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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am doing a short (four week) job of teaching preschool dance classes for a new dance studio (not my regular one).

One of the little girls (three years old) came to class and didn't have her ballet shoes in her dance bag. We change from tap shoes to ballet shoes about halfway through class. The little girl said something like "Mommy didn't put my ballet shoes in my bag."

The assistant (came with the class, I didn't have a choice in the matter, she's young, married, no kids) started talking to the child about "Who's responsible for YOUR dance shoes? YOU are."

This just really touched a nerve with me. I don't think that a three year old is old enough to be responsible for their own dance shoes. At that age, it is totally up to the mom to make sure that the child has everything she needs for class. I didn't stop and tell the assistant not to do that. She came with the class, knows the kids, this is a short assignment for me, and I didn't want to make waves.

What would be a GD way of handling this situation (child not having the right shoes)? I have my opinion, and I'd like to hear yours.

Cross posted in Childhood Years forum.
 

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I'm not sure how this is a discipline problem. This sounds like Mommy forgot to put the right shoes in the bag and I would just remind the Mother to put the shoes in the bag.

But, I have a 3yo who isn't very verbal, so I couldn't imagine someone trying to tell him that it was his responsibility. I don't think he could even comprehend that.
 

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Oh my, I don't think there is any way a 3 year old is old enough to be responsible for dance shoes!

My son played t-ball this past spring in the 4 year old league and I kept up with everything, his glove, cleats, etc. I'm sorry, but he's just not old enough to remember to gather and be responsible for all of that stuff.

I know in our 4 year old league when someone forgot a glove, hat or cleats (which happened often) they played anyway. It's not a safety issue, and our league was all about fun. I think I'd do the same thing with dance, unless it was some sort of safety issue .. I'd let her dance barefoot or something.
 

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I cannot imagine my 3yo being responsible for remembering her things. When we go to swimming I pack her bag with her 'help' but I am the adult who has to remember everything. In fact, I have a dsd who still needed some 'help' remembering her things for iceskating when she was 10. Even now at 13 I still have to remind her. I think it's called being a mother.
: Three is bit young to have such high expectations IMO.

If dancing barefoot that day was an option that's what I would have done in your scenario.

BTW My dh cannot seem to remember his "stuff" either how can discipline him?


Peace
 

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I am very much in the "You need to be responsible for your stuff" camp.

BUT, a three year old is not old enough to pack a dance bag without guidance. So, no, I would expect that this in Mom and Dad's job to make sure the ballet shoes are in the bag.

Forgetting dance shoes isn't really a big deal anyway. I assume she could still dance just fine in bare feet. The assistant shouldn't ahve said anything other than "That's O.K"
 

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I hold my 6 yo son totally responsible for his soccer socks and shinguards, but he's 6 years old! When he took swim lessons last year, I packed the bag for him, and asked him to make sure everything was there and ready. I would sometimes "forget" to put in the towel, or the goggles, and he'd figure that out right away.

It's good to start teaching/showing them how to handle responsibility for their important things as early as possible, but at age 3, I'd say something like "we're leaving for dance class now, what do we need to bring with us?" and then go from there. As they get older it's more appropriate to ask them to be more responsible.

As for the teacher's asst, I wouldn't sweat her reaction. If she doesn't have her own children, she really has no idea what she's talking about in this instance.
 

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No way. My 3 year old wouldn't even understand that, and she IS very verbal. At this point in her life, I am responsible for helping her remember things. Heck, my 9 year old has a hard time remembering things .. let alone my 3 yo old.
 

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How about this GD speech to the ASSISTANT:

"3 year olds are not old enough to remember to pack all of their things. Children need to be made comfortable in order to do their best. Making it seem like it's her fault isn't going to make her comfortable, and it isn't developmentally appropriate.

A better way to say this would be "let's remind your mom to help you pack your ballet shoes" or "what do you think you can do so you remember your ballet shoes?" to get the child to think about it."

Just because the assistant came with the class doesn't mean that you can't help her learn too!
 

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I think a 3yo is old enough for a parent to try and encourage responsibility, but not to actually be responsible.

For example, I think it's a good idea for the parent to say "OK, sweetie, time to put the dance shoes in the dance bag" and watch while the child does it, rather than the parent actually doing it. However, it's the parent's job to remind the child and actually watch to make sure it was done, as well as to make sure they're still in the bag when it's time to go to dance class.
 

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It sounds like the assistant just isn't familiar with what children can and cannot be expected to do. I would just take her aside and tell her that three year olds simply don't have the intellectual capability or maturity to be responsible for their stuff
 

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In our 4 yo's dance class, if a child shows up without shoes they are allowed to dance in tights. The only exception is recitals.

No, preschoolers cannot be expected to remember and manage their own sports gear.
 

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I don't think she should be fully responsible...but she could be reminded - as in "we have dance class after supper, don't forget to pack your ballet slippers." At 3 years old, it's a perfect age to begin teaching responsiblity for their own stuff.
 

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Confession here: my DD started camp the other day and since she goes in a bathing suit, she is supposed to bring underwear. I forgot to pack it.
:

I would never say a 3 year old is responsible for remembering her own shoes. The mom made a boo boo and I've made plenty of the same ones.

The assistant needs to work on her approach.
 

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My guess? The assistant is parroting something a teacher said to her that she remembers from her childhood. Only it wasn't when she was 3.

I think some gentle and kind feedback to the assistant might really help her.
 

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I bet this is a policy the assistant advocates for kids in general, and she hasn't given much thought to whether younger kids are really up to it.

When I became a leader of Junior Girl Scouts (4th-6th grades) after years as assistant leader of Brownies, one thing I wanted to change was to give the girls more of the responsibility for their paperwork and supplies. I say, "It is YOUR responsibility." quite a bit, and it's been somewhat effective. But the youngest girls in my troop are 9! That's very different from 3.

I'd suggest that the assistant say, "Sometimes mommies forget! Next time, check to make sure you have your shoes before you leave your house." That nudges the child to take some responsibility without blaming her or putting it 100% on her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks for all the replies. I'm about to leave to go to work, so I'm going to copy and paste my latest post from the other thread I started about this:

I think 3 yrs old is too young to be expected to remember their shoes. It's totally about the parents remembering at that point. I still have to remind my 11 yr old to check her dance bag the day before class (so dirty tights will have a chance to drip dry after being washed).

In my regular classes, if a child doesn't have her shoes, she can borrow some out of the loaner bins, or she can dance in sock feet or barefoot.

But this was at a different studio, and I was just taken aback by what the assistant was saying and couldn't form words to convey (in an unemotional and helpful way) that this kind of communication just really shouldn't be done.

I have a hard time recognizing shaming - a holdover from my own rather horrid upbringing, filled with shaming and manipulation. But this just felt so ICK when it happened.

I don't know at this point what I'm going to do, with regards to the assistant. If this kind of treatment of children is acceptable at this studio, then I don't want to work there come fall. But the studio owner is out of town right now, and I don't want to try to handle this by email (especially during a Mercury retrograde).

I think I just need to stand up for myself - AND the kids - a little more in class. The assistant has repeatedly NOT done what I've asked for in class, or done what they had been doing during the school year in that class, instead of what I was telling the kids (and her) to do.

My husband says I just need to find my spine.
 
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