Sunday, February 17, 2008

BOY is stressed

BOY has been going part-time to the daycare for 2 years now. We have up until this year, been really thrilled with his care there and how much he has loved it. But, this year there have been noticeable differences. It is almost as if he has skipped a grade. He is in a Pre-K program and although the intent is to have him do the program for an additional year next year, what is being asked of him this year is a lot for BOY. In most other programs, BOY would be in a 4 year old class. This daycare has no class in-between the 3 year old room and the Pre-K class. For many children, maybe most children, this is not an issue. But, for our active, sensitive little guy, who is like the little engine that could - because he gets there, but in his own time, it is challenging. He is not meeting their expectations. He is being compared to other children, rather than compared to himself. We see the growth in him. They see what he isn't doing compared to others his age. I think it is vitally important to expect children to develop in their own time. If he wasn't meeting the basic milestones for a 4 year old, that would be something to look at more closely. But, he is!

I have always had a hesitation when they wanted to progress him to the next class. I saw the advantage of him having an extra year. But, the teachers thought he was ready to progress. This year, socially it was the right choice. He has formed close friendships with a few boys and it would have been difficult to see his friends across the hall, and not be with them. But, there is such an advantage in being an older child in his class. Last year, some of his classmates were his age now, in the room with 3 year olds. What a gift, that extra year. And our hope was that him having that extra year next year would be what he needs. But, the current situation doesn't feel right.

The one thing, the important thing, in which we are on the same page with the daycare about is this... BOY is stressed. The stress is coming from his relationship to his school and no one wants him to be stressed. But, where our opinions differ is why he is feeling stressed. Their feeling appears to be that he has the problems. He is the one not fitting their parameters. They don't appear to see that they could offer him more choices. If it is hard for him to sit at a table in a small group, perhaps they could have him stand at the table. If he speaks out during circle time saying, "Are we done yet?, I'm done"- well, maybe he is bored. These are pretty basic concepts, but apparently not something they have thought of.

He is my son. He is precious. And he should be respected for who he is. Not for who they think he should be. Will the 1/2 days fix it? I'm not sure it will. But, maybe because BOY has always loved school until recently, it is worth giving it a try.

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  1. Bless his heart. I hope you are able to work this out with them. I want him to keep loving school.

  2. I hope this works out as well. I hated school from the first moment, and it was entirely because I was excruciatingly bored the entire 12 (16, 18 years, if you include grad school). Hopefully the teachers and leaders at the school will begin to see that the problem is not with your precious Boy.

  3. 4 is such a young age to be pressured to conform. I would hate for him to come to dislike school so early. I hope you and the school can come to an understanding that addresses his needs.

  4. Have you thought of finding a different school for him?

    My 4 kids all went to a totally play-based preschool; no Pre-K, no learning letters, only playing and having fun. Also, 3-5 year olds were all together; they learned from each other.

    They have all done well, and never disliked school. Sometimes I wonder what the people that run preschools are thinking when they have such unrealistic expectations for kids. You are so right--don't let anyone quash his unique spirit.

  5. I just read this post and your last: Hang in there! I am SO with you on this. We went through a nearly identical situation with our son. His nursery school was very structured and demanded a lot of sit still and listen time. He started acting out: crying when he had to "transition", for instance, or throwing tantrums.

    The instructors pressured us to take him to a cognitive behaviorist: they saw it as a psychological problem with Zach. However, we saw the problem as a too-structured environment, with too many demands.

    We wound up placing him in a Montessori nursery school, and he did much better. However, Kindergarten and the first half of 1st grade were still challenges, with teachers insisting that he was in need of therapy. Now, "miraculously", he's doing okay -- in other words, he had a chance to mature.

    In my opinion, pre-K has turned into Kindergarten, and Kindergarten has turned into first or second grade. Kids are expected to sit and absorb abstract concepts, with less recess, gym or social time. The kids that seem to handle this better tend to be mature girls or children that have been held back a year.

    I see a LOT of kids struggling with this, so don't for a minute think that you're alone. The most appalling and frustrating thing to me is, the school never says: "Gee, we seem to have an awful lot of kids with learning disorders/psych problems. Could it be our curriculum? Could it be how we structure the school day? What can WE do to help?" Instead it's: "Your kid has a problem. Go get help."

    Kudos to you for sticking to your guns, which can be a hard thing to do. I hope your little guy will feel better this week - He's JUST FINE.

  6. just catching up with the last two posts...

    I'm glad you're able to be so flexible and available while you work through this. Just hold on, keep thinking clearly, and sooner than you'd believe, you'll find an answer.

  7. When you say that they see him as the one who has a problem, what does that translate to in terms of a response? Does it mean that they do nothing and simply expect him to change? Because that's not going to happen. Like it or not, they're the ones who have to make some kind of change, either in their expectations or their handling of him. It's not like you can just tell a four-year-old to start behaving differently and expect him to comply.

  8. Hi! I found your blog from Holly!
    I can totally relate to your situation too!
    My son is three and very shy. His teachers think he has a problem--apparently a three year old boy is not allowed to be shy :(
    It's very frustrating when teachers like to put our boys in boxes--I am dreading when the teachers want to push drugs down their throats, but I am really going off on a tangent here.....
    Stay strong, you are your son's best teacher. It is not worth it for your little guy to be stressed, not now.

  9. I definitely don't like that they don't seem willing to work with your Boy - that is just hard on everyone. I hope it words out going to 1/2 days - I hope! Take care - Kellan

  10. Four is awfully young to force into conformity, or to feel stressed.

    My fingers are crossed for you that the 1/2 days will help. Sending good thoughts...

  11. I hope the half days work out. My daughter attends a "learn through play" preschool. It's less structured.

  12. My heart hurts for boy and knows that you will figure out how to best de-stress him.

  13. You're both right. He simply doesn't belong in that class, and there is nothing wrong with that! If the shoe doesn't fit, take it off. There are other schools, and there are other play settings.

  14. Checking out your blog again- you are my first kindred blog friend! My heart hurts for y'all. Remember that YOU are his mother, and God gave us our intuition about our little ones. Trust those feelings.......
    Come by for tea anytime!


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