Talk to me about Kindergarten--Update post 24!! - Mothering Forums

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Old 11-07-2011, 08:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm having some issues with my DD's kindergarten curriculum and I'm not sure if its me and I just don't know what's going on anymore, or if her teacher is really expecting too much from kindergartners.

 

We get at least 3 sheets of homework every Monday to be returned on Friday. These include things like writing out word families (four sets of six per sheet), writing out numbers 1-100 and circling twos/fives/tens, rhyming words, cross word puzzles etc. We also have a reading log where we are supposed to read 36 pages a day and nearly 100 sight words we are supposed to drill a day.

 

This weeks homework is what I'm really struggling to understand. DD has to do research on bats and report about them. It is being called a research project and it really is. There are ten questions she has to answer in paragraph form. I'm pretty upset about this. I mean, shes a ^$&*ing kindergartner! She can't read, how is she supposed to answer questions in paragraph form??!! Or am I just overreacting?

 

Also, DD's teacher is claiming that DD's handwriting is illegible. Now, it really isn't very good, but she's five. She got some basic basic writing in preschool, but her current teacher has NEVER covered writing. They jumped straight into spelling/reading. There were no basics taught. Eighty percent of the time, they don't even use the typical lined tablet paper. The only place tablet paper is used is in their writing journals. Everything else is wide ruled notepads. So on top of the other homework we are supposed to do, we are also supposed to be drilling her daily on writing. 

 

 

So basically, is this your experience with kindergarten? Or is this asking too much of a kindergarten class? I don't really know what to think right now and any input would be appreciated!

 

 


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Old 11-07-2011, 09:01 PM
 
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Is this a public school? Charter? Or is it private? How long has the teacher been teaching and does she have experience teaching kindergarten?

 

Your post is eerily familiar to the problems I had when my older dd was in kindergarten. It was a nightmare and I regret not pulling her out and finding a new school. And b/c her kindergarten teacher pushed so much she ended up hating school. We're in a new school now and dd#2 is in kindergarten this year. Her kindergarten class is definitely more typical imo, and they never have homework. 

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Old 11-07-2011, 09:33 PM
 
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My kids K experiences weren't like that. They never had worksheet homework (they had a calendar of activities to choose from like "help make dinner" or "count all the windows in your house.") They did have a few worksheets during centers. In the beginning, the worksheets were more like "circle the pictures that start with B" or "draw lines to different pictures that rhyme." They did learn letter formation. By February, it was expected that kids could write in sentences using creative spelling and it seemed all kids could. They did have journals but in the beginning, it was largely pictures and dictated stories that slowly evolved into the children writing their own words (again, creative phonetic spelling was expected.) They did a lot of counting, early addition and subtraction using manipulatives. I seem to remember some number circling but I believe they were worksheet in which all the numbers were printed out for them. I know we were supposed to read 20 minutes a night which we did anyway. I know that site words were introduced but my kids had their own reading work and so not really sure how it was handled. I don't believe it involved nightly drilling though. Our K's are considered to have high standards in our area but they actually seem to have less "work" than other K's I've toured.

 

Based on what you said, does seem the teacher is off base. Have you had a conference with her? Have you looked to see how the state K standards line up with this teacher's standards? Is there more than one K teacher?


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Old 11-08-2011, 07:46 AM
 
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 Though dd's hw at the beginning of K seemed too much, it has tapered off since they have covered all the letters of the alphabet and numbers; initially it was a packet handed out on Monday, due on Friday, including several pages of writing out letters and numbers, and daily we were supposed to do a reading log, counting off their number chart (not writing), reviewing the alphabet off their chart, and reviewing the days of the week and months of the year. Though I made sure the packet got done and we read to her we did not do all that review every day.
 

Now it is down to writing a word to complete a sentence and drawing a picture, reading a short repetitive book, reviewing sight words (2-3 two and three letter words are introduced a week), and counting off the number chart.

 

When we went for the conference last month, her teacher seems satisfied with her progress in writing sentences (though I couldn't read it) and only asked that we work a bit on her writing letter pairs at home this month (Nn, Pp, etc.).

 

That said, my second grader isn't doing "research papers" yet, though the project you describe is one my niece did in second grade and her mom said that the projects displayed showed a lot of parent...input.

 

You may be able to get the curriculum off your school or district's website; what you are describing seem excessive.

 


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Old 11-08-2011, 09:15 AM
 
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DD is in a heavilly academic kindergarten this year.  Her nightly homework consists of: reading 2-3 pages in a reading book, reviewing 10-25 reading/sight words, making corrections to math/reading worksheets done in class (if needed), a worksheet of writing/tracing her own name, and another handwriting worksheet (cursive) tracing and writing a specific letter. 

 

We do the reading/sight words in the car.  Ther handwriting worksheets usually take her less than 10 minutes.  She's never had to write a paragraph, or much more than single words.  Occaisionally her reading worksheet will contain a sentence that she has to trace and then re-write on her own.  It sounds like your child is doing a lot of 'busy work'.  How long does the homework take each night?  My DD's teacher asked us to come and talk to her if the nightly homework consistenly exceeds 10-15 minutes. 



