M.A. asks from Richmond, CA on September 30, 2008
My 4Yr Old Is Behind the Other 4 Year Olds in Her Pre K Class!! HELP!
First I must start off by excepting full responsibility for my daughter being behind the other 4 yr old kids in her Pre K class. Since my daughter was 3yrs old she was ready for school always telling me she didn't want to go to daycare anymore with the babies she wants to go to school with the big kids, however mommy was not ready to handle the steady constant routine of a school age child, especially since she was only 3 and the average 3 yr old is still at home with mom or dad or in daycare...
Anyhow Our life has been unfortunately pretty unstable for the past 2 1/2 years and my only concern at that time was a roof over our head clothes on our back and food. Aside from praying with my daughter EVERYNIGHT, reading her books EVERYNIGHT somewhere I failed to keep up with the preschool fundamentals. I left that responsibility up to her daycare/preschool provider, activity work books and Sprout (the TV channel) and I didn't reinforce the knowledge so it could stick... I know sad right?? (this is why Im reachcing out to fellow moms)
My problem now is my daughter is lazy and doesn't like to try. She's capable and most of the time knows how to and exactly what to do but refuses and would rather spend hours battling with mom just to write her name (and she knows how to write her name by the way)then turn around and go to school and wont write a letter, her name, say her numbers shapes nothing, barely talks to the teacher. So now her Pre K teacher thinks she wont be ready for Kindergarten if this keeps up!!!
I myself, have to work on my self control and patience with my daughter, I have to keep reminding myslef this is all new too her..be patient, which I'm prgressing with. But it's the laziness and braty behavior that frustrates me because my daughter is smart and she knows this!!! I've tried books, creating songs, flash cards the informations just wont stick. Maybe im not giving it enough time?? She just left daycare in August into Pre K and her daycare teacher had majority babies so she didn't really keep up with the older kids development and neither did I which is why I moved her into Prek.
Q: What were some of your children's ages when they began to read and write? Did Pre K help them for Kindergarten?
4 moms found this helpful
So What Happened?™
Thank you to all the moms that responded to my stressful request!!!! I appreciate all the suggestions of books, advice and activities.. I am going to RELAX lol and make it my goal to make learning fun!! Im also very interested in reading the "The Myth of Laziness", "Kitchen Table Play & Learn" & "Waldorf Education". I let the comments of others and my own guilt get the best of me. I turned in a drill srgt monster over night and didn't realize it. :o)... I'm back and focused on my daughter enjoying this time of her childhood.. I love mamasource thank you MOMS!!!
All have a wonderful day, I actually feel really good now after hearing all the advice.
P.W. answers from San Francisco on October 01, 2008
BACK OFF!!!!!! She is only 4. She is NOT behind the other kids because she didn't go to preschool. It is more likely just her personality or ability.
If you start battling her now on this be prepared for a life of misery and constant battling. Let this be between her and her teachers, and just do normal stuff with her at home. Cook with her, talk to her, read to her, take her interesting places. LET THE TEACHERS DEAL WITH HER SCHOOLWORK! That's what they are being paid for.
I have three kids, and their scholastic styles and abilities have been in place since they were in preschools and haven't changed.
My oldest son always had to do things his way, and never tried very hard and was an underachiever. I battled with him a lot over his schoolwork. He is smart however, and was identified as a GATE (gifted and talented) student. He's now in college and I'm still waiting for his GATEness to emerge.
My daughter is pretty smart, and really wants her A's, so she works hard, and usually gets them.
My youngest son has always been the one at the front of the class, absorbing everything and doing everything the teacher wanted - the opposite of his brother. He effortlessly gets all A's, and he wants to get all his schoolwork done ahead of time.
In short, as teens they are all still the same as they were when they were in preschool, and very little of it was because of me and how much I did or did not battle them. If I had it to do all over again I would NOT battle my oldest child about his schoolwork. It never made a damn bit of difference. I would instead focus on having a happy home.
C.B. answers from San Francisco on October 01, 2008
First of all, stop worrying. My daughter is now in 1st grade, and we went through the same thing. Even in kindergarten I would do flash cards, read with her, etc., and she would not retain any of the information. Her teacher told me it was normal for her age. I remember how frustrated my husband would get when she was in preschool because he would try to do flashcards with her and try to get her to read her Bob Books and she just wanted nothing of it. She is now in 1st grade and is doing just fine. She is showing interest now in reading and is retaining information much better. We use a lot of positive feedback, like I get REALLY excited when she gets things right and she gets little treats (small toys) when she progresses from one section to the next. That really seemed to help. But for now I really would not worry about it. She is still so young. And when she gets to kindergarted there will be a mix of children, some who have had years of preschool and teaching and some who stayed home and had none. They all seemed to do just fine and were at the same level by the end of the year. Don't worry!!!
