Teacher called ds a 'bad writer'/When to pull your kid out of preschool? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 18 Old 02-26-2013, 08:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My 3.5 year old son started preschool this month (twice a week, 3 hours at a time). I just dropped him off for his 7th class. The first few times he was over the moon to go to school-- no separation anxiety at all; in fact he would literally ask us to leave. The last 3 classes he's been telling us that he doesn't want to go. Today, he freaked out at the door of the school and was nearly crying.

 

Although he is very verbal, I can't really understand what happened to make him dislike school. He has mentioned that he misses us, and once he told us that he was pushed during clean up time. After today, I spoke with the director who mentioned that he doesn't seem to like the 'work' aspect of school (cleaning up etc). That being said, when ever I peek in at him during school, I've never seen him look happy or excited.

 

I am biased-- I hated daycare as a child, and it just breaks my heart to send him if he doesn't want to go. I just don't know if I can trust my instincts on this-- Should I pull him out of school?


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#2 of 18 Old 02-26-2013, 08:18 PM
 
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It takes a long time for children going twice a week to have a smooth drop off ime and initially loving the newness then hating the seperation when it happens is very normal. Having a drop off routine and only saying goodbye when you mean it makes a big difference. The children with the hardest dropoffs in my classroom are the ones with parents who say goodbye many times and the ones with parents who are reluctant to leave until they convince their child to appear happy so they can feel better about leaving (which has never worked). Those children cry the children who's parents have a routine (1 minute or 30) say goodbye and go play except on rare occasions.

If preschool isn't what you want though I would suggest pulling out. See if you can find a Playgroup or community event to do instead. Six hours of preschool a week is really not much so it isn't going to be a big loss for him if he no longer goes.
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#3 of 18 Old 02-27-2013, 06:02 AM
 
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I have to agree. 6 hours a week almost seems pointless to me. Maybe find someone to come in for those few hours if you need? 

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#4 of 18 Old 02-27-2013, 08:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the replies you guys! I'm at home currently, so we wouldn't need to find alternate care if we pulled him out. Right now 2-3 days a week is all we can afford to put him in for.

 

I think I got to the bottom of why he doesn't want to go. Last night, DS was saying that his teacher called him a bad writer. He said it repeatedly, and he's been calling himself a bad writer for the past week or so (which coincides with when he started not wanting to go to school.) When he started complaining about it last week, we asked the teacher to not push the pencil issue; but I guess that didn't happen. How would you handle this with the teacher?


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#5 of 18 Old 02-27-2013, 10:31 AM
 
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I would pick one of the two depending on my mood:

1. Just pull him. This doesn't seem like a good environment and could cause school anxiety in the years to come. I would consider riding out the amount paid explaining that we finish what we start but we will look for an alternative.

2. Make a meeting with the instructor and either a follow up meeting with the director or with both at the same time. Making a list of what the issues are, what the impact is, and the potential problem in the future. (Including school fear, poor self esteem, inappropriate expectations, hatred of writing, so on) I would also be clear what expectations you have for the school, instructor, and your son. I would ask if the school and instructor were capable of meeting those expectations.

I'm sorry I can't be more helpful.

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#6 of 18 Old 02-27-2013, 11:00 AM
 
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Maybe the program isn't the right fit (although I've seen many of my two sons' preschool classmates go through a short rough patch a few weeks after a seemingly smooth start).

I wonder if there is a program in your area more centered around play? I know that your post was about an issue far deeper than writing anxiety but I'm going to pick up on it to illustrate my point. My ODS was very resistant to writing at home and at school until just before his fifth birthday. I didn't press the issue and at home and at school he was provided with all sorts of opportunities to hone the skills he'd eventually use for writing (sensory tables, playdough, art projects for finely or skills, games, songs and stories for alphabet recognition and phonics, etc.). His writing skills exploded when he turned five and he's constantly writing stories, using inventive spelling, really just craving chances to practice his skills... It all seemed very sudden but the groundwork had absolutely in development for years prior.

The thing about a good play-based program is that there will likely be space for the more precocious kids to work on their writing while those who need to follow a different path will be allowed to do so. No one gets left behind, it's all about children, with the help of the adults around them, seeking out what they need at a given point in time.

Our school is a co-op preschool where parents volunteer in the classroom on a rotating basis and we are encouraged to stay for the first 15 minutes or so of the opening circle time, which in my family makes for a gentler goodbye than dropping at the door.

