Kindergarten issues....help!! - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-16-2011, 11:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok. 

My ds is 51/2 and didn't go to preschool. We had thought we would homeschool but we found a Montessori program we thought we'd try. My ds is loves it! I think the teacher doesn't "like" him! 

 

Ds has some add/ADHD signs but we work with him and are really doing our best to help him figure out school. But problems keep coming up!!

 

About 2 weeks into school I wrote an email to the teacher asking about him. He kept telling me about "Dan" not a real kid in class that kept getting in trouble. I knew that this boy was made up. Her response was yep he gets distracted, calls names, can't figure out what activity to do and goes potty several times a day. No where in the email was anything positive! I figured he was just finding his place/routine. 

 

The following week I was called in. She had a list of negatives. He was name calling, stole a snack, can't write his name, and didnt wear a jacket in 58 degree weather. Not huge things but asked if I had him tested for a diagnosis yet! (not her decision) I was in there for about 10 minutes and she can't find a single nice thing to say about him. All I have received from her is negatives! And nothing to out of the ordinary for a kindergartner! 

 

My issue is if she says negative things she probably thinks negatively about him! I want to scream! I want to write her another email, I just don't know what exactly it would be about! I want to know is this normal? Am I overreacting? 

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Old 10-17-2011, 03:35 PM
 
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Wow, that doesn't sound very supportive!  There are plenty of kids in my daughter's K class that need extra help behave differently than others.  All the kids get worksheets every day to practice writing their names.  For the behavior, they have a card system with rewards for good behavior, and reports/phone calls to parents for bahavior out of the norm.  They also have 2 aids in each K classroom to help with individual issues.

 

Have you gotten any daily behavior reports?  I would ask the teacher for daily reports and suggestions of things to work on at home. 

 

Best of luck.  He'll get more used to the school environment as time goes on. 



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Old 10-17-2011, 03:40 PM
 
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We had a second grade teacher who also could email me a list of all the things my child did wrong and could only come up with a lame "He's very bright" (well since you teach at a full time gifted program I would hope so) when pressed.

 

1. I saved every single email I ever got from her. I wanted to make sure that if I did ever have to take issues higher up with this teacher, I had a paper trail.

 

2. I specifically asked her to talk to me about if he was alone in these behaviors or was he one of many dealing with a common age appropriate issue.

 

3. I pointed out that focusing on the negative was not always helpful and could we talk about a few things he did well and succeeded at.

 

4. I asked her what positive reinforcement was happening in the classroom in order to work on some of these issues.

 

5. At one point towards the end of the year I point blank asked her in email "I have concerns in general about the tone of this email as well as past emails. It seems that you are "telling on" DS more than looking for solutions. Is there a personal issue with DS that we need to discuss further?"

 

 


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Old 10-17-2011, 09:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am glad to hear that this is not a normal relationship! 

 

I love the idea of asking for daily reports. I also feel like she is telling on him. Am I crazy? Is he not right for kindergarten? I feel like he is being picked on by the teacher!

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Old 10-18-2011, 08:21 AM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by crazylady View Post

My ds is 51/2 and didn't go to preschool.

 

Neither of my children went to preschool or care either. We don't have universal pre-k here so that isn't uncommon. If it is unusual for children not to have been in preschool or daycare in your area perhaps it impacts the teacher's expectations.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by crazylady View Post
About 2 weeks into school I wrote an email to the teacher asking about him. He kept telling me about "Dan" not a real kid in class that kept getting in trouble. I knew that this boy was made up. Her response was yep he gets distracted, calls names, can't figure out what activity to do and goes potty several times a day. No where in the email was anything positive! I figured he was just finding his place/routine.

 

The following week I was called in. She had a list of negatives. He was name calling, stole a snack, can't write his name, and didnt wear a jacket in 58 degree weather. Not huge things but asked if I had him tested for a diagnosis yet! (not her decision) I was in there for about 10 minutes and she can't find a single nice thing to say about him. All I have received from her is negatives! And nothing to out of the ordinary for a kindergartner!

 

My issue is if she says negative things she probably thinks negatively about him! I want to scream! I want to write her another email, I just don't know what exactly it would be about! I want to know is this normal? Am I overreacting?

 

Is this a public or private program? I don't know if this violates any laws, but schools usually have a policy against discussing students with parents other than their own. In anycase, I think anything beyond "it's unusual for these behaviors to be so frequent X weeks into the school year" isn't helpful or relevant.

