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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We had a conference last week with our DD's kindergarten teacher. The teacher said very positive things about her, and said she is progressing well. The one probelm is that it takes her a really long time to do her work. The teacher showed us several work sheets and assignments DD did not finish and said almost all the other kids are able to finish in the time allotted. I asked if DD was messing around or concentrating on her work. The teacher said she is focusing on her work it just takes her longer to finish it than all the other kids in the class. I wouldn't really be concerned about this, but the teacher did say it could be a problem next year in first grade when the pace is picked up. I also don't want it to effect her self esteem.<br><br>
Anybody else have this problem? How can I encourage her to work more quickly, but still do her best work? Or should I just chill about it?
 

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I really think the teacher needs to relax on this. Your daughter is working at her pace. Not every one is quick with their work. The purpose of the worksheet is to reinforce what is being done in the class, not to see how fast you can get it done. There is nothing wrong with being a little slower in doing your work. If your daughter is getting good marks and completing things correctly I can't see what the problem is.<br><br>
Are they really given enough time to complete the work? If there are children who aren't able to complete the tasks, then there might not be enough time. Give them 3 more minutes. Sometimes even just one more minute can make the difference between finishing and not finishing.<br><br>
I hate the pressure on the Kindergartners these days. Not that what they are trying to accomoplish is bad, it's just that some kids risk being held back because they can't keep up with the other kids. They have forgotten that all children develop at different rates. Even at this age they are taught to take standardized tests and pushed very hard to do them well.<br><br>
Don't stress it and don't make an issue about it. This will make her more anxious about her work. The best thing to do, in my opinion, is to do some of the same exercises at home in the evenings. Then you can see just where she is work-wise. It will give you a basis for comparrison.<br><br>
We do this kind of work with our son almost every night. We look over all the worksheets that they our son has completed and try to work on any of the areas that seem to give him problems. We have learned where he needs help and can see how he works. This has helped a lot.<br><br>
All of this is coming from a parent who's Kindergartner's passage to the 1st grade next year is in question because he doesn't test as well in his reading skills. He blew away one of the categories with his achievement and tested at or below average in the others. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
(Bump)<br><br>
Anyone else have an opinion or experience with this? I was hoping to get a little bit more feedback. Thanks!
 

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Hi - I read your post but don't really know the best way to respond. The whole situation sounds really sad to me - first that the teacher is teaching Kindergarteners by worksheet instead of through hands-on learning (or gasp - playing) ; and secondly, that the teacher is pressuring her. I don't do my best work under pressure, and I'm not sure why an adult would expect a six year old to do so. It seems both developmentally and emotionally inappropriate. In this situation, I would support your daughter's need to be herself and not fill in bubble A with the "right" answer within X minutes. Kids are different; and it's sad that this teacher can't recognize that every child is unique. You adding pressure probably doesn't help - the teacher is probably saying things to her that aren't helpful already (i.e. not done YET, etc).<br><br>
In other words, I think that teacher is wack, and you could maybe look into getting her with a better teacher? Or just totally ignore what the teacher said and chalk it up to ignorance?
 

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IMO it sounds like the teacher cant handle kids who dont fit in a 'cookie cutter', in other words she cant think or deal with anything outside the box.<br><br>
I wouldnt worry about your dd being "slow"
 