As for the the schedule you mentioned, I think that seems ideal for a three year old. He'll have the opportunity to interact with the same core group of teachers and classmates on a consistent basis (unlike say a library story time) if you're an at home mom I'd bet that you'd like to be with him much of the time.
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#7 of 18 Old 02-27-2013, 12:26 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by texmati View Post

Thanks for the replies you guys! I'm at home currently, so we wouldn't need to find alternate care if we pulled him out. Right now 2-3 days a week is all we can afford to put him in for.

 

I think I got to the bottom of why he doesn't want to go. Last night, DS was saying that his teacher called him a bad writer. He said it repeatedly, and he's been calling himself a bad writer for the past week or so (which coincides with when he started not wanting to go to school.) When he started complaining about it last week, we asked the teacher to not push the pencil issue; but I guess that didn't happen. How would you handle this with the teacher?

 

I'd be really unsure about this particular program.

 

It's not age appropriate to expect to teach three year-olds to write at all.  Most kids that age don't write.  They simply don't have the fine motor skills.  Some will learn to write before kindergarten, some not until then, some after.  It's fine for a preschool to encourage drawing, coloring, crafts and artistic expression, but at this stage, they should be really chill about individual children's varying skill levels with writing implements. 

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#8 of 18 Old 02-27-2013, 03:37 PM
 
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I recommend scheduling a meeting with the teacher ASAP and finding out, from her point of view, what is happening. I recommend not taking the word of a 3 year old for what is happening. I work with kindergarteners, and little kids sometimes missunderstand things.  I would say exactly what he said, and ask her what her expectations are of him. 

 

I'm not big on 3 year olds writing. Heck, I don't think a lot of Kindergartens are ready for it, but I suspect that you don't know the whole story. I would want to find out the rest of the story before making any judgments about the situation. Although if this is really not a good situation for him, he's better off if you pull him out, if this can be a good situation, then he's better off if you figure out a way through it rather than quitting.

 

Its normal to not like things like the picking up aspect, but part of what he is there to learn is how to do things with a group and function outside of his home, and pickup is part of that.


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#9 of 18 Old 02-27-2013, 04:46 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

I recommend scheduling a meeting with the teacher ASAP and finding out, from her point of view, what is happening. I recommend not taking the word of a 3 year old for what is happening. I work with kindergarteners, and little kids sometimes missunderstand things.  I would say exactly what he said, and ask her what her expectations are of him. 

 

I'm not big on 3 year olds writing. Heck, I don't think a lot of Kindergartens are ready for it, but I suspect that you don't know the whole story. I would want to find out the rest of the story before making any judgments about the situation. Although if this is really not a good situation for him, he's better off if you pull him out, if this can be a good situation, then he's better off if you figure out a way through it rather than quitting.

 

Its normal to not like things like the picking up aspect, but part of what he is there to learn is how to do things with a group and function outside of his home, and pickup is part of that.

Ditto all this!!thumb.gif

 

 

I would ask for an explanation of 'writing' for a 3 yr old program. Having taught 3/4s, we did no writing- only some fine motor activities (picking up pom poms, tracing shapes in water with fingers, shaving cream play, play-doh, fingerplay songs, etc).

 

Also, I agree that the 'not picking up' is normal. At 3, kiddos can start to be part of a group and part of a 'helper' at home. Simple responsibilities like cleaning up, dressing, tossing out their dirty napkins at lunch, clearing plastic dishes, etc are great to start/expect at preschool.

 

6-8 hours is a great amount at 3. At 4/5 a lot of kids do 18-20 hours and then jump into full day K. So that way it is really a nice gradual trend.

 

But if the preschool is not a good fit, I would try another. But I would throughly investigate if this is just an adjustment phase or truly mismatch of child & preschool.

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#10 of 18 Old 02-27-2013, 04:55 PM
 
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If it were me, I would pull him. He's so young and may not be ready for the pressure, especially if they are trying to teach writing. Go with your instincts.

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#11 of 18 Old 02-27-2013, 07:05 PM
 
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I guess I am wondering what your reasoning is for preschool. 

 

If you are planning to send him to school and you feel like he needs to start learning how to function in a group now, then perhaps a co-op would be a good choice.

 

We were in a play based co-op when my eldest son was 3. It was pretty great and he was happy. But I was there most of the time. After a few months, I did start leaving on the day I was not working, but I would come back for circle time to help him sit. He needed that extra support. 

 

Since we decided to homeschool, I did not put my youngest in preschool. And he has had a ton of socialization just from being with friends (we are out every afternoon). 

