Help! Need resources for kids going to school... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 05-17-2011, 01:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My son is starting kindergarten this year, and I am very nervous.  In a perfect world I would send him to an alternative kind of school, or home school, but I just don't see that as an option right now.  Are there any good books out there on how to counteract the negative aspects of public school?  I want to know what steps I can take to reduce the amount of negative feelings he may experience.  He's a perfectionist and takes things very personally (a sensitive kid) and I don't want him to feel like a failure or be afraid to try if he gets things wrong.  But I also don't want him to be too competitive and think he is better than other kids if it comes easy to him, which it probably will.  I am hoping that we can make public schools work for us and avoid me needing to home school him.


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#2 of 9 Old 05-18-2011, 12:08 PM
 
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Honestly, if he's a perfectionist or sensitive or hyper-competitive, those are issues that you will deal with whether he is at public school, private school, an alternative school, or homeschooled. They are personality traits and behaviours that will show up no matter what situation he is in. Check out the Learning at Home forum and you will find lots of threads and posts about dealing with perfectionism, sensitivity and competitive behaviour. 

 

Instead of anticipating a lot of negativity at the public school, try to focus on being positive and confident about the benefits he will enjoy with this experience. Believe it or not, there are actually great things about attending public school. If you expect problems, he will definitely pick up on your anxiety. He may become fearful himself and not have the confidence to manage issues if they do arise. 

 

If you are concerned about certain issues, like dealing with perfectionism or highly sensitive children etc., then I think you will be able to find good resources to help you and hopefully someone can point you to some. I'd caution against approaching it as a "public school" problem though. Those issues require a holistic approach that encompasses school and home life and everything in between (extra-curriculars, social venues, playdates etc.) 

 

 

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#3 of 9 Old 05-18-2011, 08:05 PM
 
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Just what negative aspects of public school are you afraid of?

 

Are these aspects of the school that you yourself have experienced? What are the experiences of people that you know?

 

I think it's very easy to read alarmist articles about how 'bad' public schools are and get nervous. The reality is that the vast majority of public schools do a fine job of educating children and they have caring dedicated teachers.

 

I have two highly sensitive kids -- they've done really well in public school. They're exposed to diversity of children and ideas that I wouldn't be able to do if I homeschooled. They're still highly sensitive kids. They're still kind. They still follow our values. They're not obsessed with material goods or characters I object to. They're learning. They're exposed to new ideas. They LIKE school.

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#4 of 9 Old 05-19-2011, 07:34 AM
 
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Rather than looking for books, you might think about meeting your child's teacher, visiting the classroom, playing on the playground, making some connections with classmates, etc., if you haven't done so already. If your attitude is negative, you likely will have a negative experience.  If you are able to approach your decision to send your child with an open mind, your, and your child's experience may be positive.

 

Get involved in a positive way if you can.  Volunteering, offering to help with classroom projects or trips, or bringing in a special talent, are all ways to productively and positively become a partner with the school in your child's education.  I have been volunteering for many years, and I am left, each time, with enormous respect and gratitude for my children's teachers.  They are dedicated professionals.  I don't love everything about PS, but we've done crunchy, alternative, and we didn't love a lot about that either.  I have so often seen parents wringing their hands over PS, while their kids are actually having a great experience-I was one of those parents long ago, myself.

 

Hopefully all will go well for you and your ds.

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#5 of 9 Old 05-19-2011, 08:08 AM
 
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My daughter is also starting kindergarten in the fall.  I have been so nervous about it and she is super excited. She's sensitive, she gets her feelings hurt easily, she is still prone to crying.  She also has a physical issue that requires she use a walker sometimes and she can not run even on her best day.  I was worried she would be marginalized because of that.


Two things have helped a lot - meeting other parents with kids in our new school and being around other kids more.

 

The parents here love this school.  I've heard very few negative things (none I can think of right off).  The kids all seem to love school.  Everyone says good things about their various teachers (biggest complaint - too much homework).