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Old 11-08-2011, 09:24 AM
 
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I don't have kids in kindergarten, but I do know our local KG teacher quite well. There is no homework in either kindy or 1st grade. None. Parents are very much encouraged to read nightly with their kids, but there is nothing assigned, no logs. 


Some writing (via invented spelling) is expected by the end of the year, but if a child isn't ready to try more than an occasional word to caption a drawing, that's fine. Some children are writing sentences, but that's not an expectation. 

 

The later start doesn't seem to hurt this K-12 school's academic achievement later on. Kids seem to graduate with good university-ready math and literacy skills. Even by 3rd or 4th grade achievement here seems similar to what I hear about from schools that have "highly academic kindergartens." 

 

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Old 11-08-2011, 09:44 AM
 
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Our kindergarten is nothing like that.

 

Right now, they do one letter and one number per day.  Along with other things, colors, shapes, calendars, etc.  They haven't even touched sight words.  And no homework.  Hell, my 4th grader rarely even has homework. 

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Old 11-08-2011, 10:50 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3xMama View Post

 

This weeks homework is what I'm really struggling to understand. DD has to do research on bats and report about them. It is being called a research project and it really is. There are ten questions she has to answer in paragraph form. I'm pretty upset about this. I mean, shes a ^$&*ing kindergartner! She can't read, how is she supposed to answer questions in paragraph form??!! Or am I just overreacting?

 


This is the part that stood out the most for me.  This is definatley not kinder work.  DS was in a gifted program, so working a minimum of one year ahead across the board and that was an assignment in 1st/2nd grade.  They did powerpoints and did a paragraph for each of about 10 topics of the animal they chose (so, like a paragraph on appearance, one on what they eat, one on habitat, on on natural enemies,...).  This was an ongoing project that they worked on in class and at home.  In kinder, the full day classes did single paragraphs as a multi-day project and the half-day kinder never did (individual kids did journal entries on their own--- so some would write paragraphs, others just a picture and a word or two).

 

The other things are harder to assess---- for example, the 36 pages of reading a day: in DS' kinder they had these horrible little books they were supposed to read several times a night (so more than 36 pages) but an entire page was never more than 5 words!

 

At this point in kinder I (more than 2 months) I would expect the vast majority of the children to be able to identify all of the letters and form them.  To be able to write all numbers 0-9 but not necessarily write them up to 30+.  Idenitfying only very basic rhyming words (mat, cat, sat NOT shoes, choose...).

 

In your position, my first action would be to get a copy of the curriculum framework./standards/etc... for both kinder and 1st grade and then compare their actual end of year standard to what is being taught.


 

 

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Old 11-08-2011, 11:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Is this a public school? Charter? Or is it private? How long has the teacher been teaching and does she have experience teaching kindergarten?

 

 


She attends a Montessori charter school. The teacher has been teaching 14yrs as a Montessori teacher within kindergarten and lower elementary. So technically, yes, she does have experience.

 



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Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post

 

Based on what you said, does seem the teacher is off base. Have you had a conference with her? Have you looked to see how the state K standards line up with this teacher's standards? Is there more than one K teacher?


We have had a parent/teacher conference at the typical time when all the parents do. That's actually when we started having concerns. We were told DD's writing was not legible, but she was never taught within the class how to correctly form letters nor does her teacher actually sit down and work with her on it. We also found out she's having issues concentrating because she's too busy watching what else is going on in the classroom, but the teacher will only remind her to stay on task once or twice a day (she attends a half day kindy, 3 hrs a day). Frankly, DD is five. There is a lot of other stuff going on in the classroom, and to my mind, of course she's going to be interested in watching what all the other kids are doing as opposed to busy work that she's going to be told to do over because its not legible! We were also told that she spends far too much time socializing, but again, you put a group of five yr olds together with a worksheet and leave them alone, how long are they actually going to stay on task?! (rant over)

 

Anyway, DH and I are going to put together an email to the teacher tonight outlying our concerns and requesting an opportunity to sit in and observe the class one afternoon next week. There are no other kindy teachers. So far the curriculum that we've seen and been able to compare to state standards is way beyond what's expected. 

 


 

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Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

I don't have kids in kindergarten, but I do know our local KG teacher quite well. There is no homework in either kindy or 1st grade. None. Parents are very much encouraged to read nightly with their kids, but there is nothing assigned, no logs. 


Some writing (via invented spelling) is expected by the end of the year, but if a child isn't ready to try more than an occasional word to caption a drawing, that's fine. Some children are writing sentences, but that's not an expectation. 

 


 

This is basically what I expected from kindergarten. This has not at all happened, not even within the first couple of weeks. 