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We have a similar issue with my older dd (7 y/o). She had no problems in kg and the teacher never mentioned anything. However, in first grade she had the teacher from h*ll who stressed my poor kiddo out until she was seriously depressed and we wound up taking her out to homeschool for the last few months.<br><br>
It is the same thing that you describe -- she can do the work; she just doesn't do it quickly. For us, what has worked was having her privately assessed by a psychologist (IQ test, achievement test, self esteem inventory...). What we came up with was a child who hit the ceiling or came very close to the ceiling (as high as they could test) on all parts of the IQ test that were not related to speed. However, the parts that tested processing speed, she came in low-average (around 45%).<br><br>
It has helped to have a very understanding teacher this year, but we are also in the process of pushing for a 504 plan for her (kind of a step down from an IEP) that will allow her to be given high level work, but less of it and/or be given more time. If she is given enough time, she can do work multiple grade levels above her current grade, but if she is pressured about time, she stresses out and works even more slowly. With an IEP or 504 plan in place, it kind of forces the teacher to comply with what your kid needs and not what s/he thinks dd ought to be able to do.<br><br>
The conclusions that I have come to in relation to my dd's slower processing in relation to her ability are:<br>
1) She has some sensory integration issues. We also had her evaluated by an OT at the recommendation of the psych and the OT found that she was sensory over responsive, which basically means that she is bothered by and distracted by sensory input that would not bother others. For instance, she was yelling at her sister for breathing too loudly in the car the other day. The fluorescent lights, the noise of the pencil scratching at the desk next to her... it all bothers her and makes it hard for her to keep her focus and get the work done quickly.<br>
2) She is bored/lacks interest in the work. She not only needs harder work, she needs work that is qualitatively different -- more in depth, etc. She is a very compliant child and will do what is expected of her whether she wants to or not, but if it isn't engaging, she does it slowly b/c it is so uninteresting to her.<br>
3) She has an unusual processing method that is not well suited to the manner in which children are taught in a classroom setting. Dd tends to observe things, think about them until she is sure that she knows how to do them right, and then she does them correctly with no practice. She is very easily humiliated and hates to practice anything b/c she sees it as making mistakes and having people see her do things wrong.<br><br>
School is set up for the teachers to explain a concept and then have the kids do worksheets and so on to practice the concept until they know how to do it well. Dd doesn't do things that way. For instance, she learned to walk by watching others walk. She was mobile on the floor, but she <span style="text-decoration:underline;">never</span> pulled up on furniture, cruised around, or did anything that appeared to be practice walking. Then one day she stood up in the middle of the floor and walked all of the way across the room. Those were her first steps and she was then walking as if she had always done it -- no falling or stumbling like a new walker. She learned to read the same way -- almost nothing and then Harry Potter within a few months.<br><br>
School is not set up for kids who are observers and contemplators, but if that is your child's personality, I firmly believe that the school needs to change and not the child. She is who she is and she should be learning how to capitalize on her strengths not have her personality pathologized.<br><br>
I don't know if any of this applies to your child, or just mine <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> but I have found that the private assessments are very helpful b/c it is some objective "proof" of what dd needs, not just her mom saying it.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>KalamazooMom</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">We had a conference last week with our DD's kindergarten teacher. The teacher said very positive things about her, and said she is progressing well. The one probelm is that it takes her a really long time to do her work. The teacher showed us several work sheets and assignments DD did not finish and said almost all the other kids are able to finish in the time allotted. I asked if DD was messing around or concentrating on her work. The teacher said she is focusing on her work it just takes her longer to finish it than all the other kids in the class. I wouldn't really be concerned about this, but the teacher did say it could be a problem next year in first grade when the pace is picked up. I also don't want it to effect her self esteem.<br><br>
Anybody else have this problem? How can I encourage her to work more quickly, but still do her best work? Or should I just chill about it?</div>
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You know, this really irks me. I think that the expectations for younger children are WAAAAY too high these days. Not the fault of the teachers, of course, but still.<br><br>
I would not flip out over it. Just wait and see. So she is slow in doing her work. Is her work to the level she needs to be at? Is she doing well in other areas? There is a lot to consider.
 

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I am going through almost the same thing so I really don't have any advise. My DS's teacher is very strict when it comes to time to the point were he almost freezes up and doesn't get much done. I am actually dreading the conferece next week. i am hoping DH can go since I know there are so many things I want to say to her (and shouldn't in the way I would like) and I most likely will just freeze up and not say much at all. She just irks me so much I can't wait till the end of the year. I conteplated switching teachers but my DS really likes his class and his teacher.
 

