"1,2,3 Magic" and preschool - Mothering Forums

 
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#1 of 17 Old 10-23-2007, 02:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is mostly a rant, but I'm also looking for ideas. So today was my dd's first day of preschool, and when I checked it out I was told that they use "1,2,3 Magic", but would only use it for safety issues. However, in the first three minutes I heard the main instructor IMMEDIATELY resort to counting for a little boy who wasn't singing along. He was only three, I would really think that mandatory participation is a lot to ask.

Anyway, I'm feeling very disgruntled because I felt like there was a very adversarial air to the place, and I was hoping it was going to be fun. I guess I'll wait and see what my dd thinks. Has anyone else's dc enjoyed a preschool that wasn't so hot, and left them in there?

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#2 of 17 Old 10-23-2007, 02:18 PM
 
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What IS 123 magic? I have heard of it, but I have never been told what it is.
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#3 of 17 Old 10-23-2007, 02:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, I've never read it, but have read a few threads on here about it. As far as I understand, it's a time-out technique used to eliminate negative/problem behaviors. It's basically just giving three chances, on the third you put the child in T/O, but maybe someone who's read it can elaborate more.

I think it sounds like it could be effective, especially in a family. But I don't think it's appropriate to punish a three year old for talking/fiddling during song time.

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#4 of 17 Old 10-23-2007, 02:26 PM
 
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I wouldn't send her. I don't like the idea of using discipline for not joining in with singing. IMHO, that is extremely controlling and really, what do they expect from 3 year olds? DD has gotten 2 or 3 time outs in her life, all of them for hitting me and not stopping after several warnings. I would never dream of giving her a time out because she doesn't want to participate in something :

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#5 of 17 Old 10-23-2007, 02:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by natensarah View Post
Well, I've never read it, but have read a few threads on here about it. As far as I understand, it's a time-out technique used to eliminate negative/problem behaviors. It's basically just giving three chances, on the third you put the child in T/O, but maybe someone who's read it can elaborate more.

I think it sounds like it could be effective, especially in a family. But I don't think it's appropriate to punish a three year old for talking/fiddling during song time.
We cross-posted I've read the book, it is just a time-out technique based on 2 warnings and on the 3rd the child goes to time out. But, the book does talk about effectively parenting to prevent the situations that warrant a time out and cuts down on temper tantrums. It was an interesting read, not my favorite, but I didn't even finish the book. I've had much more success with DD after reading the Spirited Child book

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#6 of 17 Old 10-23-2007, 02:37 PM
 
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wow, I'd be really frustrated too.
I have to say that, personally, I wouldn't want ds to go somewhere where he may be put in a time out. Even if it were only for "safety issues" like not singing with the group. :

How did she like her first day?

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#7 of 17 Old 10-23-2007, 02:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by natensarah View Post
However, in the first three minutes I heard the main instructor IMMEDIATELY resort to counting for a little boy who wasn't singing along. He was only three, I would really think that mandatory participation is a lot to ask.

Anyway, I'm feeling very disgruntled because I felt like there was a very adversarial air to the place, and I was hoping it was going to be fun. I guess I'll wait and see what my dd thinks. Has anyone else's dc enjoyed a preschool that wasn't so hot, and left them in there?
I just pulled my 3 year old out of a preschool that had that same adversarial air to it. They were very strict with the kids. For example, during circle time (which was way too long for 3 year olds - sometimes 40 minutes) the kids sat in three rows so there were kids sitting behind other kids. The teachers made it mandatory that all the kids sit "criss cross applesauce" so that no one got kicked in the back. Well, this is a pretty hard task for 3 year old's to do. It is just natural that they want to stretch their legs out and then they would accidently kick the kid in front of them in the back. Instead of thinking up a different seating arrangement, the teachers just harped on it.

I found a preschool that is more play based that my son and I both LOVE. The atmosphere is so relaxing and has been right from the minute we walked in the door for the first time.

For their circle time, they have a big circle taped on the carpet. All the kids sit on the circle. The teachers don't care how they sit, they just have to be on their bums. Since they are in a circle, they can see everyone's face and no one's feet are aimed at anyone else's back. Circle time is also much shorter, probably because they aren't spending time keeping the kids sitting a specific way - lol.

