Creative 6 year old's imagination being discouraged in school - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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Old 11-04-2012, 09:34 AM
 
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If this thread was about a different subject, would the teacher's handling be acceptable? I think that's the way to determine what should be done. If the child was doing something else, would the teacher questioning the child and telling her what the 'correct' answer is be acceptable? I think that's the real issue. If a child is doing something that is not causing harm ir disrupting the class in any way, should a teacher attempt to enforce his/her preferential behavior on the child? I think 'no'.
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Old 11-04-2012, 10:53 AM
 
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There was a great short story the other day on my NPR about Día de los Muertos.

They described a woman setting her table for her departed family members with all their favorite foods, etc and how normal this is to some.

 

 

 

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If this thread was about a different subject, would the teacher's handling be acceptable? I think that's the way to determine what should be done. If the child was doing something else, would the teacher questioning the child and telling her what the 'correct' answer is be acceptable? I think that's the real issue. If a child is doing something that is not causing harm ir disrupting the class in any way, should a teacher attempt to enforce his/her preferential behavior on the child? I think 'no'.

I agree, what bothers me so much is the sheer lack of understanding from an educator point of view- it's normal, developmental and quite widely done by many! 

Like draw a picture of your family yet have someone take it apart to fit their description/desire and correct it. This is very personal.

 

teachers should TEACH subjects, not personal interruption on clearly non-red flag issues, it's personal and the educator need not be interjecting conjecture into it -IMO


 

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Old 11-04-2012, 02:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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There was a great short story the other day on my NPR about Día de los Muertos.

They described a woman setting her table for her departed family members with all their favorite foods, etc and how normal this is to some.

 

 

 

Quote:
If this thread was about a different subject, would the teacher's handling be acceptable? I think that's the way to determine what should be done. If the child was doing something else, would the teacher questioning the child and telling her what the 'correct' answer is be acceptable? I think that's the real issue. If a child is doing something that is not causing harm ir disrupting the class in any way, should a teacher attempt to enforce his/her preferential behavior on the child? I think 'no'.

I agree, what bothers me so much is the sheer lack of understanding from an educator point of view- it's normal, developmental and quite widely done by many! 

Like draw a picture of your family yet have someone take it apart to fit their description/desire and correct it. This is very personal.

 

teachers should TEACH subjects, not personal interruption on clearly non-red flag issues, it's personal and the educator need not be interjecting conjecture into it -IMO

That's a very good point serenbat!

 

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If this thread was about a different subject, would the teacher's handling be acceptable? I think that's the way to determine what should be done. If the child was doing something else, would the teacher questioning the child and telling her what the 'correct' answer is be acceptable? I think that's the real issue. If a child is doing something that is not causing harm ir disrupting the class in any way, should a teacher attempt to enforce his/her preferential behavior on the child? I think 'no'.

I agree. My DH and I are very upset about this whole issue being blown out of proportion. And even though the meeting went well enough, it makes us feel that the school is way too rigid for us, and our DD. I wrote a poignant letter and we will see their response. I hope it really blows over now. It feels like because she doesn't conform to their idea of what 6 year olds should be like, they are making a bigger deal about it then it merits. Fingers crossed. A friend pointed out how they could use the doll to their advantage by asking her to write stories about her doll. 

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Old 11-04-2012, 06:10 PM
 
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OP be v. careful though. dont 'dis' the whole school yet. the principal was open. the head teacher is fine. you were happy with both of them. its just the assistant.

 

schools have all kinds of teachers. check and see what the other grade teachers are.

 

of course unless you find (and be careful to watch your own emotions on this) out how deep this issue is for your dd. see if you can work with her to see this as just another thing. first of all you need to see if this issue is huge for you. because what you feel you will pass on to your dd. she will pick it up no matter what words you use.

 

if most of the teachers in other grades are good, if you think the school is worth it - first help your dd to get through this year. see if you and she can handle it.

 

it is a great great opportunity for you and your dd to be able to pull through this by seeing this is another persons' quirk. that this persons attitude does not define her. if she can handle it, then stick with it and empower your dd to survive this. this will be a life long learning skill for her.

