Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Best Taken With A Grain Of Salt

Kat goes to pre-school two mornings a week. A few days ago I had a meeting with her teacher and "para" (aide, assistant or whatever they're called in your school).

They sat me at one of the little tables and handed me a sheet of paper titled "SUMMERY OF OBSERVANCES". That misspelling should have been my first clue that the meeting wasn't going to go well.

Basically, they had nothing positive to tell me. They said Kat can't count to ten, can't identify the basic colors, can't identify basic shapes, can say her name but can't write or recognize it, and doesn't participate in classroom singing activities.

I asked what she can do, and they said "Well, she can cut pretty well with scissors."

They buffered all of this by saying she was one of the youngest kids in the class, that she may just be immature, that there is nothing that says she won't do better before the year is over and that there is nothing that says she must start Kindergarten next year.

And of course they seemed skeptical when I told them that she does all of the things they say she can't do, on a regular basis, both at home and at daycare. (Although I admit she often forgets the number six.) They didn't seem to believe me when I told them that singing is one of her favorite activities.

I guess it should be enough that I know she can do these things, but I'm still a little upset that the meeting was all gloom and doom and that they made the scissor comment as if they were throwing me a bone.

If this is a preview of parent-teacher conferences in years to come, I'm not looking forward to them.

At all.


Tug said... I think I'd be looking into a different pre-school if she does all that and THEY can't bring it out of her.


Violet said...

That is frustrating. And, if you think Kat is ready for kindergarten next year, she will be fine. Trust me... even if she makes NO progress before that time (which she will), she wouldn't be the only child who forgets the number six or struggles to write her name.

ajooja said...

I'm with Em. She'll be OK.

I was the youngest in my class, so I'll always wish someone would have held me back.

However, I think it's different for girls. If they're even close to ready, send them. If it's a boy, you're better off holding them back.

Just my two cents. :)

Annie Jones said...

Tug: There are other pre-schools in town, but I had chosen this one because it is part of the local school district. I'll probably have her finish out the school year where she is, but if we do keep her out next year, I might switch to a different one.

Vi: To me it's really not an issue of whether she starts school at 5 or 6, but more about her teachers not being able to find anything positive to say. Makes me wonder if she gets the same negativity in the classroom, and if that's typical of teacher's throughout the district.

Ajooja: I was one of the older kids, and can't imagine having been in the class with the kids a year ahead or behind. But yeah, I can see how being one of the youngest boys in the class would be a problem, especially around age 12 or 13.

Donna said...

I'm a grandmother of far..My 2 cents worth is, be "in their faces" all year! Demand what you're paying for! The teacher friends I have all agree that teachers, all over, have sever problems with their administrators and their guidelines for what they can teach in the classroom. The squeeky wheel gets greased first! Sounds pushy? You bet!!!

DadGuy said...

Assuming the teachers aren't doing anything screwey, is Kat having some social issues? Do the teachers frighten/intimidate her? Our kids seem to do really well at preschool (and now kindergarten for our oldest), but the preschool is run two doors down out o fa lady's basement.

I'd actually mistrust a preschool more if it were part of a district rather than someone that's independent, but that's just me. None of the politics or any of that other crap to wade through. Also if the class is "too big" then she might just not be getting the attention she needs to understand what they want her to be doing.

Tough call, but as long as she is doing alright at home, then I'd focus on what you can do there. You might try volunteering once a month or something over there to see how things work.

Good luck, tough situation.

Annie Jones said...

Donna: That's just it. I'm not paying for it. Long story short, the daycare provider thought it might be a good idea to send Kat to the 2-morning-a-week free pre-school because all the other kids at daycare are under 2 years old. But as it turns out, she's learning far more at daycare than she seems to be in pre-school.

Dadguy: Yes! I think it is more a social issue than an academic one. She's an only-child accustomed to being around adults, or just one or two kids at a time, and as I told Donna, she's also used to being "the big kid" when she's with other children. She's timid around larger groups. I don't know if that trait is learned or hereditary, but both Jean and I remember being that way, too. I still am to an extent.