January 11, 2011,
R.O. asks from Oak Lawn, IL on January 09, 2011
Preschool - Am I Expecting Too Much
Our one and only child, who has been home with mom or dad almost every day of his life, started pre-school three months ago (mid semester). He is adjusting very well and has very little separation anxiety. We choose this pre-school for three major reasons: small class (8 students), communication and teamwork between teacher and parents (as stated in the handbook), and healthy snacks. Since starting school, our son has come home with a red mustache and talking about cookies and cupcakes. I have not asked the teachers about the snacks because he has otherwise been happy and that is most important to me. He gets health snacks at home, so a treat twice a week is a small price to pay if he is happy. BUT, I feel as if we were over sold on the communication between teachers and parents. From day one, we have to ask for feedback every time we pick him up. We’ll ask, “how was he”, “does he participate”, “is he coming out of his shell or is he shy”? We usually get short, brief answers, “good”, “ok”, “yeah, he does”, and “oh, he’s not shy” in response. The last time I picked him up the teacher told me he was having a problem with touching the other kids during circle time and distracting the other kids and that we needed to work on personal space with him. She said she frequently tells him to keep his hands to himself. We knew this may be a potential issue for him and have started working on it at home, but wanted some advice on what more we could do. I asked if she had any ideas on things we could do and she shrugged her shoulders and said no but she would think about it. I want to make sure this is handled properly so we don’t squash his sweet caring nature. I was also disappointed that this was all said in front of my son and the teachers daughter who is also in his class. I want school to be a positive experience and it broke my heart to have my son hear his teacher telling mommy he needed work. We use a lot of positive reinforcement in our home and feel it was unnecessary for him to hear this. I was also upset that his classmate, her daughter, heard it. I don’t want it to become a source of teasing or taunting. The lack of communication goes deeper. It is difficult to get the monthly calendars, we didn’t know about the Christmas program until two weeks ahead, then never got a list of songs to work on at home (there were A LOT of songs), and other minor things that we have shrugged off.
I don’t want to come off as a mommy who refuses to see areas of improvement in her child. My husband and I have developed a solid plan on working on the issue in a positive way. But am I expecting too much for the teacher to communicate with us privately, for some positive feedback now and then. Is it customary to have to wait for the parent-teacher conference for any REAL communication? I feel like we were oversold and they are under performing or like we got the bait and switch routine. I have NO idea what my child is doing in school. I ask him, and get nothing (he is 3, I am not surprised). But why isn’t the school keeping us informed on what the kids are doing and how they are progressing. What has your experience been? Is this normal and I am just expecting too much? Do I need to lower my standards and hope he is progressing?
Thank you all in advance for your input. I know how busy life can be, so I really do appreciate any feedback!
WOW, so many responses so fast. In response to some of the questions/statements:
We get a calendar at the start of every month. It gives basic info, when tuition is due, special days, no school days, etc. but does not give lesson plans. We did get on the first day back after break a 1 paragraph description on what the focus will be this “term”. Example, they are discussing winter weather. That is it!!!! That is why I am so starved for information. If I knew they were working on colors or shapes, or days of the week I could incorporate that into daily life. I am also curious to know if he has any good behaviors that can be praised or bad that need work. I would be thrilled if I had a generic report even once a month. My desire for info is the reason I ask at pick up for a hint of information.
This is a half day program and we do know the general routine: welcome, circle time, free play, circle time, guided play, music or movement, then snack and leave. I guess I just want to know what they are discussing in circle time.
Again, the 5 page parent handbook that sold us on this school was centered around parent teacher communication. I just don’t feel like a paragraph on general topics being discussed once a semester and a generic calendar once a month is living up to the expectations I had.
Mostly the parents provide snacks, I do have the teachers e-mail. The teacher responds promptly, but I have gotten the feeling that asking for more information might be over stepping. I don’t want to be unreasonable, that’s why I wanted to know what the norm was. The handbook just talked about teamwork and communication but didn’t get into specifics as to what or how they were going to communicate with us. Wish I would have known when we were interviewing them to ask that question.
JUST TO CLARIFY ...
I don't expect individual attention on a daily basis. I only ask the questions on a daily or sometimes weekly basis because I have NOTHING TO GO ON. If I had these weekly or even monthly take homes that many of you are mentioning I would be happy!!!!!!!!