 

obviously over the internet i cant gauge how serious this matter is for you. i know its all brand new and lots of feelings come up over it. but you have to decide if this is the hill you want to die upon or is it just another hill that you will struggle up but cross it. i am only saying this because i remember as a 'new school' mom i overreacted on many instances (not saying that's what you are doing) and i want you to check how important this is truly for you.  


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Old 11-04-2012, 06:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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OP be v. careful though. dont 'dis' the whole school yet. the principal was open. the head teacher is fine. you were happy with both of them. its just the assistant.

 

schools have all kinds of teachers. check and see what the other grade teachers are.

 

of course unless you find (and be careful to watch your own emotions on this) out how deep this issue is for your dd. see if you can work with her to see this as just another thing. first of all you need to see if this issue is huge for you. because what you feel you will pass on to your dd. she will pick it up no matter what words you use.

 

if most of the teachers in other grades are good, if you think the school is worth it - first help your dd to get through this year. see if you and she can handle it.

 

it is a great great opportunity for you and your dd to be able to pull through this by seeing this is another persons' quirk. that this persons attitude does not define her. if she can handle it, then stick with it and empower your dd to survive this. this will be a life long learning skill for her.

 

obviously over the internet i cant gauge how serious this matter is for you. i know its all brand new and lots of feelings come up over it. but you have to decide if this is the hill you want to die upon or is it just another hill that you will struggle up but cross it. i am only saying this because i remember as a 'new school' mom i overreacted on many instances (not saying that's what you are doing) and i want you to check how important this is truly for you.  

That's very good advice, meemee. I suppose my blanket statement of the whole school being too rigid felt over-reaching for this one issue. You are right that if it's one year in an otherwise great school, then we should chalk it up to experience. I suppose there was a lot hidden inside me coming out with that statement. You're right, and I need to see how they respond to my letter, before making any rash decisions. I will say though, that the head teacher really has been a problem all along, just not that my daughter noticed. My DD just knew that the assistant was telling her things she really had no business saying. I do hope that this washes over now, and that we can move forward with smoother sailing, but it has been a very rocky start, and we know that our dd is a wonderful addition to any classroom, so for the head teacher to bring this up as an issue in the beginning of the year, and have it ongoing for 2 months now, it feels like we might have made a mistake in choosing the school, but I am open to seeing what happens next (but secretly feeling like homeschooling). whistling.gif

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Old 11-07-2012, 12:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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In case anyone is following the process with the school... 

 

After our meeting last Friday, I spent the weekend talking it over with my family and wrote a well thought out letter responding to what "language" felt appropriate to us. Basically, we said it was time for the teachers to ignore it, to stop asking my DD questions, to address the real issue with one of the kids who is going around threatening and scaring other kids for any reason he sees fit, and "if" the other kids ask the teachers to tell the kids that it's perfectly normal to see her doll as a sister. Also, my DD said she says, "anyone can be your brother or sister whether they are real or not." We were looking for some closure so we could just move on, but... no response from the head teacher (or the principal). So, I'm dangling on a thread. I wrote about my thoughts on schooling on my website if any of you are interested. I'm very curious what, if anything, the mothering.com community thinks about it.

 Read it if your interested: http://www.chicshadesofgreen.com/free-range-kids/  

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Old 11-07-2012, 02:44 PM
 
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lyzamay,  I read your post on your blog and I find myself in an oddly similar position. My children are both currently attending a private school that we can afford, but it is a sacrifice for us, and that we are currently unhappy with for a variety of reasons. We are considering other options, like you are. We were happy to make the sacrifices to have them in the school back when we were happy with the school, but now every month, writing that check feels like pouring salt in a wound.

 

Although I don't agree with your stance on the current specific issue discussed in this thread, I do understand and relate to the bigger picture of putting a lot of time, thought, and sacrifice into a school decision, and then seriously rethinking it.

 

I'm sorry that your DD is not currently happy at school. That's big. I hope that however this current situation plays out and whatever choices you make next, it goes well for you and your family.