 

We've spent a lot of time at the parks in our area and I've seen first hand that using a walker and not being able to run might make it sometimes a little harder for my daughter to keep up (five year olds don't walk, they RUN) but she keeps going.  She's included.  Kids want to play with her.  She is learning how to play with other kids her age (we were fairly isolated before we moved here) and negotiate social stuff without taking it too personally but most kids - even the ones that are kind of obnoxious - are still pretty nice to her.  I guess what I'm seeing is that all these kids go to school and they all have just as many quirks as she does and they get along just fine.

 

I plan to volunteer for everything that comes up and in this school, you can have lunch with your child anytime you want so I can do that.  I'm going to do PTO.  I just plan to be as involved as possible so at least I'll know what's going on.  It makes me feel better to know that I won't be totally cut off from what's going on with her.

 

As far as negative feelings - I understand wanting to make the path smooth but I think sometimes there are just going to be negative feelings and they need to learn to manage them, not avoid them.  I don't like it, but disappointment and frustration are part of life and my daughter is NOT good at managing those feelings yet and these are skills she needs. 

 

I have been freaking out about putting her in school for ages but the more I talk to other parents, the less worried I am.  I'm going to hate it and I hope I don't cry IN the classroom the first day I drop her off, but I am hoping it's something she'll enjoy.  She's certainly looking forward to it.

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#6 of 9 Old 05-19-2011, 10:02 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karne View Post

Rather than looking for books, you might think about meeting your child's teacher, visiting the classroom, playing on the playground, making some connections with classmates, etc., if you haven't done so already. If your attitude is negative, you likely will have a negative experience.  If you are able to approach your decision to send your child with an open mind, your, and your child's experience may be positive.

 

Get involved in a positive way if you can.  Volunteering, offering to help with classroom projects or trips, or bringing in a special talent, are all ways to productively and positively become a partner with the school in your child's education.  I have been volunteering for many years, and I am left, each time, with enormous respect and gratitude for my children's teachers.  They are dedicated professionals.  I don't love everything about PS, but we've done crunchy, alternative, and we didn't love a lot about that either.  I have so often seen parents wringing their hands over PS, while their kids are actually having a great experience-I was one of those parents long ago, myself.

 

Hopefully all will go well for you and your ds.


Yes to all of this! I was too tired last night to post coherently, but this was in the back of my mind to say. I WOH, so there are many things I can't do at school -- but I have stepped up to do what I can (overstepped last year and ended up president of the PTO! Thankfully I'm done with that now.) If you form personal connections with the teachers, the other parents and the students, your experience is much richer. I had an hour-long meeting yesterday with the principal and the TAG coordinator about my daughter's placement next year -- she's going to have some major intellectual needs, and they were really responsive.

 

Start by visiting. Start by visiting NOW if you can, before school is out for the year. It might help calm your fears.

 


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#7 of 9 Old 05-20-2011, 01:52 PM
 
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I just have to back up what every one else has said. I was very, very nervous about public school before my eldest started. All my fears were totally unfounded - we've had an excellent experience so far. I have another sensitive child who has had to adjust to kids who are mean, kids who bully, etc. He's making it through OK, and while he is still sweet and sensitive, he is much, much better at letting things just roll off his back. I think that is a good thing! And really? The teachers don't take a lot of crap from the bullies - every time we've complained about a situation that crossed the line, the teachers were right on top of it. Way different from my private religious school experience, where the bullies were sometimes even encouraged by the teachers. jshake.gif I guess my point is just that there are good schools and there are bad schools, and the bad schools aren't all public and the good schools aren't all private. :) Here's hoping for a positive experience for your child!

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#8 of 9 Old 05-21-2011, 10:10 AM
 
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I'm very picky, and a former teacher (public and private,) and I love my kids school. There's nothing to counteract. They've had great teachers (DS is in his second year of kindergarten and DD is in her first year of Pre-K) and both have lots of opportunities to play and be social.

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#9 of 9 Old 05-22-2011, 10:46 PM
 
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If your son's issues are coming from being very sensitive, that's something he's going to see no matter where he goes. Has be been going to preschool or any organized educational setting yet? If so, has that been an issue? I've taught a lot of kids with sensitivity issues and it's something that often evens itself out when the child is around other kids so much of the day. Do you know where the sensitivity comes out the most--is it with work he produces or with other kids? If it's social-based then the school might matter.

 

What public school issues are you worried about exactly?

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