 

Right now, if I were to do everything the teacher wanted us to do daily with DD, she could very easily be spending 2+ hours a DAY on homework. Reading 36 pgs a day is me reading to her. The other option is her reading for 15 minutes a day, but I'm hesitant to push that because she's already discouraged about writing and not getting all of the sight words by the time we hit reading. I don't want to discourage her even more, esp over reading since she loves to "read". I'd hate for books to be ruined for her. She has already stopped writing words out and asking me how to spell things. Which speaks volumes, now that I stop and realize that that has happened. 

 

 

Thank you all for your responses! I'm very glad to know that I'm not off base with what I expected kindergarten to be and what we are getting. We will be talking with her current teacher, I've already emailed her preschool teacher for input since she was a kindy teacher for many years, and we will be looking into other school options in the area. Thank you thank you thank you!!


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Old 11-08-2011, 12:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by TiredX2 View Post


This is the part that stood out the most for me.  This is definitely not kinder work.  DS was in a gifted program, so working a minimum of one year ahead across the board and that was an assignment in 1st/2nd grade.  They did powerpoints and did a paragraph for each of about 10 topics of the animal they chose (so, like a paragraph on appearance, one on what they eat, one on habitat, on on natural enemies,...).  This was an ongoing project that they worked on in class and at home.  In kinder, the full day classes did single paragraphs as a multi-day project and the half-day kinder never did (individual kids did journal entries on their own--- so some would write paragraphs, others just a picture and a word or two).

 

This is what I thought about the project as well. Good for older students. As it stands, I'm going to be the one doing all of it. How can she reseach when she can't read?! How can she write out a paragraph if she can't spell?! Where are the basics and why haven't they been taught?!

 

The other things are harder to assess---- for example, the 36 pages of reading a day: in DS' kinder they had these horrible little books they were supposed to read several times a night (so more than 36 pages) but an entire page was never more than 5 words!

 

At this point in kinder I (more than 2 months) I would expect the vast majority of the children to be able to identify all of the letters and form them.  To be able to write all numbers 0-9 but not necessarily write them up to 30+.  Idenitfying only very basic rhyming words (mat, cat, sat NOT shoes, choose...).

 

Yes yes yes! This is exactly what I expected DD to be doing!

 

In your position, my first action would be to get a copy of the curriculum framework./standards/etc... for both kinder and 1st grade and then compare their actual end of year standard to what is being taught.

 I will definately ask for a copy of her teacher's curriculum for the rest of the year so I can compare and contrast. Thanks for the suggestion!
 

 


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Old 11-08-2011, 01:13 PM
 
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She attends a Montessori charter school. The teacher has been teaching 14yrs as a Montessori teacher within kindergarten and lower elementary. So technically, yes, she does have experience.

 

 

 

 

Wow. Almost everything you have written is counter to my experience with and understanding of Montessori. The amount and kind of homework for the 3 to 6 age, classroom management, reading word drills, the approach to pre-writing tasks.....

 

On the homework issue, traditionally it isn't assigned until the elementary grades. Here's a fairly good summary explanation about the homework philosophy. (Although it ends with a list of various projects, most of them seem to be for elementary students). When you speak with the teacher, perhaps she can discuss her reasons for taking a different approach. 

 

On the writing issue - Does the classroom have pre-writing activities like sandpaper letters, the moveable alphabet, metal insets and pinpricking, as well as the practical life activities (metal polishing, tongs and beads, stitch cards, etc.) to develop and encourage fine motor control? If the teacher has concerns about your dd's abilities, has she been encouraging your dd to practice with these activities? 

 

It sounds like there's a lot to discuss with this teacher. It may help to list a few areas of concern on paper to guide your conversation. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Old 11-08-2011, 01:24 PM
 
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OP - what you decribe sounds way beyond what is normal for kindergarten. 


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Old 11-08-2011, 02:13 PM
 
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My kids are a montessori charter, too.  Ours doesn't have a K, since that is considered the last year of primary.  But we don't even have *any* homework. My 5th grader has some, but not every night. 

Our school states that the kids are so busy at school that they don't need homework, too. But they need to rest and play.

 

Did they send home a form with "4 square reasearch" ?  There are like 4 squares on a paper, with topic, and then 4 details?  My kids do this in 1st grade, and my younger daughter is in primary (so pre-K, but will be in the same class for K).  It is an AMI certified teacher, AMS certified school--- and *none of this seems to be particularly montessori or Kindergarten!*

 

Now I would ask if you can help you child--having her dictate the paragraph to you and you write it down?


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Old 11-08-2011, 02:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post

 

 

Wow. Almost everything you have written is counter to my experience with and understanding of Montessori. The amount and kind of homework for the 3 to 6 age, classroom management, reading word drills, the approach to pre-writing tasks.....

 

On the homework issue, traditionally it isn't assigned until the elementary grades. Here's a fairly good summary explanation about the homework philosophy. (Although it ends with a list of various projects, most of them seem to be for elementary students). When you speak with the teacher, perhaps she can discuss her reasons for taking a different approach. 