 

You might post some of your concerns/questions on the homeschooling board.

 

Good luck. We have more in common than I realized.
 


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Old 11-07-2012, 04:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Linda, 

 

Thanks for reading  my post. It's totally okay with me if people don't really agree with my thoughts on the specific issue that I brought up. Her last school was totally fine with it, the teacher asked our thoughts and we never heard about it again. Also, the principal at the current school thought it was a none issue, so it makes it a big issue for us with the teachers for not being able to deal with it effectively. My post on my website is about more than what I wrote about on here. But, I won't keep going over it. 

 

I really appreciate you saying how hard it is to put so much into a school and then re-thinking it,and that unfortunately you are going through the same thing. When it doesn't feel right it's definitely hard to write that check. and although there is more to the story it really feels like it can't be the right school when they keep bringing up an issue that even they call a non-issue. It's strange and doesn't feel right to me. That's why after 2 months in the school, and she's feeling unchallenged and bored in only first grade, it feels like we have to make a change.

 

the hardest thing is making the right decision. I will look at the homeschooling board, I did go on there once and that was where I found the un-schooling video that I linked on  my site. And there really is a great network near us that I will look into.

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Old 11-07-2012, 05:05 PM
 
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I don't think a teacher should be constantly bringing it up but if a teacher told my child a fact - in your case, dolls are not siblings - I would be ok with it. That doesn't sound like crushing her creativity. If she was creative with geography and said that Europe is 20 miles away and a teacher corrected it and/or brought up that maybe it's something to see someone else about I think that would be ok too even if the reason she was claiming it was so close is because she misses her grandmother who lives there.

 

I don't think it's ok to try and tell the teacher what they may or may not say to other children, as long as what is being said is not obscene or otherwise hugely offensive. If you don't think it's a problem then simply say no, thank you to the offer of seeing the school psychologist. If you still don't like the way it's being handled find alternate education arrangements.

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Old 11-07-2012, 07:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't think a teacher should be constantly bringing it up but if a teacher told my child a fact - in your case, dolls are not siblings - I would be ok with it. That doesn't sound like crushing her creativity. If she was creative with geography and said that Europe is 20 miles away and a teacher corrected it and/or brought up that maybe it's something to see someone else about I think that would be ok too even if the reason she was claiming it was so close is because she misses her grandmother who lives there.

 

That might be why this school isn't for me. 

 

I don't think it's ok to try and tell the teacher what they may or may not say to other children, as long as what is being said is not obscene or otherwise hugely offensive. If you don't think it's a problem then simply say no, thank you to the offer of seeing the school psychologist. If you still don't like the way it's being handled find alternate education arrangements.

 

I'm not trying to tell the teacher what to say, the principal said that and they asked me to come up with it, so it's my suggestions and for them to say whether that works or not.

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Old 11-08-2012, 01:28 PM
 
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I .... wrote a letter responding to what language felt appropriate to us

 

if the other kids ask the teachers to tell the kids that it's perfectly normal to see her doll as a sister

 

 

To me these two comments indicate that you are trying to tell the teacher what she may say. I personally don't agree with that. Teachers should be allowed to teach, within reason, as they see fit. I know it's not what you want to hear but it is not, in your words, perfectly normal, to see a doll as a sister and the teacher is attempting to make it clear to the other children what is and is not true.

 

I've been thinking about this thread. What jumps out at me are two things. One is that you are attempting to create an environment for your daughter in school where both she and the children she associates with are not corrected by the adult in the room when she/they say something about an inanimate object being a sibling. Yes, six year olds have fantasies but by first grade a child should be able to recognize which fantasies are reality based and could possibly be true (like becoming a professional athlete) and which are not reality based (like being related to a doll) and that by talking about non reality based fantasies in school they are opening themselves up for both correction from an adult and to social ostracism from peers. The other thing is that while it's understandable to want your daughter to have this 'security blanket' after a difficult time the teacher may be concerned as to why you feel your daughter would suffer emotionally from being reminded her fantasy is not true.