Anyway, that is just one of the many reasons why we left the first preschool and is way more than you wanted to know, I'm sure. But, it doesn't hurt to keep looking for a different school and change if you find one you like better.
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#8 of 17 Old 10-23-2007, 02:43 PM
 
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i've watched the video. basically, you count to 3 to give the kid a chance to comply, and then put them in timeout, one minute for each year of age. no discussion.

my kids attend a licensed montessori preschool. montessori does not endorse rewards or punishments. most behaviors are redirected or explanations of appropriateness are given. i work there 9 hours/week. the only "timeout" i've seen was when a student was out of control, endangering other students. they took her out of the class and she was able to return when she calmed herself. this was highly unusual, and it was only a question of her hurting herself or others. she was also given many, many chances to calm herself w/in the environment first.
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#9 of 17 Old 10-23-2007, 03:11 PM
 
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They used 1-2-3 Magic at my son's preschool last year. I was worried at first because I read the book and HATED it. Sure, there are worse things, but the whole concept just left a bitter taste in my mouth.

Of course, I found out they rarely used it, and it was only after redirection and other more GD methods were not working.

That said, my son is now in a preschool that is much stricter and more punitive than I would like. He's almost 5, so maybe that makes a difference .. but he's fully able to understand that there are rules at preschool that I think are stupid, etc .. but we follow them out of respect for the preschool and teachers. He's actually thriving there and when he tells me about something I don't approve of, we'll discuss it and talk about that's not what we do/believe at home.

I guess I've come to realize that he's got a good, solid base of GD at home, and is able to handle and process discipline that's very different at school. I don't think he could have done it at 3, but he's sure doing very well now.

Sorry to go on and on .. I'd suggest finding another preschool. But if for some reason you are trapped in that one, I wanted to share our experience in a school that is more punitive than I would like.

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#10 of 17 Old 10-23-2007, 04:41 PM
 
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I can't say I'm totally versed on GD, and I definitely don't always practice it, but I would be very wary of a preschool that forces them to sing. That is way controlling, especially a 3 year old.

I have spent quite a bit of time in my son's classrooms (been in daycare/preschool since he was 2) and they would never force something like that. They will enforce something like not jumping around and screaming while others are singing, but not make a kid sing. That's ridiculous.

When I asked about their discipline philosophy, they told me they base theirs on the work of Jean Piaget, and his theories on development in childhood. Can't say I know much about that, but I like the way they treat the kids at my son's school. Firm but respectful.
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#11 of 17 Old 10-23-2007, 04:45 PM
 
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My biggest concern would be the "public" aspect of the correction. That feels shaming and humiliating to me. Redirecting the child about what *to do*, rather than resorting to a threat, seems more pro-social. But, if your intention is for her to go to school, and she wants to remain in the pre-school, it is useful to experience more authoritarian environments in order to understand what is "expected". I believe it is a disservice, to some degree, to send a child unknowingly into "big school" without the experience of "adults make and enforce "the rules".


I am trying to be gentle and supportive with my terminology. And if she enjoys it, that would be my guide.


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#12 of 17 Old 10-23-2007, 04:54 PM
 
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I think that you should talk to the teacher. Tell her that you were told that this "123,Magic" was to be used only in certain situations. Tell the teacher that you are not comfortable with using a threat to get a child to sing- that isn't a "safety issue". I would be very persistant about this issue- and if the teacher cannot give a sutiable answer or solution then you both need to go to the next level and tal to the higher up. I also would become a permanant fixture in my DC's class until I was satisfied that the situation had indeed changed.

IMHO- also you need to listen to your Motherly Intuition. If you have a "gut feeling" regarding this place, then you are probably right about that feeling. Listen to your self and you DC.

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#13 of 17 Old 10-23-2007, 05:11 PM
 
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I have a good friend who uses 123 Magic techniques and she has had good success.

I do think it's not really "un-gentle discipline" but it's not quite GD.