 

On the writing issue - Does the classroom have pre-writing activities like sandpaper letters, the moveable alphabet, metal insets and pinpricking, as well as the practical life activities (metal polishing, tongs and beads, stitch cards, etc.) to develop and encourage fine motor control? If the teacher has concerns about your dd's abilities, has she been encouraging your dd to practice with these activities? 

 

It sounds like there's a lot to discuss with this teacher. It may help to list a few areas of concern on paper to guide your conversation. 

 

 

 

 

 



Yeah, this isn't exactly going as I planned. We researched. We compared. We toured. We asked tons of questions. Our tour lasted over an hour longer than most simply because we had so many questions! One huge question was how  much homework. We were told it varied from teacher to teacher but in kindy, there was very rarely any...So this is very much counter to what I was expecting. Which is a huge part of why I'm so flummoxed. Not only is the curriculum beyond what kindergarten is supposed to be, but this is a Montessori school where things like this aren't supposed to be happening....

 

DD does have access to the moveable alphabet (which she loathes and I have no idea wtheck it is), sandpaper letter, and metal inserts. These are not used frequently though, from my understanding. Mostly she's doing paperwork and counting with the bead strings. When I spoke with her just now, she said those aren't used very often. And she's never really talked about any of them. For the most part all I hear about is journaling where she's writing. And that's what the teacher hit on during the parent teacher conference. DD isn't doing the journal fast enough and therefore she's not completing much else. From what I can tell, the teacher has done very little help DD along besides redirect her when she's being too social. DD said to me today that she has asked for help writing letters and was told no. I do realize that DD is five and what happened and what she perceived are probably two different things. But I still feel that there is a problem if DD perceives that she was told no when she asked for assistance.


 

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My kids are a montessori charter, too.  Ours doesn't have a K, since that is considered the last year of primary.  But we don't even have *any* homework. My 5th grader has some, but not every night. 

Our school states that the kids are so busy at school that they don't need homework, too. But they need to rest and play.

 

Did they send home a form with "4 square reasearch" ?  There are like 4 squares on a paper, with topic, and then 4 details?  My kids do this in 1st grade, and my younger daughter is in primary (so pre-K, but will be in the same class for K).  It is an AMI certified teacher, AMS certified school--- and *none of this seems to be particularly montessori or Kindergarten!*

 

Now I would ask if you can help you child--having her dictate the paragraph to you and you write it down?


I have never heard of a four square research. This research paper she's been assigned includes her choosing a variety of bat and answering ten essay style questions. These include things like "Where does your bat live. Describe its home." "What is echolocation?" Full sentences, capitalization and punctuation required. I will probably end up writing it out for her and having her trace over it. We were specifically told during her parent teacher conference that she is to be writing out any homework. We might need to help spell, but it should be in her handwriting. I don't know how you can require a child who can't read to properly write out sentences and paragraphs...

 

I'm very glad I started this thread! Not only do I now feel secure in thinking that her workload is inappropriate to Montessori and kindergarten, having all these issues written out in front of me makes me realize just how big of a problem this actually is. 

 

Thank you all again for responding!!

 


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Old 11-09-2011, 06:23 AM
 
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I have no experience with Montissori but my kids attend a regular PS in a "good" district. They did more then I like in K but not even close to what you are describing. I have a child in first grade and I just saw a class work assignment the other day about letter formations. They are still working on it in first. I can't imagine how a K could ignore something like that. Writing a paragraph research paper in K is insane IMO. Plus it's only Nov! In our K the idea is they should be starting to read on their own buy Dec. The books are VERY basic books. They read 1 short book a day. Maybe 5 pages to start. 36 pages a night is a lot of reading for a 5 year old even if the pages are short. They need time to develop stamina.  Writing in K in the beginning of the year looked a lot like drawing. They were encouraged to add a lot of details, tell about their pictures. Some times the teacher wrote it for them. Or they teacher would write part of the sentence and the child would fill in a word or to. I think it depended on the ability of the child. I would really consider pulling her out. That sounds over the top. Regular PS might be a much better fit for you all.  I hope you work it out! 

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Old 11-09-2011, 09:29 AM
 
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Yeah, this isn't exactly going as I planned. We researched. We compared. We toured. We asked tons of questions. Our tour lasted over an hour longer than most simply because we had so many questions! One huge question was how  much homework. We were told it varied from teacher to teacher but in kindy, there was very rarely any...So this is very much counter to what I was expecting. Which is a huge part of why I'm so flummoxed. Not only is the curriculum beyond what kindergarten is supposed to be, but this is a Montessori school where things like this aren't supposed to be happening....

 

DD does have access to the moveable alphabet (which she loathes and I have no idea wtheck it is), sandpaper letter, and metal inserts. These are not used frequently though, from my understanding. Mostly she's doing paperwork and counting with the bead strings. When I spoke with her just now, she said those aren't used very often. And she's never really talked about any of them. For the most part all I hear about is journaling where she's writing. And that's what the teacher hit on during the parent teacher conference. DD isn't doing the journal fast enough and therefore she's not completing much else. From what I can tell, the teacher has done very little help DD along besides redirect her when she's being too social. DD said to me today that she has asked for help writing letters and was told no. I do realize that DD is five and what happened and what she perceived are probably two different things. But I still feel that there is a problem if DD perceives that she was told no when she asked for assistance.