K.F. answers from Salinas on October 01, 2008
Hi M., I would back way off. She is only 4 and school should be nothing but fun at this stage. Both my girls had two years of pre-school but we purposely didn't do "pre-K" classes as we wanted to avoid anything academic at such a young age. They are in first & fifth now at an excellent school and doing great. Lots of people think we Americans push our kids way too hard to read and do school work at a young age. Why is it we accept huge development differences in toddlers (ie. walking, talking etc.) but as soon as they are preschoolers they are all supposed to learn at the same rate. You seem like you are taking way too much responsibility for this, I would just stop "working with her" at all. Keep reading everyday, chapter books and stuff that requires her concentration, she won't even know how good it is for her. Count or do phonics when you are out or in the car, rhyming songs and letter sounds. If she doesn't want to do something don't try to make her it'll just turn her off. She has a whole year before Kinder and if she still isn't ready what's wrong with waiting another year? Try not to be so hard on yourself it looks like your raising your daughter on your own, under tough circumstances. As for your question about reading/writing my older daughter went to a alternative charter school where they never really "taught" her to read. By first grade she just started on her own and is now at a very academic school getting straight A's and LOVES to read constantly. My first grader went only to the academic school that they attend now. They pushed academics pretty hard so she was reading in Kinder. I will say now in first that although she is doing very well she doesn't seem to enjoy it as much and I hope she doesn't get burned out as the years pass. Whatever you do don't let your relationship suffer, your love and spending quality time with your daughter is way more important then some arbitrary deadline for learning. You sound like a great Mom, hang in there!
1 mom found this helpful
J.H. answers from Sacramento on October 01, 2008
Wow! Lots of good advice from other moms, similar to what I'm about to say.
1) PreK is not Kindergarten--it is just for learning to follow directions, socialize with others, and sit at "circle."
2) Kindergarten is an optional grade--children can enter at first grade if they have developed the skills at home that they might have developed in kindergarten. These skills are things like learning to write your name, counting to 30, reading, writing and recognizing those numbers, reciting the alphabet and the sounds the letters represent, and writing the letters, writing simple sentences such as "I like milk."(no emphasis on capital letters and punctuation), and reading a small number of sight words. This information can be obtained from the California Department of Education website link to state standards for mathematics and language arts. Remember that these are skills the child has obtained in Kindergarten and needs to have to be successful in FIRST grade.
3) Children can start kindergarten at age 6, and some should. School is not daycare, and some children are not ready. This reason is why so many children are retained at the kindergarten level.
I've been teaching kindergarten through third grade and often times it is the early start children that struggle in these primary grades and who are retained in these grades.
That's my input; therefore, I suggest you find an alternative preschool for your daughter.
1 mom found this helpful
K.H. answers from Fresno on October 01, 2008
My son went through a phase right before he turned 4. He would tell me "I don't know how to write that letter or what shape that is." The frustrating thing was that I knew that he knew the answer. I can relate with the frustration. I noticed that when I would show even a little bit of frustration, he would clam up and not want to do any kind of learning.
I got a dry erase board, and we started by playing with it, and drawing things and he would try to draw the same things, and then we slowly moved back to the letters shapes and numbers. I found that by making the learning fun at home, he did better at school and with me.
Another thing that I did is took a picture of something for every letter of the alphabet, such as a picture of an apple for "A" or a cat for "C", then I cut out a letter every other day and had him glue it on a peice of construction paper and then we search through the pictures to find the one that we could glue next to the letter. It takes hardly any time and gives them a fun learning experience.
Hang in there. It sounds like you just have a strong willed child. Praise her alot for the things that she does good.
1 mom found this helpful
S.C. answers from San Francisco on October 01, 2008
Children live by example and in a positive atmosphere. What are you doing while she's doing homework? Watching your favorite show on TV while she sits writing over and over? While cooking dinner, are you involving her? Count spoonful the beans, cut the cupcake in half or quarters (teaches measurements and numbers)My kids use to love their sanwiches cut into as many bite-size pieces I could make! Reward Charts are excellent also. Kids love to earn stars, happy stickers etc. I use to tape a nickel for each day and a quarter to Friday (use a calander- teach days of the week, how many weeks in a month and month name) The sticker reward was for good school report from the teacher that day and money after home work done for the day. The amount of stickers earned equalled a reward at the end of the month. I'd find "free" places of intrest and plan to go. Or take her money and buy an icecream. Pack up sandwiches (cut into pieces!)and a blanket and eat at the park under a tree. But the money earned it went in their piggy bank and were allowed to use it that week end or as they learned, save it longer, you can buy more! Teaches earning, discipline, money, counting etc. But all the ideas given by anyone will only work IF YOU stick to the rules and not give in to the "PLEASE MOMMY" or the tears/tantrum.
It's not always easy being the one to say no or make rules stick. In the long run, you were given the responcibility for this wonderful blessing of a child. You are her example, good or bad. She watches you. But no matter what avenues you take to help her, mix in plenty of hugs and kisses!