However, I agree with PP that expecting a 3 year old to participate in a group activity and then using discipline when they didn't is a bit much.
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#14 of 17 Old 10-23-2007, 10:29 PM
 
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Uggh! One more thing to worry about as we look at preschools!

I know (at least in CT) 123 Magic is taught in parenting classes and in the prep classes for foster parents. I have not read the entire program but I am familiar with it. I think it is better than screaming or spanking, but it's not really close enough to how things are at home (gd, redirection, time-in together in a cozy spot when frustrated or upset) for my taste.

I know no school is a utopia, but this would be a big turn off for me.
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#15 of 17 Old 10-23-2007, 11:21 PM
 
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I loathe 123 Magic. I find it extremely disrespectful of children's process. And while I am sure the author(s) meant well, it is way to easy to use it adversarially. UGH!
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#16 of 17 Old 10-23-2007, 11:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by WuWei View Post
My biggest concern would be the "public" aspect of the correction. That feels shaming and humiliating to me. Redirecting the child about what *to do*, rather than resorting to a threat, seems more pro-social. But, if your intention is for her to go to school, and she wants to remain in the pre-school, it is useful to experience more authoritarian environments in order to understand what is "expected". I believe it is a disservice, to some degree, to send a child unknowingly into "big school" without the experience of "adults make and enforce "the rules".


I am trying to be gentle and supportive with my terminology. And if she enjoys it, that would be my guide.
ITA, but even beyond this, I don't think at this age, it's appropriate to make a kid sing.

I read 123 Magic when it was recommended to me for my son, who was having some emotional issues. It's pretty accurately described. If the child doesn't misbehave for X minutes (say, 20), then they go back to 0. You're allowed to give an "automatic 3" for something really bad. The purpose is to avoid long, fruitless arguments over things that a child supposedly "knows" he should/shouldn't do. I thought it seemed okay, but I really didn't like it. It may be effective BUT:

--anything you don't like gets counted, so leaving your socks on the floor might be a "1" and then hitting your sister a "2." It thus makes totally disparate behavior equal.

-- it's so easy to count (which is kind of the point) that all sense of choosing your battles is gone. If you have to think about 1) whether something is worth dealing with (oh, ds left the bathroom light on, should I have him turn it off, or just shut it off myself since I'm right here) and 2) how it should be dealt with (should I just go tell him the bathroom light is on, and let him solve it?), then you learn to pick your battles. If you just count, then you find yourself counting all day long.
("You spilled your milk -- 1" "you said 'shut up' -- 2," "i have my period and I'm irritable -- that's 3, you're out").

--the point is to reach the point where you don't have to count at all, but my ds REALLY hated being at 1 or 2. It never occurred to him that he could avoid getting to 1, so if he got a 1, he always rushed to get a 2 and then 3, so he could be back at 0 again.

On the other hand, he really did sit up and take notice ("what number am I on?" "No, you alreeady said 1, now it's 2." "how many minutes before I get back to 0?" "I know, that's a 1, isn't it?"), and he still talks about the days when we used to count. I do think on some level he appreciated the consistency and predictability of the method. There certainly are worse, but it was just not for me.
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#17 of 17 Old 10-24-2007, 12:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Deva33mommy View Post
wow, I'd be really frustrated too.
I have to say that, personally, I wouldn't want ds to go somewhere where he may be put in a time out. Even if it were only for "safety issues" like not singing with the group. :

How did she like her first day?
Well, she loved it. But, I'm not sure how long that will last. I think once she gets sick of the new dress-ups and the new art supplies, she's not going to enjoy it as much. Though she did already find a little friend.

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my kids attend a licensed montessori preschool. montessori does not endorse rewards or punishments. most behaviors are redirected or explanations of appropriateness are given. i work there 9 hours/week. the only "timeout" i've seen was when a student was out of control, endangering other students. they took her out of the class and she was able to return when she calmed herself. this was highly unusual, and it was only a question of her hurting herself or others. she was also given many, many chances to calm herself w/in the environment first.
I know, I'd like her to go to the Montessori school, but it's a 40 minute (at least) drive, and it's pretty spendy.