 

 

 

That is very frustrating. 

 

Aside from the unreasonable expectations of a 5 y.o., if the Montessori pre-writing and writing materials are available in the classroom, I don't understand why an experienced Montessori teacher is complaining about illegible handwriting but not promoting the activities and materials to improve the skill. There is a big disconnect there and it has to do with teaching skills, not pedagogical method. 

 

I'd ask for an opportunity to observe in the classroom. Probably other parents have similar concerns about the teacher's expectations, unless this a multi-age classroom or a class with a lot of older students due to red-shirting, late cut-off dates, or something else at work. I'd also meet with the teacher to discuss the homework expectations, as well as specific concerns about your dd such as reading and writing. One approach may be simply to decline the homework as assigned and explain to the teacher that you will do more appropriate activities with your dd - visit an outdoor education centre's display about bats or the natural museum or something similar. 

 

 

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Old 11-09-2011, 12:38 PM
 
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We didn't do a Montessori school, so I can't comment on that aspect of it.  But both of my children did attend a private school with a very academically oriented K program.  In fact, most of the students were 6 or close to it when they started.  But we knew going in that it was a demanding program that didn't accept students without an academic preschool or a year of their "Jr. K" program. 

 

They did have homework every night -- generally a page of practice math problems, some sort of exercise with their spelling words, and a book to read (a typical phonics reader sort of deal).  They did do several project over the year but they were mostly more "art" than "academics".  Things like collect 100 things and display them for the 100th day of school.  Build a robot (non-functioning) out of house-hold items and bring it in.  Make a poster board all about yourself, that sort of thing.

 

Toward the end of the year they did do their first "presentation board" where they collected pictures and were expected to write a one or two sentence caption for each to explain about an animal of their choice -- but that was the end of the year, not the beginning!

 

I'm wondering if the teacher's assumption is that her students have more preparation coming in than yours had?  We knew that our children would be expected to know basic reading and writing when they started -- but they told us that up front. 

 

I would definitely go back to the teacher and voice your concerns.  Ask lots of questions and listen to her answers.  If it sounds like what she expects really doesn't match with what you were told to expect, then speak with the principal/headmistress (or whomever is in charge) and ask them to explain the differences between what they said and what is really happening.

 

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Old 11-09-2011, 01:33 PM
 
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Parent here of a former Montessori student (three years) who is now in an academically oriented private school (for kindergarten).  I should note, as others in these forums have often noted, that not every Montessori is the same.  While in Montessori, DD never had homework (outside of the occassional project that parents could assist with) and they were not introduced to worksheets, etc.  Although DD was in preschool at the time, she was also in a group which consisted of kindergarten aged children.  The goal of her Montessori school was the development of the individual child at his/her own pace.  If the child was ready to explore letters, math, reading in the traditional sense, it was encouraged.  If not, the developmentally appropriate materials/work were offered to the child.  What you have described above, OP, is not my experience with Montessori.

 

In her present (non-Montessori) kindergarten, DD does have homework but it is minimal and more geared to solitifying the concepts learned during the day.  For instance, last night we worked on the word "it" and DD was wildly excited about learning the word, how to write it, how to spell it.  It was more or less a game for both of us, and one that we enjoyed.  For me, if it goes beyond the love of learning, then it is not meaningful.  I agree with the PPs that you should talk directly to the teacher.  I think communication is key.


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Old 11-16-2011, 08:03 AM
 
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I have a kindergartener in a 'good' public school this year He also has a great, experienced kindergarten teacher who is considered 'the best' among other parents. I don't have experience with Montessori but I can tell you what he has been working on.

 

in class:

He is working on learning to sound out words, identifying what sounds go with what letters, practicing his writing of numbers, words and letters. 

He is learning a lot of songs that help remember the sounds/how to write 

They are working on counting and writing out the numbers. He has learned to count to 100 by 1s, 5s, 10s. They are learning to write all the numbers up to 100 (they've reached 30)

They did do a unit on bats that my son absolutely loved. 

 

at home (as suggested by his teacher):

Read daily (no sheet to sign or specific requirement. It was presented as "I am sure you're doing this already")

Practice his sight words daily (again no specific time frame. He has two sheets of words that he is expected to know by June)

We've had three family homework projects this year so one a month. We do the project together and write a paragraph about our project. The last project I wrote the paragraph and he copied it. 

 

When we went to our parent-teacher conference his teacher said she tells them their writing is going to look like her writing or the child they're sitting next to. He has been sounding out words and writing them how he thinks they are written based on the sounds he hears. 

 

I am sorry your daughter and you are not having a good kindergarten experience. Have you talked to other parents from her class or school? How old are the other kindergarteners? I have a young kindergartener (he is a few weeks before the cut-off) and was worried about how he would do, especially because friends of ours in the same school decided to hold their son back another year. He loves kindergarten, he thrives on the full day much better than the 2.5 hour pre-k. 

