Let's watch our child's special talent in socio-emotional development - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 02-27-2012, 02:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is just a vent – I am not expecting to actually do anything about this. I just try to laugh about it because otherwise what can you do...

 

DS is having his first trial day in elementary school on Thursday so I asked his preschool teachers to fill in in the mandatory information leaflet about rising first graders (mandatory for them to provide, I do not actually need to show it to anybody). I am not expecting them to tell schools anything I couldn’t relay myself but I want their recommendation for early entry into first grade, which is a box to tick on the form.

 

They did their best to write something about “special interests and/or skills”, namely “in letters, story-telling/reporting, creativity”, whatever they mean by this – maybe it’s code for “he’s reading and writing but we don’t really want to talk about it”?

Then they could tick one or more areas they feel should be watched by the school because the child may show “special talents or a special need for support”. So they kindly inform elementary schools that the one area they feel needs watching is his “socio-emotional development”. Just like that, no further information given. (“Verbal development” and “cognitive development” were ignored).

I remember them complaining about that section at our last conference because they felt they could never safely tick a box since there wasn’t any space provided for an explanation whether it was an area of strengths or of deficits, so I informed them that there appeared to be a newer version with asterisks that referred to “please provide more information overleaf” (yes, I am anal enough to have researched this form beforehand) and kindly obliged with a printout a few days later. They used it but ignored the asterisks. Maybe it was too much to ask. Wonder what the schools will think. (DH said if they ask let’s just sell it to them as a “special talent” and to hell with what they think).

And just in case we were wondering by that time whether we had only been deluding ourselves that our child may have shown some talents justifying early entry in the first place, they ticked the box at the bottom “recommend early entry because...” and on the dotted line, wrote “cognitive development”.

That’s it for that form. So informative. I’d be kind of regretting my printer ink, if I hadn’t used my work printer.

 

The best explanation I can think of is that they just do not feel comfortable talking about cognitive strengths since it isn’t their field, developmental preschool being all about socio-emotional development. Or that there is no need to talk about or watch strengths altogether, after all a strength means that everything is hunky-dory, right? Let’s just point out deficits instead.

Or maybe our child doesn’t have strengths at all and is merely generally socio-emotionally screwed up. Or so the schools will think, I guess. I’d probably better get used to this preference for deficits with educators.


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#2 of 11 Old 02-29-2012, 06:35 AM
 
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Are you upset because the teachers identified an area that they see as needing to be watched, or is it just the lack of information they provided?  On the surface it seems that they identified early admission based on cognitive development, but indicated that social/emotional development bears watching.  I don't find that all that unusual, either from a child development perspective, or from the perspective of a teacher.  Perhaps more information would be shared verbally at some point?

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#3 of 11 Old 02-29-2012, 08:05 AM
 
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(DH said if they ask let’s just sell it to them as a “special talent” and to hell with what they think).

 

 

I would feel that way too and so might the school! 

 

They may look and see the "report" just as you saw and it might mean very little in the end to them.

Fill in the blank is just so dumb and many view it as that.

 

 

 

 

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Or that there is no need to talk about or watch strengths altogether, after all a strength means that everything is hunky-dory, right?  Let’s just point out deficits instead.

Or maybe our child doesn’t have strengths at all and is merely generally socio-emotionally screwed up. Or so the schools will think, I guess. I’d probably better get used to this preference for deficits with educators.

this seems to be a new social general rule and not just with education ---negative (being non-positive) first and foremost and never positive - what is "wrong" not what is right (good)


 

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#4 of 11 Old 02-29-2012, 12:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karne View Post

Are you upset because the teachers identified an area that they see as needing to be watched, or is it just the lack of information they provided?  On the surface it seems that they identified early admission based on cognitive development, but indicated that social/emotional development bears watching.  I don't find that all that unusual, either from a child development perspective, or from the perspective of a teacher.  Perhaps more information would be shared verbally at some point?


 

No, I am not upset about their identifying DS' socio-emotional development as an area that needs to be watched as such, because I happen to agree and we talked about that in our recent preschool conference. However, they had shared some very good information about it with us in said conference and we had reached what I felt was a very good consensus: that his lack of frustration tolerance and impulse control shows up mostly when he is being teased or feeling treated unfairly by others in the 3-6 classroom, that he is doing much better in the K pullout with the other (older by at least 6 months) kindergartners, that they feel he can work on this just as well in grade school if not better, and that deferring first grade for another year might not be helpful and potentially even harmful because the frustration from lack of intellectual challenge might be overwhelming.

 

And since they had complained about the lack of space for more information (like I said you can just tick the box for the developmental area, without specifying "strength" or "deficit") and I promised them to print out the newer version for them that asks for more information, I assumed they were going to share at least the salient points with the school. Nada. Other than his name and their signature, they wrote exactly 7 words on that form and ticked two boxes.

 

Also, the form explicitly talks about identifying both strengths and deficits. I feel they might have struck a little balance here, it's not like they aren't aware that there are strengths to identify.

