not perfect, the kids all know it, and take it very seriously.  And, frankly, every child benefits from it during the elementary career, as far as I can see.  The older boy model is great.

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Old 02-28-2011, 08:54 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spedteacher30 View Post

Our attempt at Montessori was a freaking disaster for my son who sounds similar to your son. I don't think Montessori per se was a disaster for him, but the teachers he had certainly were.

 

We ended up moving him to a traditional daycare program, and he is loving it, even as he "learns" the alphabet and numbers 1-10--even though he is reading fluently and doing division in his head.


This exactly.  I don't think Montessori works for all kids.  My kiddo wanted to do advanced work and was totally frustrated by the way works had to be taught by teachers.  She was also excluded by other kids and regularly told that they "were not her friends".  The teacher was very hands off about the exclusions.  We moved her to a play-based program and she's much, much happier.

 


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