 

Basically I think the expectation your daughter's kindergarten teacher has are unrealistic. I would definitely bring up your concerns and see what can be done. Kindergarten should be fun and encourage a love of learning. Good luck finding a solution that works for you and your daughter. 


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Old 11-16-2011, 05:37 PM
 
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Whoa... like the pps I find that pretty crazy for kindergarten!

 

A project like what you describe is something I might expect dd to get this year (2nd grade) but she hasn't had any homework quite that involved yet (homework every night, but so far just worksheet stuff.. no bigger projects).  In kindy she had NO homework. 

 

Anyway, just wanted to add my voice to the others - confirming what you already know!

 

Please update when you get a chance!  I'm curious to hear what the teacher (and/or principal) has to say when you talk to them.


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Old 11-17-2011, 12:58 AM
 
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what are the other kids parents saying? or are they just accepting it? 

 

that's absolutely crazy for a K child. research yes but not write paragraphs. sheesh. 

 

also many children really don't have very legible perfect hand writing in K. it blows my mind that they don't use writing paper. in K dd had a fair amount of writing but NEVER on double lined paper. i don't think she even had access to usual lined paper in K. 

 

and this is a MONTESSORI. woah. is it charter? it sounds ilke nothing like the ones in our city. in fact that is the opposite reason kids go to our montessori school. no hw or little hw and lots of parent involvement so the ones who do need help get it. 


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Old 11-17-2011, 07:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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meemee-Yes it is a charter school. I've not actually been able to talk with many parents about the class or teacher. We have a carline at pick up and drop off and its a nightmare to try and get in touch with people. I don't know anyone personally who has kids there. I've been waiting for two months for the darn school directory and nada. But the reviews I've managed to find online about the school seems to reflect my feelings until the upper elementary years. That's possibly inconsistencies within the teacher more than anything, but I don't want to wait until my kid is in upper elementary to find that out, kwim?

 

I have emailed the teacher with all of our concerns and am awaiting her reply (I had sick kids this week so it got a little delayed). So here's hoping I have some more information and a better update in a few days at the most!!


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Old 11-18-2011, 02:16 AM
 
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I agree.  I think Maria M. would not be happy to have her name associated with that KG!

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Wow. Almost everything you have written is counter to my experience with and understanding of Montessori. .....

 

My children's KG was not as play-focused as I liked, but homework (which was minimal) was always optional.  I never made DD do it.  Your KG sounds like she has more homework than my 4th grader!

 

 


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Old 11-19-2011, 09:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I met with DD's teacher today. I sent her an email yesterday and she requested I come in to talk today. I'm not entirely certain how I feel. I'm still processing a lot of it and right now the only thing I'm certain of is that the teacher and I are not on the same page. 

 

Regarding homework she said that homework is not mandatory. Which was never ever mentioned before-and I would remember if it had been because it would've shocked me so much to hear! Apparently, as the parent, it is up to me to determine how much homework DD does. She was "shocked" at how much time was spent on it. Which I'm a little lost on, how can you send home the amt of homework she does, add on top of it what she recommended that DD do to improve her reading and writing and then be surprised its taking so long? So the way I see it, she basically took the blame off of herself for giving it out and put it on me for making DD do it. When I mentioned the research paper, she said we shouldn't have had to look anything up, the they'd been talking about bats in class. So we should've just been asking DD a question a night and have her write out the answer. And since DD now hates writing and gets very upset very quickly over it, we shouldn't force her to write, it'll just happen. Then why the teacher was complaining about how poor her writing was, I don't know. 

 

I heard a lot about how Montessori gives students plenty of room to grow. She talked on and on about some kids who were reading at the second grade level and doing addition and subtraction and how wrong it would be to hold them back because it "isn't kindergarten work" but never anything about how the students who are behind are helped. Nor did she ever give me a chance to get a word in edgewise. 

 

She told me that she felt our parent/teacher conference was very positive and discussed only DD's progress in school so she was very surprised I had so many concerns. I couldn't disagree more! Aside from a quick overview of how DD is doing fine in math, everything she talked about the whole fifteen minutes (exactly as we were shooed out the door once our 15 was up) was about what DD needed to do to catch up in class. (That one surprised me so much I think I literally stopped with my mouth open and was unable to come up with anything to say about it.)

 

She skirted over the socializing issue entirely by saying she expects talking because she wants them to be having fun and steered the conversation in a different direction. 

 

One huge concern of mine was that DD perceived that the teacher had refused to help her with her writing. Now, I'm sure this is just a misunderstanding. I even said that, both in the email and multiple times in person. However, the teacher got defensive with me and claimed that she doesn't know where a situation like that would've even come up and that she's not going to go back and forth with me on it--even though I'm agreeing with her that that was probably what happened! I just wanted to know if she had any ideas for a solution because there is only so much I can do from my end. In the end she grudgingly said she and the asst. teacher would make a special effort to offer help to DD but said she had no idea what else could be done.