 

I don't think another e-mail would help, also that e-mail shouldn't necessarily be used for complicated issues like this--I'd schedule a conference. I don't know if this is just a teacher issue, a teacher/school issue, or a teacher/program issue. Does the teacher seem out of step with the rest of the school? Is there another classroom teacher he could try? If ADHD is an issue, then this type of school may not work well for him--ADHD children tend to do better in more structured environments. There is also the 30% Rule to consider--ADHD children are generally about 30% less mature than a typical child their age.

 

 


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Old 10-18-2011, 09:27 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazylady View Post

I want to scream! I want to write her another email, I just don't know what exactly it would be about! I want to know is this normal? Am I overreacting? 


I think the communication with the teacher sounds unduly negative and perhaps rather ineffective. I agree with those who have suggested an in-person conference rather than more emails. Tone is so hard to read from emails. Personal contact makes it much easier to really understand each other.

 

Having said that, some of his "problem" behaviours sound trivial (not wanting to wear a jacket), but a couple do sound like bigger problems. Stealing a snack, calling kids names ... these demonstrate an impulsivity and lack of understanding of social mores that I would have found very troubling in one of my kids at age 5. I understand why these behaviours would be very problematic in the classroom -- because they directly impact the emotional safety of the classroom for other children.

 

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Old 10-18-2011, 09:40 AM
 
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I agree about a conference in person. Plus, start with a cheery "hello" and "let's start with the good." This will set the expectation that you expect to hear good things. If you have to stick with phone or email, it's ok to ask "can you give me some things that DS is doing well so I can help him differentiate between what he's doing right and what he's doing wrong?"

 

Teachers can get tired and a little burned out. Sometimes they just need a reminder that there is a real person on the receiving end of their rant. We had one that started out like that with DS. When I called him out on it, he was genuinely surprised that he'd come off so negative. He immediately went into a whole list of positives and reasons he liked my child. After that 1st meeting, I always got a balanced take on the situation.


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Old 10-18-2011, 11:26 AM
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It sounds like he is having a really hard time and it does seem out of the ordinary for a kindergartner. They should be starting to read some very basic books, and he cannot write his name or figure out what to do. Not to mention the social/behavioral stuff. It might be a good idea to speak to your pediatrician.

My oldest was similar academically at that age (wrote some letters in his name backwards or would forget one, couldn't read and seemed a little behind). I kept him home for an extra year and he did okay in 1st grade at 6.5, although he was diagnosed ADHD (inattentive). He has never had any social or behavioral problems but I wish I had been more on top of things early on because he is still behind in some subjects in 3rd grade. IMO not being able to write your name at 5.5 is a red flag for learning disorders. 

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Old 10-18-2011, 12:00 PM
 
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I agree, it does sound like he's having a hard time. But first, don't freak out about the suggestion about having him tested....if you decide to have any testing done, the earlier it's done, the better chance for help.  But putting that aside, it sounds very weird, that if your son had any problems in class, that the teacher didn't take the proactive step and call you.......I'm guessing that he's in a private school.........it should be a small class size and you are probably paying a fortune for it..........It may not be the right teacher or right school.  If you have some time, maybe observe him in his classroom (or as our school calls it, volunteer)....and maybe do the same for another teacher.......so you can see where you son falls in terms of how he compares to other kids.  The answer could be as simple as a new teacher...but that change is hard on kids too...........Talk to the principal or director and get their input as well. Good Luck!


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Old 10-21-2011, 11:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow!!! So didn't think that everyone was going to go this way! 

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Old 10-22-2011, 07:19 PM
 
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hug2.gif  Has he been assessed for ADD? It's possible that with an actual diagnosis, he could have a behavior plan and things could be better for him. One of my kids has special needs. Figuring out exactly what was going on with her was the first step to figure out how to make school work for her and how to help her be successful at school.

 

For me, it was tough. Owning up to the fact that DD was different in ways that have labels and require special meetings was difficult for me. We also found that our first choice, and then our second choice, weren't really the right learning environments for her. She's now in our 3rd choice and THRIVING. It's possible that the program he is in isn't the right one for him, even if it is a really lovely program for some kids.


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Old 10-22-2011, 08:57 PM
 
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Montessori seems to be a program for children who can self-regulate and kids who are in for the elementary years have often been in for preschool also so they have experience following the routines without wandering around.  Being used to students who know the routine then having to deal with a student who doesn't know the routine and who has some mild behavior problems is probably very frustrating for the teacher and it sounds like she is taking those frustrations out on your son in a very unprofessional way.  I think you should call her on this and remind her that he is five, needs to adjust to the program, and needs to receive positive feedback often also so he doesn't fall into a cycle of seeking negative feedback at school.  You should also back up her valid concerns at home by discussing them with your son.  IME, teachers don't contact the parent when the problem is little.  I would definitely have a conversation with my dd if she stole, was calling people names excessively, or was daydreaming too much. 