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Old 11-08-2012, 05:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It's fine that you don't agree with my stance on here. I actually started this thread to ask for articles to support my belief that this was normal. And there are plenty of articles and her pediatrician said that it is normal and the principal and now the head teacher too. This thread was not started  for people to debate  whether my daughter is normal or not. THE SCHOOL asked me for the language, I'm telling them what I think is okay and they have every right to say they aren't comfortable with something and we talk about it  further. At this point, it has changed because the teacher is unresponsive and not following up.

 

We all have different opinions on fantasy and children. I stated pretty clearly that I thought the teachers should ignore it and not be asking her questions. If they don't ask questions then she doesn't talk about it except for with her friends. I have already said all of this though.

 

I understand that by posting a question and thread on here that I have left myself open to differing opinions, but it's my daughter and her education that I pay for, and like I have said it's not a teacher's job to tell my daughter whether something is real or not. She was questioning my daughter and my daughter was innocently answering her. This was a non-issue at her last school, and a non-issue with her pediatrician and a non-issue for anyone that knows her.

 

I think I made a mistake in choosing this school, there really is no rush in life to take kids out of their imaginations, in fact studies show that kids are less creative today then they used to be. There is no rule that says that by 6 kids should be living in cold, hard-fact reality. That's what her doctor says too.

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Old 11-08-2012, 05:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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 I know it's not what you want to hear but it is not, in your words, perfectly normal, to see a doll as a sister and the teacher is attempting to make it clear to the other children what is and is not true.

 

That's your opinion and I don't really appreciate you saying that as a fact. 

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Old 11-09-2012, 12:14 PM
 
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That's your opinion and I don't really appreciate you saying that as a fact.
 
A doll cannot be someone's sister. Believing so is not normal. In no way is that an opinion. It might be that your daughter feels or believes that the doll is a sister but it is a fact that it is not normal for someone that age to view an object as being related to a person. I'm saying this as a mother of five children, one of whom is a first grader. I would be very concerned for my child if they were exhibiting similar behaviors. Something like this happening with a two or three year old would be normal but in an older child it is not. I know it must be hard to deal with but talking to someone else about it might be a good idea. 
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Old 11-09-2012, 01:00 PM
 
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A doll cannot be someone's sister. Believing so is not normal. In no way is that an opinion. It might be that your daughter feels or believes that the doll is a sister but it is a fact that it is not normal for someone that age to view an object as being related to a person. I'm saying this as a mother of five children, one of whom is a first grader. I would be very concerned for my child if they were exhibiting similar behaviors. Something like this happening with a two or three year old would be normal but in an older child it is not. I know it must be hard to deal with but talking to someone else about it might be a good idea. 

 

Well, I'm the mother of two girls, age 12 and age 7, and both continued imaginary play well beyond the age of three. My 7-year-old still immerses herself frequently in imaginary worlds. I really don't think it's all that cut and dry when one phase of life ends and another begins. I also think there can be lots of overlap, lots of beginning new phases while still being engaged with what some see as activities for younger kids.

 

Both of my girls have some things in common developmentally, but in some ways they are very different, and they've crossed milestones at very  different ages.


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Old 11-09-2012, 02:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for saying this and supporting me, mammal-mama. I love my daughter's imagination it takes us to such wonderful places!

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Originally Posted by elus0814 View Post

A doll cannot be someone's sister. Believing so is not normal. In no way is that an opinion. It might be that your daughter feels or believes that the doll is a sister but it is a fact that it is not normal for someone that age to view an object as being related to a person. I'm saying this as a mother of five children, one of whom is a first grader. I would be very concerned for my child if they were exhibiting similar behaviors. Something like this happening with a two or three year old would be normal but in an older child it is not. I know it must be hard to deal with but talking to someone else about it might be a good idea. 

 

Well, I'm the mother of two girls, age 12 and age 7, and both continued imaginary play well beyond the age of three. My 7-year-old still immerses herself frequently in imaginary worlds. I really don't think it's all that cut and dry when one phase of life ends and another begins. I also think there can be lots of overlap, lots of beginning new phases while still being engaged with what some see as activities for younger kids.