Now it just looks to me like this huge red flag that may make the school wonder why they even recommend early entry for this somehow deficient child in the first place. Merely putting "cognitive development" next to the box "recommend early entry because" is rather thin to my understanding.

 

Of course I can tell the schools all of this myself. I would have just liked for the information to come from the preschool, but in a format I could then read and control. I am so annoyed I have not signed the confidentiality waivers which were part of the school package - if the school wants to talk to the preschool teachers about a problem I want to make sure they have to talk to me first.


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#5 of 11 Old 02-29-2012, 12:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

 

I would feel that way too and so might the school! 

 

They may look and see the "report" just as you saw and it might mean very little in the end to them.

Fill in the blank is just so dumb and many view it as that.

this seems to be a new social general rule and not just with education ---negative (being non-positive) first and foremost and never positive - what is "wrong" not what is right (good)


I sure hope they will look at the form and see it for what it is - deficient! And lazy. Actually, I want them to  mostly look at my child. If they feel they cannot accomodate him in the classroom based on how he behaves tomorrow, so be it.

I agree that dwelling on the negative seems to be a general trend, only with educators it is somehow more entrenched an dpotentially more harmful.
 

 


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#6 of 11 Old 02-29-2012, 01:23 PM
 
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I want them to  mostly look at my child. If they feel they cannot accomodate him in the classroom based on how he behaves tomorrow, so be it.

 

 

 

this is exactly what it should be!!  thumb.gif

 

you will know (at least one can hope!) ..........hope it's real and accurate and not just a "sugar~coated" response

 

good luck


 

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#7 of 11 Old 03-01-2012, 01:28 PM
 
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how did it go? any feedback yet?


 

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#8 of 11 Old 03-02-2012, 01:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well DS at least seemed very happy when I picked him up at lunchtime, told me that this was the school he wanted me to enrol him in and could he go back tomorrow? I laughed and told him that he knew very well that 1st grade starts in September and that he'd have to go back to preschool. He laughed, too, and said "yes I know, it was a joke!":).

He was part of one of two groups of 5 or 6 kindergartners who were put with the first grade classes for the day, taking part in art, reading, maths and recess. He told me that when the 1st graders did a reading exercise and the kindergartners were told they'd do something else because after all they couldn't read yet, he objected saying "yes I can!", was allowed to take part and proudly explained to me the problems he solved (luckily, he's not one to hide his abilities). I hope his report was accurate because I think that's one piece of information that's much better relayed by "show don't tell". While he was able to explain in detail the maths problems the 1st graders did after this, he said that for maths he took part in the easier activities the other kindergartners did (reading 4-digit numbers) so I guess being allowed to take part in reading wasn't just wishful thinking on his part.

When I handed over the forms package to the school secretary that morning (whom I happen to know from another context) I mumbled something about "and this reeeal informative rag from the preschool", the secretary rolled her eyes and said "just be glad they actually took the trouble to fill it in at all, not many of them do!"

 

And he impressed the principal with his manners when she happened to watch him try to wipe off the bench after he'd had to climb on it to reach the coat hook. When he noticed her watching, he explained about having to reach the coathook and worried about not having brought slippers. She said "don't worry many kids climb on the benches to reach the coathooks!" and reassured him about the slippers, then turned to me and said "- but none of them ever try to wipe the bench, that's really very well brought up!"

Don't know where he gets it from, he is not like that at home, LOL!

 

They impressed on us that they would give out no information whatsoever about the children's trial days until the scheduled conferences (13th Mar for us). A piece of good news, however: the principal told me that having full public recognition (this is the Catholic school) means that she can grant early entry without referring to the public elementary, which holds trial days only at the end of March, and that she's fine with kids entering early provided they are not born too far after the cutoff.

 

So if we decide to go with this school and they happen to have been favorably impressed with what DS did in the classroom as well, we'll just have to field the questions about his socio-emotional development which may or may not come up in the conference, and we might have this thing in the bag in less than two weeks.

*Temporarily exhale*


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#9 of 11 Old 03-02-2012, 04:36 AM
 
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Quote:
 "just be glad they actually took the trouble to fill it in at all, not many of them do!"

and all that stress!!

 

 

so glad the day went sooooooooooooooo well!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

 

Quote:
*Temporarily exhale*

KEEP DOING THAT


 

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#10 of 11 Old 03-02-2012, 04:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, I'll try!


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#11 of 11 Old 03-06-2012, 10:14 AM
 
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I understand the frustration of dealing with the preschool! I approached my DD's preschool to inquire about a required letter and/or form for admission to public or private school and they said, "Sorry, we don't do that anymore." 

DD has been in that preschool for 2 years and they are not willing to provide ANYTHING to me or a school in regards to her development or demonstrated abilities. If it had occurred to me earlier that we would be dealing with gifted education issues I would have chosen a different preschool....oh well! Now I'm leaning towards homeschooling in the fall so we we will see what happens...

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