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I guess I've come to realize that he's got a good, solid base of GD at home, and is able to handle and process discipline that's very different at school. I don't think he could have done it at 3, but he's sure doing very well now.
I kind of thought about this. I think she could definitely handle rules and strictness, ESPECIALLY if the trade-off was that she got a very informative, interesting experience and the teachers were well educated. Which is what I had heard about this place, but all the teachers I've seen aren't even old enough to be well-educated!

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Originally Posted by WuWei View Post
My biggest concern would be the "public" aspect of the correction. That feels shaming and humiliating to me. Redirecting the child about what *to do*, rather than resorting to a threat, seems more pro-social. But, if your intention is for her to go to school, and she wants to remain in the pre-school, it is useful to experience more authoritarian environments in order to understand what is "expected". I believe it is a disservice, to some degree, to send a child unknowingly into "big school" without the experience of "adults make and enforce "the rules".
Well, I sort of agree. Except that I think it's very, very easy to learn to follow rules. I don't know why they make you do it for twelve years!

But I'm actually not going to send her to school for a couple of years, at least. Unless she wants to, of course. The main reason I thought about it was because I think she was pretty bored here, and so I could have some more one-on-one time with ds1.

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Originally Posted by Iris' Mom View Post
ITA, but even beyond this, I don't think at this age, it's appropriate to make a kid sing.

I read 123 Magic when it was recommended to me for my son, who was having some emotional issues. It's pretty accurately described. If the child doesn't misbehave for X minutes (say, 20), then they go back to 0. You're allowed to give an "automatic 3" for something really bad. The purpose is to avoid long, fruitless arguments over things that a child supposedly "knows" he should/shouldn't do. I thought it seemed okay, but I really didn't like it. It may be effective BUT:

--anything you don't like gets counted, so leaving your socks on the floor might be a "1" and then hitting your sister a "2." It thus makes totally disparate behavior equal.

-- it's so easy to count (which is kind of the point) that all sense of choosing your battles is gone. If you have to think about 1) whether something is worth dealing with (oh, ds left the bathroom light on, should I have him turn it off, or just shut it off myself since I'm right here) and 2) how it should be dealt with (should I just go tell him the bathroom light is on, and let him solve it?), then you learn to pick your battles. If you just count, then you find yourself counting all day long.
("You spilled your milk -- 1" "you said 'shut up' -- 2," "i have my period and I'm irritable -- that's 3, you're out").

--the point is to reach the point where you don't have to count at all, but my ds REALLY hated being at 1 or 2. It never occurred to him that he could avoid getting to 1, so if he got a 1, he always rushed to get a 2 and then 3, so he could be back at 0 again.

On the other hand, he really did sit up and take notice ("what number am I on?" "No, you alreeady said 1, now it's 2." "how many minutes before I get back to 0?" "I know, that's a 1, isn't it?"), and he still talks about the days when we used to count. I do think on some level he appreciated the consistency and predictability of the method. There certainly are worse, but it was just not for me.
Oh, wow. There is no way what these teachers is using is this well thought-out or consistent or predictable. For one thing, I don't know where the great teachers that I've heard about and are touted on their website were, because today the three teachers were very, very young.

When I walked in this afternoon there was a little girl, probably a 3 yo, sitting down against the wall sobbing. I knew right away she was in T/O, but I just walked over and said pretty loudly, "Uh-oh! Are you okay? Are you hurt? What's wrong?" Then I heard the explanation of her being "on break" for trying to run back to the library area. She was left there for five minutes while the head teacher said over and over in this totally patronizing tone, "You are o-KAY!"

Blech. My dd also said that when she asked for a snack and a drink of water, they told her snack time was over. And then, here's the worst part. When dd saw me, she burst into tears and said, "I don't want to go, I want to finish cleaning up so I can have a treat!" And so after she furiously cleaned up, a teacher reached into a giant bucket and gave her an entire roll of Smarties!:

So, she really, really wants to go back on Thursday, and I'm going to take her. But mostly just because I want to see if they give her Smarties again so that I can force them to refund my "non-refundable" enrollment fee because they LIED to me when they said they didn't serve junk food!

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