A Little about me:
I have raised two. My daughter is a Child Behavior Specalist with Autism. My son teaches chemistry/physics and Leadership at High School Level. I was a mom at 18 years old, I am a mammography tech, volunteer with the American Cancer Society. My most rewarding job, yes, you guessed it, raising my children!
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E.E. answers from San Francisco on October 01, 2008
Don't stress out about this and stop giving yourself such a hard time! I taught preschool (pre-k) for years and I can tell you that the fact that she is enrolled at all will help give her an educational boost for kindergarten. Some things to consider:
Kids learn through play so making learning games will produce more results than worksheets will.
Preschool is not mandatory and last I checked Kindergarten is not required either. Some kids start school with absolutely no school experience at all and do fine. You can still put your daughter in kindergarten without the endorsement of you preschool teacher if you think she is smart enough. She may need more than preschool can offer.
If your daughter is stubborn and is getting a rise out of you she will continue to give you a hard time. Try not to engage in a power struggle with her. If she doesn't want to write her name don't make her. Just say okay and go do something else without her. She wants your attention and she will be more likely to comply this way. Negative attention is still attention so give her positive attention (by her working with you) or no attention.
Good preschool teachers know how to engage children of all learning styles and personalities. If they are complaining that she is behind ask them what their plan is to get her on track. If there is no progress in a reasonable amount of time (say within 2 months), switch preschools. Ask around for referrals from your friends and other moms in your community. Some preschools are better than others and you kinda get what you pay for too.
Well, I hope you will be able to relax and stop blaming yourself for what is going on. Kids are resilient and you seem like a great mom.
1 mom found this helpful
M.S. answers from Redding on October 01, 2008
My dear, you have so much on your plate.Believe me, I can relate...I even was a fashion designer (childrens' wear) many years ago. Step back and take a breath. Your daughter is only 4-years-old. Still a baby in my book.Perhaps you are expecting too much. Or maybe that teacher is playing off your own fears. Sad to say, some people get a certain satisfaction in making another feel badly or insecure or not good enough or....well, you get the picture. While reading is wonderful, not all children take an interest or start doing it at the same time. That's what we have school for--in theory. But remember that schools have a vested interest in seeing to it that all students do things at the same time. They like an homoginized approach because it is orderly and let's face it, they're dealing with a bunch of kids. In reality, each child is different and comes with a unique set of interests and possibilities. You say your child can write her name? Great! But she won't write it at school? Maybe she's uncomfortable in the situation. Maybe somebody told her she was doing it wrong, or not well enough or who knows what? Take a moment to really examine what is and isn't going on at her pre-K. Don't immediately think that it's your child who's the problem. Remember, perception creates reality. This is not a paradigm you want to create with your child. And relax. If it's any consolation, my youngest. who I home schooled, didn't start reading until she was eight, though of course, I read to her A LOT. She's now a junior in a very top drawer college back east, with an almost full scholarship. Best of all, she loves learning. That's what we want, isn't it? For them to love learning? Never stop trying with your child. If she's not into what you're showing her, try a different tact. Keep your sense of humor and don't be intimidated by teachers who don't really know your child and will never care about her the way you do.
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K.W. answers from San Francisco on October 01, 2008
Let me first say, wow, that sounds like a lot on your plate, and second off I hear a LOT of guilt from you which I'm sure is NOT helping with the frustration level.
Have you tried setting aside a time once a night where you spend 30 minutes or so with her going over certain things like numbers/colors/name etc. That maybe has some sort of reward at the end of the week. If she does all of the "work" in that 30 minutes than she gets a star, if she gets 7 stars she gets an ice cream on Friday type of deal?? or she gets to make cookies with you on Saturday, etc.
Another idea to help you with your frustration and to maybe get some more ideas of how to help her want to learn, there are parenting classes thru a few different county resources, you'd have to check thru your local parks and recs, or maybe even the licensing board in your community. I also noticed at this very fun place in Berkeley we went to a B-day party at (very fun/hands on educational place) that they have parenting classes as well not sure if there is a fee, but I think the museum is free so the classes may be too. It's called Habitot (habitot.org is the website).
I hope that helps, and my last thought is she really might be acting out a little because of all the changes (don't take it personal, I trust you did the best you could with what you were going thru), so she may just need a little more love and attention to help stear her through this.....you might need some yourself.
My heart goes out to you, it's hard when your child isn't doing everything you thought they should.....don't beat yourself up, it will get better and she's so young that this is the BEST time to get her caught up.
Good luck to you
M.K. answers from Chico on October 01, 2008
PreK is mostly for the socialization and following rules and order imposed by a teacher as opposed to in the home environment. If you are getting into shouting matches and arguments, there is too much pressure, in my opinion, and it'd be better to back off and see what happens. Encourage her to name letters and draw, and look at books with you, but don't force it. Good luck!