 

Both of my girls have some things in common developmentally, but in some ways they are very different, and they've crossed milestones at very  different ages.

 

elus0814:

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That's your opinion and I don't really appreciate you saying that as a fact.
 
A doll cannot be someone's sister. Believing so is not normal. In no way is that an opinion. It might be that your daughter feels or believes that the doll is a sister but it is a fact that it is not normal for someone that age to view an object as being related to a person. I'm saying this as a mother of five children, one of whom is a first grader. I would be very concerned for my child if they were exhibiting similar behaviors. Something like this happening with a two or three year old would be normal but in an older child it is not. I know it must be hard to deal with but talking to someone else about it might be a good idea. 

I said that it is perfectly normal for a 6 year old to use her imagination and have an imaginary friend. You have completely missed the point. I have spoken to many, many people and they have all said that it is perfectly normal— and they're "experts" and other parents. You can go on having your opinion but don't come on here and insult me and my daughter. I have an open mind and encourage my daughter to use hers to the fullest capacity. Having 5 children of your own might make you experienced but it does not make you an expert on my daughter.

 

As I have said throughout this, the teachers don't think there is anything the matter with my daughter, but I'm not here to convince you.

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Old 11-09-2012, 02:49 PM
 
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 talking to someone else about it might be a good idea.

 

 

I would advise you to read this thread- you would clearly see the OP has spoken to others-professionals.


 

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Old 11-09-2012, 03:19 PM
 
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Well, I'm the mother of two girls, age 12 and age 7, and both continued imaginary play well beyond the age of three. My 7-year-old still immerses herself frequently in imaginary worlds. I really don't think it's all that cut and dry when one phase of life ends and another begins. I also think there can be lots of overlap, lots of beginning new phases while still being engaged with what some see as activities for younger kids.

 

Both of my girls have some things in common developmentally, but in some ways they are very different, and they've crossed milestones at very  different ages.

My 5-year-old does as well. She has huge imaginary worlds she's made up. I said up-thread that I was the same way. I suppose that where some posters (me included) have some difficulty is in the OP's insistence that this isn't a fact-based discussion about a doll being a relative. I've set places at our table for DD's imaginary friends and "fed" her imaginary dogs. But we all knew that it wasn't real. If another child or an adult had said that her imaginary dog wasn't real, I would have said, "well, yes, but we enjoy pretending that he is." If DD got upset (even now, she's 5) by the admission that the dog's not real, I would explain it further because the dog ISN'T real. The dog is pretend. The issue that I read here - and this is why I think there's concern - is that either the OP or her daughter is insistent on this fantasy not being interrupted. Honestly even if it wasn't a problem at last year's school, it still may be this year at that school. You say that your daughter doesn't bring it up, but obviously she does (or did?) because the teachers know enough about this sister to realize that it's a doll. 

 

I wonder, too, about the idea of consulting professionals. If I called my pediatrician and said, "you know, my DD has an imaginary dog, and her teachers are concerned," I'm sure that she would say it's age appropriate. If I said, "my DD has a dog. Now it's not real, but she thinks it's real. She speaks about it as if it's real and got very upset when her teacher said that it was a pretend dog," I think our doctor's reaction would be different. So I think that the initial post presented one situation - a play-world with doll as "sister" - that IS perfectly normal and creative, but later posts seem to suggest something else going on - at least to me. I would be concerned if my daughter were to take her fantasy world to the place of not being able to accept anyone pointing out the fantasy.

 

That, to me, is still separate from the issue of how the teachers handled the issue, which I think was poor. I'm just not entirely sure that what they're saying is off-base. I cannot think of a single child who at 6 or 7 truly believed she was related to a toy to the point that it caused stress.


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Old 11-09-2012, 05:45 PM
 
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I'm just not entirely sure that what they're saying is off-base. I cannot think of a single child who at 6 or 7 truly believed she was related to a toy to the point that it caused stress.