 

You may also want to ask the director of the program how long it takes for kids to adjust to Montessori and whether your son is just to old to make that adjustment.  Our local Montessori magnet program takes only about 10% of kids without prior Montessori experience (meaning preschool) because the adjustment isn't easy and they still have to score well on tests or risk being shut down so I have to wonder how long it really does take for a child to adjust.  Maybe there are things the director or the teacher can recommend that you do at home to help him adjust.  Talking about the routines, the activities, the rules, and your expectations for him may help him get used to the newness of the classroom faster.  Getting him tested for a bladder infection may also be a good idea if he is truly peeing an excessive amount. 

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Old 10-22-2011, 09:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The stealing incident was one fruit snack! Yes, it's not exactly the best behavior but not horrible. We did talk about it and that was it! The name calling was a class wide epidemic that was addressed in class. We also discussed it at home. He has also come home talking about some mean boys. They call him stupid and dumb. I don't know if it's true or not.

 

The program is through the local school system. This is it's first year for kindergarten. In talking with the other parents none have prior Montessori experience.

 

I totally feel blindsided! I really thought all comments would be more don't worry, keep your head up! I guess I'm going to really worry now!!

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Old 10-22-2011, 09:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Last summer we did have him evaluated. It came back with ADHD and possible aspergers. We kept him out of preschool and for a year he was fine. We were think the doctor was too quick to diagnose. But now after hearing from everyone I feel downdizzy.gif

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Old 10-23-2011, 12:05 AM
 
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I would ask for an in-person conference with the teacher, and have it without your son present so you can really focus on what the teacher is doing. Ask her directly: What are his strengths? What are his weaknesses? Why did she ask if you'd had him assessed? Then take the opportunity to present to her what he's like at home, the things he can do and the things he likes. Give her a full picture of your son.

 

I don't think everyone is saying "your son has a disorder", what I hear people saying is "don't rule out having him tested, because if you do, you may find better ways to help him adjust." Given the fact that there were some red flags for ADHD or Aspergers, it might not hurt to have a neuropsychological work up to find out how he learns, what his strengths and weaknesses are. I've got a child with very mild special needs (sensory issues, which affect his attention). We had him assessed at 5, and the therapy he got has made a difference. I'm actually thinking of going back to have him reassessed because he's got an increase in sensory behaviors, and he's headed to middle school next year. I'd like to make sure he's not in middle school dealing with a lot of issues.

 

Even if he doesn't have ADHD or Aspergers, reading about how to parent/help children with those disorders might help. There's a really good book called "Quirky Kids" that I like a lot. Aspergers is a spectrum disorder, and it's entirely possible to be 'quirky' but not on the autism spectrum. I suspect the same is true for ADHD, but I know less about that than I do about Aspergers. Our son is just outside the range of Aspergers, but he's got some of the characteristics (mostly due to his sensory issues). Some of the things that work with kids with Aspergers work with him. For example, I know that sometimes he needs more overt instruction about social issues than does his sister. I had to tell him: "When you don't wave to your friends, they think you don't like them." I've also had to give him some scripts to use in situations where he didn't know what to say. (It doesn't help that he's an introvert too.)


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Old 10-23-2011, 06:39 AM
 
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crazylady, it sounds like this is a tough time. I think everyone is trying to be helpful and there are a lot of folks who've been down the road a piece with regard to kids with ADHD or asperger's. Here's the tricky thing: we all want our kids to be great and function well. At the same time there are kids that are operating a bit differently. Those of us who have a child that we eventually came to understand as having something on the ADHD spectrum learned (some of us the hard way) that the child was behaving somewhat differently than other kids their same age.

 

There are lots of avenues to check out though and hopefully no one will pressure you right away to go toward medication. There are issues with diet that can help. There are issues with sensory processing and the way your child handles stimulation that you can check out--some kids can self-regulate better when they have help with sensory processing. There are lots of behavioral strategies. You also might want to check into whether your child is very bright, not just bright, as some gifted children operate along the ADHD spectrum.

 

I think the important thing is to keep your head up but also your eyes open, because if your child does need some different types of learning strategies you will want to avail him of everything that he deserves. It is hard to grapple with the idea that a child can have something that's different. Perhaps in a different environment he would do better. But the evaluation that you already had might also be important to listen to.


 
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