 

The entire conference, I never saw her smile. But she proclaimed herself to be a very positive person and said she wasn't sure what she could do to make me more positive about the situation.

 

I can't tell you the number of times she said to me "I don't think you understand how school works". She never really clarified for me what I wasn't understanding or how it did work. 

 

She even asked why we were sending DD to school. If it was for the academic reasons or social because she's had parents send their kids in for social reasons only and were not at all concerned about how their kids did academically. She said she's not all that concerned about assessments or how kids are doing academically as long as they are progressing.

 

So in our parent/teacher conference she said that DD needed to be doing more daily in school and not socializing so much, her writing needed extra help and we needed to push reading. Now its she's showing progress which is all that matters, if she doesn't like writing she doens't have to, she should be socializing and why am I pushing for her to be doing so much outside of school. Is anyone else confused by this??

 

In the end, I left feeling chastised for having concerns and wanting to talk with her about them. I'm really not pleased about the way the conference went. I don't think I should be treated like the bad guy because I asked some questions or was making DD do so much work outside of school! Work the teacher send home or recommended DD be doing daily!! DH just nodded when I talked with him about it and said ok, time to get DD into a different school. So I guess that would be what we are doing. I really hope its the right move for her.

 

Thank you all again for your responses! I really appreciate all the help you've given me!


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Old 11-19-2011, 09:55 AM
 
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Ouch!  My dd13 had a similar rigid teacher who gave tons of drill in 1st grade.  Her teacher wasn't insinuating that dd was behind academically, which honestly I have a hard time with that assertion this early in school anyway, but the effect on dd's love of learning was very similar.  My dd was a mess -- crying, working at the pace of a snail, anxious, and hated reading b/c they had to read the same books over and over to improve their reading.  This is a kiddo who has loved books so much from the time she was a baby that she twirled her feet and hands in circles and made an "O" with her mouth when I read and cried when I stopped.

 

I would whole heartedly support you getting your dd out of there as soon as you can.  In our instance, I wish that I hadn't waited so long to take dd out.  We got through nearly 3/4 of the school year before I called it quits and homeschooled the end of the year.  Dd is now in high school and she still holds a grudge against that teacher and mentions how much she hated that year if 1st grade comes up.

 

Have you started looking @ other options? 

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Old 11-19-2011, 10:20 AM
 
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Wow-- very unprofessional.  She NEVER should have brought up what other children in the classroom are doing (2nd grade work) because that is completely irrelevant to your situation and your daughter.  What anyone else does in the classroom should be left out of the conversation completely!

 

I can't imagine anyone not feeling defensive when she asked why you wanted DD in school?  What a strange thing to say.

 

Basically, it sounds like she is blaming you and your daughter.  Honestly, even though I get very irritated with my own kids sometimes, at the end of the day, however they act is not their fault.  It's either my fault, developmental, or their personality.  In school, your daughter is HER responsibility.  It is HER job to help her succeed. 

 

Glad your DH sees the problem and you will be moving her.  Is there another classroom, maybe?  Perhaps it's just this one bad teacher?  Sadly, every school has their bad teachers, just like any office/workplace. 

 

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I can't tell you the number of times she said to me "I don't think you understand how school works". She never really clarified for me what I wasn't understanding or how it did work. 

 

She even asked why we were sending DD to school. If it was for the academic reasons or social because she's had parents send their kids in for social reasons only and were not at all concerned about how their kids did academically. She said she's not all that concerned about assessments or how kids are doing academically as long as they are progressing.

 

So in our parent/teacher conference she said that DD needed to be doing more daily in school and not socializing so much, her writing needed extra help and we needed to push reading. Now its she's showing progress which is all that matters, if she doesn't like writing she doens't have to, she should be socializing and why am I pushing for her to be doing so much outside of school. Is anyone else confused by this??

 

In the end, I left feeling chastised for having concerns and wanting to talk with her about them. I'm really not pleased about the way the conference went. I don't think I should be treated like the bad guy because I asked some questions or was making DD do so much work outside of school! Work the teacher send home or recommended DD be doing daily!! DH just nodded when I talked with him about it and said ok, time to get DD into a different school. So I guess that would be what we are doing. I really hope its the right move for her.

 

Thank you all again for your responses! I really appreciate all the help you've given me!



 


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Old 11-19-2011, 01:54 PM
 
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Wow-- very unprofessional.  She NEVER should have brought up what other children in the classroom are doing (2nd grade work) because that is completely irrelevant to your situation and your daughter.  


I'll be the first to admit that I'm very new to being a school-parent and don't yet have an intimate handle on the culture of school. I also think that where I live (in Canada) education isn't viewed in nearly the same competitive light as it is in the US. But ...

 

I would not have thought a comment that there are children in the classroom working ahead of the curriculum to be unprofessional. I think that classmates are part of each others' educational environment, and they influence the teacher's resources of time, attention and energy. So I wouldn't say that other children's educational trajectory are completely irrelevant. The comment may have been offered up in an uncharitable and unhelpful manner, but I don't think it's necessarily either unprofessional or irrelevant. 