 

So, if you are consider homeschooling, then I would just pull him. If I were going to enroll him in Kindergarten, then I would find a play based co-op so that he could start learning to be in a group and to follow rules, but with your support. 

 

FWIW - I know a lot of 6-8 year olds that are "bad writers". Some kids have a really hard time with that motor skill. Most of these are boys too.

 

Good Luck! I'm sorry your son is so upset.


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#12 of 18 Old 02-27-2013, 07:14 PM
 
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I think you should pull him out based on your second post. My dd had a preschool teacher who forced writing and made it miserable for her to do and that caused a resistance in her towards writing and letter instruction that took years to overcome.
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#13 of 18 Old 02-28-2013, 06:59 AM
 
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I would first speak with the teacher and find out her side of the story. Not sure I'd go purely by what a 3yo is saying... 

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#14 of 18 Old 02-28-2013, 07:34 AM
 
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I think it's not really what he's saying, because he is only three, but how he is feeling that you should go by. He is unhappy and doesn't want to be there. It seems like he needs more time at home with mama. :-)

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#15 of 18 Old 03-01-2013, 07:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much for all your replies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

I recommend scheduling a meeting with the teacher ASAP and finding out, from her point of view, what is happening. I recommend not taking the word of a 3 year old for what is happening. I work with kindergarteners, and little kids sometimes missunderstand things.  I would say exactly what he said, and ask her what her expectations are of him. 

 

I'm not big on 3 year olds writing. Heck, I don't think a lot of Kindergartens are ready for it, but I suspect that you don't know the whole story. I would want to find out the rest of the story before making any judgments about the situation. Although if this is really not a good situation for him, he's better off if you pull him out, if this can be a good situation, then he's better off if you figure out a way through it rather than quitting.

 

Its normal to not like things like the picking up aspect, but part of what he is there to learn is how to do things with a group and function outside of his home, and pickup is part of that.

 

So we spoke with the teacher, director and assistant director yesterday, and decided to leave him in for one more month (which is 8 more class days). All 3 of them assured us that he's happy in the class (which I'll be checking by dropping in when I can), and that they will not push writing right now.  If he hasn't adjusted by then, we'll pull him out and try again in a few months, perhaps at a more play based school.

 

The reasons we put him in are:

-I felt he was getting bored at home

-He's very social, but we don't have many friends with kids. I was hoping he'd make a few friends

-Of all the 3 year olds we do know, nearly all go to some sort of school part time.

-I felt it would be good to get some 1 on 1 time with little sister.

-He would beg to go to school on nearly a daily basis.

-I would like to go back to work sometime next year, and the kids would be put in school at that time. I was hopign this would be a way to ease into that.

 

I really liked the school, teachers, etc and do feel it could be a good environment for him. That being said, I don't want to continue to put him in a place where he's miserable.


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#16 of 18 Old 03-01-2013, 04:56 PM
 
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I think you have a really good plan for going forward.  Is there anyway to observe him at school without him knowing you are there? Some schools have 2-way mirrors set up for that, though it is pretty rare.

 

A parent being in the room can change the dynamic.
 


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#17 of 18 Old 03-01-2013, 05:07 PM
 
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I think it's not really what he's saying, because he is only three, but how he is feeling that you should go by. He is unhappy and doesn't want to be there. It seems like he needs more time at home with mama. :-)

 

 

There is a five year old physically disabled child who is currently unhappy at school and reports that I am mean to her.

 

How am I mean?

 

I expect her to follow the same rules as everyone else and do her own work to the greatest degree possible for her.

 

(Her mom agrees with me.)

 

While the way a child feels is real and should always be honored, it doesn't follow that how they feel is a always place they should stay stuck. Sometimes kids are unhappy because they are learning something new that is difficult for them -- such as how to be away from mom for a very brief period of time, or how to be in a group, or how to pick up for themselves.

 

Or that all the rules are there for a reason and everybody has to follow them! winky.gif

 

It can be quite difficult as a parent to sort out what is going on for a young child --

  • are they feeling unhappy/uncomfortable because they have a chance to really grow and they would rather not?
  • or are they unhappy because the situation really doesn't work for them?
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#18 of 18 Old 03-01-2013, 10:42 PM
 
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I guess I am going by a more Waldorf viewpoint. Three is too young, in my opinion, to keep a child in school if he is not wanting to be there. It doesn't have anything to do with the teacher being wrong, it's the child who isn't ready, regardless of what the teacher is doing. It is likely the teacher is great, but the child is just not ready.
I would recommend putting him into a play based program, maybe one where the mama can be there for a little while and the child can ease into it.

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