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I am a kindergarten teacher. First let me say that I HATE all of the expectations that I feel pressured to put on children these days. It's not right and I feel very frustrated. I won't go into any more detail here.<br><br>
From the words that you wrote, it sounds like the teacher feels that your dd is doing very well. Every year I have a child or two that is doing just fine but they do work quite slowly. I do not see it as a problem, per se, but I do mention it to the parents. I mostly mention it so if it comes up in 1st grade they won't think "why didn't she tell me???" Children work slowly for so many different reasons. Your daughter isn't having "behavior" or attention issues that her keeping her from completing her work. It sounds like she is just a slow, methodical worker. Honestly, in the long run, that is SOOO much better than children who rush through their work and make careless mistakes. To the people who said the teacher needs to stop putting pressure on her: don't assume that the teacher is. I didn't get that from the original post. The fact of the matter is that there are x number of students in the class. Some will finish VERY quickly, some in the middle, and some are slower. At some point, you do have to move on. Either it is time for lunch or art class or the rest of the class is ready to move on, etc. That doesn't mean that pressure is put on students. In my class, if a student has been working but just didn't complete it, I give them options. Sometimes they are able to keep working while we move on to something else. Or they can finish the work during a "free choice" time, take it home to finish it, or often, just not finish it. That is the reality of teaching "non cookie cutter" children. Everyone doesn't get everything finished.<br><br>
If your dd isn't stressed about not finishing things, and the teacher isn't stressing her out about it, I'd let it go. However, I might play some "race against the clock" games with her. Some children just don't have enough experience with time to know how to "hurry up" or "work faster." So even when the teacher says "We have five minutes left" the child does not know how to evaluate how much time it will take to complete the task at hand.
 

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I think that if I were in this situation, I'd ask the teacher what that means. I read Trini's response above, and it resonates with me, I can totally see that scenario, but I'm very much a part of the education system so I have "insider" information that maybe not all parents have. So, again, I'd ask what that means, that my dd is working slowly, and allow the teacher to elaborate--is the teacher concerned? Does the teacher think she could finish if she had two extra minutes? <i>Can</i> she have two extra minutes, if that's the case? Is the teacher just informing to see if you say that you've noticed it at home? See what I mean? Sometimes just asking a few clarifying questions will help pinpoint it more from you. Maybe she <i>is</i> pressuring and expecting a cookie cutter. But maybe not. Maybe she's covering bases so that next year nobody comes back her way--I find lots of us do things to ensure that the finger is not later pointed at us, kwim? I don't mean that negatively, just an observation on human behavior...Anyway, I've noticed similar things with my ds' first grade teacher. She makes statements to me that I find cryptic and I'm not always sure where to go with them. I usually ask ds about the topic in general and see where it leads us. Then I give feedback to the teacher later based on that..."You know Ms. H, I asked Liam about X and I'm thinking maybe Y?" Sometimes she's just venting. Sometimes she's asking for my help, and sometimes she's simply observing, but she's a hard read for me so I always feel slightly lost in my interactions with her. So maybe try that? I'm not sure you're wanting this to be a big issue and I don't think it has to be but maybe if you follow it up with a conversation with dd and then feedback to the teacher you'll feel you have more information on it to work with?
 

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<span>My son and his friends probably wouldn't have been able to do a worksheet at all at her age; and they've done very well in college --> In other words, yes, I think you should just "chill"- it's all too easy to take these things much too seriously waaaaaay waaaaaaay before they matter. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"><br><br>
Your daughter is under no obligation to please the school - certainly not at her age. They're there to serve her needs. I think anything you say to her about working faster could damage her confidence and put questions in her mind. Here's a very interesting statement that's been endorsed by over 150 educators and researchers, and you can read their names and positions at the bottom of it:<br><br>
A Call to Action on the Education of Young Children<br><br><a href="http://www.allianceforchildhood.net/pdf_files/call_action_education.pdf" target="_blank">http://www.allianceforchildhood.net/..._education.pdf</a><br><br>
Excerpt:</span>
<blockquote></blockquote><span>"Preschool education must not follow the same path that has led kindergartens toward intense academic instruction with little or no time for child-initiated learning. If such practices were effective for five-year-olds, we would have seen better long-term results by now. We call for a reversal of the pushing down of the curriculum that has transformed kindergarten into de facto first grade.<br><br>
Education is not a race where the prize goes to the one who finishes first. To help young children develop literacy and a lifelong love of learning we need to respect and, when needed, to strengthen their individual abilities and drive to learn. Instead, current trends in early education policy and practice heighten pressure and stress in children’s lives, which can<br>
contribute to behavioral and learning problems. We call for research on the causes of increased levels of anger, misbehavior, and school expulsion among young children."<br></span>
<span>And here's a chapter of Child's Work, by Vivian Gussin Paley. She was a kindergarten and nursery school teacher for thirty-seven years, has received numerous awards and accolades, and written 11 books. In this chapter, she describes the way 1st grade curriculum has made its way into kindergarten and caused an increase of LD labels and meds:<br><br>
Big "A", Little "a" :<br><a href="http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/644871.html" target="_blank">http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/644871.html</a><br><br>
- Lillian</span>
 

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you know, i always have worked really slowly *and carefully, methodically* in everything i do, and i've also always tested in the 99th percentile in just about every category.<br><br>
i think, 1) students should not be rushed if they are focused on their work, and 2) that teacher really needs to chill.<br><br>
(fwiw this is one of the reasons i'm homeschooling ~ so my kids can work at their own pace!)<br><br>
good luck! i hope your daughter can find a coping mechanism that works for her.
 