 

 

I know 8 year olds that dress up and play with their pets and treat them the exact same way they treat their siblings(part of the family), again, this is expectable to many. There parents/adults treat pets as part of the family as well- equal as children. I have even heard them refer to them as their children!

 

So if a child uses an object that is somehow not OK but adults can for animals?

 

I don't see this "STRESS", I see the stress from how the child is being treated by the adult, not the doll. 


 

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Old 11-09-2012, 07:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Visionary Mom, 

 

In some ways I think I put every thought in my mind on here trying to explain how things are and in the moment that can come out as anything. We just want our daughter to be supported and feel like the school has made too big a deal about it when if they just ignored it and didn't ask my DD questions when my DH and I already explained things, etc etc.

 

We "pretend" at home and the doll gets left on the floor for 24 hours on the weekends. She loves playing, that's all. It's important for kids to have some power and imaginary friends are their 
"power".  When people say pretend it's upsetting to a kid because it takes away from his/her desire to convince people of his/her creation. My DD wants people to get on board with her and she doesn't want to talk about it, just play.

 

Serenbat, 

 

You bring up so many good points! It's so true that we adults can call our animals: sister cats, or our dogs our girls. there is just too much pressure for kids to fit into a little box. 

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Old 11-12-2012, 12:48 PM
 
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Sometimes it seems like adults are willing to humor kids with really outlandish fantasies, but if the fantasy is too close to reality, or strikes a nerve in the adult, then the adult feels the need to point out the difference. If another child in your DD's class went around saying she was a fairy princess, the assistant teacher would probably just say, "Oh really?" and go about her business, rather than say, "You know fairies aren't real, right? It's impossible for you to be a fairy princess, you're just pretending to be one." But for some reason it's making her uncomfortable for your DD to talk about this doll as though she's real, so she feels the need to set the facts straight.

 

It's like when my DS pretended to be a girl when he was 3 -- when he said he was an alien, robot, dinosaur, and shark, that was fine, but a girl??? yikes2.gifAll of a sudden people felt the need to inform him that he was a boy, NOT a girl. Because they felt uncomfortable with the idea of him wanting to pretend to be a girl. eyesroll.gif

 

In any case, it really sounds like it's mostly just that one assistant teacher who has a problem, and you've got the principal and head teacher on your side now, so I bet the whole thing will blow over soon. I wouldn't write off the whole school over the comments of one person, especially when other, more powerful people are being supportive. 


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Old 11-12-2012, 08:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Limabean, 

 

thank you so much for your insight! you nailed it!  I have to say how strange that is for people feel uncomfortable for a 3 year old boy to say he's a girl— who cares, right?

 

I wish I felt the head teacher was on board, but I think she's just saying that . Her actions do not imply support and our daughter is suddenly refusing to go to school. yikes.gif  We think there is a major classroom issue going on, unfortunately. My husband is flying home for another meeting with the principal now. the saga continues... I read my original inflamed email to the teacher and while it was hostile, it kind of really laid out our issues with maybe just a couple over-the-top lines .

 

Sometimes a parents overreaction is for good reason. orngtongue.gif

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Old 11-24-2012, 07:05 AM
 
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This morning I heard this and thought you might enjoy it - http://www.studio360.org/2012/nov/23/ "So You Think You're Creative?" and "Imaginary Friends"

 

and we were going thru some books the other day- this old book might be of interest - (birthday themed, a little girl and her "sister" doll who talks and a neighbor who is thrilled to get her own one) - http://www.etsy.com/listing/110971449/charmin-chatty-vintage-little-golden


 

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Old 11-25-2012, 07:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you serenbat! Fascinating stories. I wish Marjorie Taylor was closer to me! the little girl was so clever happytears.gif

 

I was trying to see what the book was— from Chatty Cathy, the talking doll! I started looking for books where dolls/toys/animals come to life and there really is no shortage of books, then again, we have at least 5 of the books: Velveteen Rabbit, Winnie the Pooh, The Doll People, Corduroy, The Nutcracker. Here's a list: http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/13819.Children_s_Literature_Sentient_Toys  Even Frosty the Snowman!

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