 

I'm currently considering having a conversation with the teacher my youngest child would likely have if she entered the school system (she's still homeschooled at this point). And personally I would really want to hear what limitations the class make-up would place on her ability to accommodate my child. I'd want to know generalities like "I've got a number of kids at the younger end who are a year or more below grade level in some of the core areas, and I have three older kids who are really pushing me to find more challenge for them. It's a vast range -- maybe four grade levels. I'd be really hard-pressed to provide a ton of individualization for your dd. You'd need to provide a fair bit of support for her yourself, I think." I'd want to know that, whether I was considering placing my kid in that class, or had already done so and discovered she was having some problems of fit.

 

Miranda

 

 


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Old 11-19-2011, 05:51 PM
 
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I used to be a teacher and it was always considered to be unprofessional to discuss other students.  I am not saying other teachers don't-- it shocks me sometimes-- but it is unprofessional.  As teachers, we should only be looking at the individual child-- never comparing to the class.  Nothing good comes of it.

 

I understand your concerns about your daughter, but her potential classmates should have nothing to do with the resources offered.  You need to know nothing about everyone else's level.  All you need to know is what will be done for YOUR child.  Both of my older children are in school now, and they are both getting special accommodations to serve their needs.  If my child is working x years above grade level, it doesn't matter where anyone else is in the class, because they are working with my child.  Maybe another child is x+ 1 years ahead-- again, it's irrelevant to what they will do for my child . . .if it's a good school.  In any school, variation and differentiation is expected, but in Montessori, this idea is at the core of Montessori's theory-- it almost doesn't even make sense to bring it up.

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I would not have thought a comment that there are children in the classroom working ahead of the curriculum to be unprofessional. I think that classmates are part of each others' educational environment, and they influence the teacher's resources of time, attention and energy. So I wouldn't say that other children's educational trajectory are completely irrelevant. The comment may have been offered up in an uncharitable and unhelpful manner, but I don't think it's necessarily either unprofessional or irrelevant. 

 

I'm currently considering having a conversation with the teacher my youngest child would likely have if she entered the school system (she's still homeschooled at this point). And personally I would really want to hear what limitations the class make-up would place on her ability to accommodate my child. I'd want to know generalities like "I've got a number of kids at the younger end who are a year or more below grade level in some of the core areas, and I have three older kids who are really pushing me to find more challenge for them. It's a vast range -- maybe four grade levels. I'd be really hard-pressed to provide a ton of individualization for your dd. You'd need to provide a fair bit of support for her yourself, I think." I'd want to know that, whether I was considering placing my kid in that class, or had already done so and discovered she was having some problems of fit.

 

Miranda

 

 



 


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Old 11-19-2011, 06:29 PM
 
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I understand your concerns about your daughter, but her potential classmates should have nothing to do with the resources offered.  


Well, my main reason for enrolling my kid in school would be to give her a community of fellow learners, not to give her resources -- though she would also require some individualization, especially with the physical component of the program. So I am interested in the make-up of the classroom in terms of how the other kids would work as a community for her. If there's another cluster of children at my dd's level, she'll get intellectually meaningful group project experience. That's what I'm saying -- classmates are part of the child's learning environment and learning "resources" in a manner of speaking.

 

But anyway, my situation is obviously a tangent that's not relevant to the OPs concerns.

 

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Old 11-19-2011, 06:54 PM
 
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I put my DD back in school for the sense of community, but did not count on it as a community of fellow learners, if that makes sense.  She is really enjoying what this community is offering and she is making her own challenges.  She is developing more friends-- she appreciates them and they appreciate her.  Do they discuss things on a high academic level?  No, but that's OK . . .her teachers are role models for her, as are other people in her life.  I know my DD admires many things about her friends and is learning from them . . .though again, not necessarily academics.

 

As for the resources, the school can let you know, without having to divulge the background of the other students, whether or not these will be needed.  I also did not enroll my DD back in school FOR the resources, but since she is there, she needs them . . .otherwise, there would not be enough individualization for her.

 

Personally, I would be uncomfortable knowing that any parent had access to my DD's level in subjects (you say you want general info, but parents would probably guess who is who) in order to decide whether or not their own child fit in with mine, but like you said, I am from the US, and perhaps things are different here.

 

PS-- OP, I apologize for side-tracking this thread and won't keep doing so!

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Well, my main reason for enrolling my kid in school would be to give her a community of fellow learners, not to give her resources -- though she would also require some individualization, especially with the physical component of the program. So I am interested in the make-up of the classroom in terms of how the other kids would work as a community for her. If there's another cluster of children at my dd's level, she'll get intellectually meaningful group project experience. That's what I'm saying -- classmates are part of the child's learning environment and learning "resources" in a manner of speaking.

 

But anyway, my situation is obviously a tangent that's not relevant to the OPs concerns.

 

Miranda



 


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