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Could the worksheets your dd doesn't finish be sent home in a special folder or something, so that if she wants to finish them she can? I've seen some children get very upset because they want to finish their work, but aren't given enough time.<br><br>
How many worksheets a day are children in her class doing? It seems to me that a couple would be okay, but if the teacher is relying on worksheets, that's not cool (with me, anyway).<br><br>
I hope you find a solution that works for you and your dd!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>klothos</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">you know, i always have worked really slowly *and carefully, methodically* in everything i do, and i've also always tested in the 99th percentile in just about every category.</div>
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<span>You reminded me of when my son was in 1st grade, and he thought he was poor at math. The teacher told me it was just that he was careful, whereas the other kids rushed through to get to recess (it was a little private school where things were informal), so he was doing the work right and was actually her best math student. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> Lillian</span>
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks everyone for your great suggestions and advice! Makes me feel good to know that my instincts were right about this and not to pressure her to work faster. DD's teacher has been a kindergarten teacher for many years and we really like and respect her. She did say in the conference how much expectations have changed for kindergarten. She said even 3 years ago they were not doing nearly as much at this stage, and what a shame it is that now they only have play time twice a week.<br><br>
As for the worksheets, I would say there are 2 or three pretty much every day. Does that seem like too many? I never thought about that. There is one per week that is brought home for homework.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>KalamazooMom</strong></div>
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As for the worksheets, I would say there are 2 or three pretty much every day. Does that seem like too many? I never thought about that. There is one per week that is brought home for homework.</div>
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I think it really depends on what else she is doing. I hardly use ANY worksheets. Sometimes my students do one for "morning work" (when they enter in the morning and I am doing attendance, lunch count, etc), but they often do journals, reading, or manipulatives during that time. I do find, though, that my students LOVE worksheets. They think of it as "real schoolwork" and will ask for extras to bring home and "play school." I do not send home worksheets for homework, but I know some of my parents have their child complete workbook pages on their own. I see a worksheet as just one way (and not usually the best way) for students to demonstrate knowledge.<br><br>
If your dd is happy, and you feel that she is learning, then I think whatever number of worksheets her teacher is using is just fine. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>KalamazooMom</strong></div>
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As for the worksheets, I would say there are 2 or three pretty much every day. Does that seem like too many? I never thought about that. There is one per week that is brought home for homework.</div>
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My DS is in kindergarten at a public school, granted it is a Waldorf inspired one, but no worksheets at all, and definitely no homework. The children don't get regular homework until at least third grade, but even then it is not every night as far as I know. My 2nd grader doesn't even have worksheets. The school rates as excellent on the standarized tests too, and they get very little if any test "prep", so its not like they are getting a substandard education.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">She said even 3 years ago they were not doing nearly as much at this stage, and what a shame it is that now they only have play time twice a week.</td>
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I agree, it is a shame. But that is a whole other post.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>KalamazooMom</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">... and what a shame it is that now they only have play time twice a week.</div>
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<span><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shake.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shake"> I sure hope this trend gets turned around by all the educators and researchers who are starting to make a fuss about it.<br><br>
-Lillian</span>
 

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If she ends up with a 1st or 2nd grade teacher that has a problem with her not completing her work in class I'd just insist she send it home with her to finish and get off the kid's back allready. But hopefully you'll end up with another wonderful teacher that values quality over quantity.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>moondiapers</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">If she ends up with a 1st or 2nd grade teacher that has a problem with her not completing her work in class I'd just insist she send it home with her to finish and get off the kid's back allready. But hopefully you'll end up with another wonderful teacher that values quality over quantity.</div>
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Yes, I think that's a good idea.<br><br>
BTW, there was a worksheet on Friday DD apparently didn't finish. The teacher put it in her folder to bring home with a note to finish it. We worked on it on Saturday. Took her maybe 3 minutes to finish it up. I think all of you who have basically told me to "chill" about this are on the right track! Thanks again.
 
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