D.S. answers from New York on January 09, 2011
I own and operate a preschool and I would like to give you a little insight on how my program works and most programs that I know to maybe give you some inside perspective. First, after 12 months we do not give daily written reports to any children, however we do have an open communication policy. My policy is not to have parents approach teachers while they are busy with a class,at pick up time or drop off time, or daily for that matter. If a parent has concerns they can call during rest time and speak with teachers directly so they can have their undivided attention. Second, no child has a perfect day everyday, this is why I do not agree with daily reports. Your child is three, he is learning the rules, that is why he is in preschool correct. You said yourself he has been home with you and dad, so learning to get along with his peers is a process and it takes time for him to develop his social skills. So he is going to test the boundaries, make mistakes, and hopefully learn from them. As far as written communication. I do a weekly newsletter to parents. It keeps them updated on what our theme of the week is and any upcoming events. I provide a written menu with breakfast snack, how lunch, and afternoon snack so parents know in advance what I am serving. We also do written evaluations twice a year along with a personal conference if needed. I also have e-mails for my staff as well as my own to communicate with parents. I find it so much more effective then notes sent home. Half the parents do not read what I send home. Snacks, we do have cupcakes for parties, and cookies sometimes as well. If you want all healthy snacks for your child ask if you can provide you own daily. Third, why would it be necessary for you to have a list of songs for the Christmas show so you can practice at home? He is already practicing at school, and I am sure that is the last thing he wants when he gets home is to have to do it again. Also, the best part of watching preschoolers in any type of program is when you get the unexpected from them. Perfection at three is not necessary. As far as the teacher reporting to you in front of your child I find that to be the most effective, this way the child knows his behavior is going to be reported to mom, it's not just assumed. Children are visual they need to know that what you say is going to happen, however I would do it in private and in my office, as I said with time put aside. Pick up time and drop off time are not times for conferences, staff taking their eyes off children to talk to parents is not safe. My biggest question to you is how can a 3 year old underperform? They are supposed to be there to have fun, learn to share, learn the rules, and how to follow directions. I say let him be and when something serious needs to be addressed I am sure you will be told. If I looked each day for something a child did wrong I would certainly find one, so unless it is major (hitting, biting, using bad language etc.) normal misbehavior is all learning to me. I do think you just need to relax, love him, teach him to have your values, morals, etc as you sound like you are doing. As far as monitoring his experiences everyday it may cast a shadow on him and make him insecure in school. He needs to learn how to socialize his own way, and not be constantly monitored. There are days he isn't going to sit in circle like an angel, he may not share, he may push, leave it up to his teachers to address, and guide him. If you do not trust them with your child then I suggest you go with your gut and find a different school. Good luck!!
15 moms found this helpful
M.P. answers from Pittsburgh on January 09, 2011
In a way I do think that you are expecting a little too much. At 3 in my boys preschool we did not get any type of report every day about anything that went on. In the 2 yo program we got a written communication but nothing after that...and to be honest I don't think that would have been necessary. I did have some seperation issues with my second and was always given the rundown on how he did when I picked him up...but short-just "he did fine after about 10 minutes". When there were some deeper issues they were always happy to talk with me for a couple of minutes after class. But that being said when teachers are letting out the kids there are a lot of parents waiting and it would be rude to them to hold up the dismissal by asking the teachers questions. This could possibly be why your teachers are so curt with you.
As for the Christmas show...you might just chalk that up to it is your first year there and you are learning the ropes of what goes on. It IS strange though that it is difficult to get a calender. We always got ours right before the new month. And as far as practicing the songs...it is preschool and nothing is expected to be perfect so therefore material for class shows is not sent home to practice. We never once received anything to practice at home with our sons.
And as for the discussion in front of the children: No offense but didn't you notice the two kids right there when you were asking your questions? In the future I would suggest that if that is something that bothers you you should look around and make sure nobody is there that you would not want to overhear.
9 moms found this helpful
P.K. answers from New York on January 09, 2011
I think you are expecting too much. If you have concerns, make an appoint-
ment with the teacher. You cannot expect them to discuss your concerns
and every others parents concerns while picking up etc. When you discuss
your child, have him go into another room to play. However, at 3 if he hears
you talking, I doubt it would impact him very much.
He is 3 y.o. You are sending him to school to learn how to be social, how
to share etc. and have fun. He will learn the rules. Try to relax and enjoy
the experience. He will take his cues from you. If you are happy sending
him, he will be happy. If he picks up on your vibes, it will be a negative
experience. Good luck.
7 moms found this helpful
L.C. answers from Washington DC on January 09, 2011
I can understand how you feel you've been duped. The snacks, the lack of communication, etc. I have a couple of questions: How is the school supposed to communicate with you? Did they tell you that they were going to send home notes or email at the end of the day or week? Do they expect the families to provide the snacks or does the school provide the snacks?
Our pre-school provided the snacks and if it was a special day for one of the kids, the family would send in cupcakes or cookies or something. All of that information was also listed on the take-home sheet. Speaking of the take-home sheet, we used to get a sheet of paper every day that had the daily schedule on it with short sentences about what went on. It told us how much they ate and what they ate. It told us if they went potty and how many times. It was often vague, but it gave us a clue into the kids' day.
As for the teacher speaking with you in your son's presence about not touching other kids - that's normal. She can't watch the kids left in the class at pickup and have a private conversation with each parent. If you are concerned, you might ask her to set up a conference time.
No kid or parent is perfect. You aren't doing your child any favors by not allowing him to hear that he might need to make some changes in his behavior. I think you took what the teacher said to mean that you aren't a good parent - you said it broke your heart? That is not what she said. She said that he needs to work on personal space. This is not a bad thing - it is what it is... Do you want the truth from your teachers or do you want them to tell you what you want to hear?
Basically, you need to meet with the teacher to clear up the communication concerns. You should do it sooner rather than later. As for the monthly calendar - who is supposed to generate that? The teacher or the administration? There is no reason not to have a monthly calendar sometime the last week of each month...
7 moms found this helpful
S.C. answers from Fort Wayne on January 09, 2011
Sounds pretty normal to me. :)
Our kids are the focus of our lives. I think it's hard for us to realize that they probably aren't the focus of anyone else's lives. You're like me, you want to know exactly what happened and when. Sadly, once they start school, it's not like that. That teacher has 7 other kids to look out for. She most likely can't remember exactly everything. I look at it like this. If all 8 parents asked her for an in detail report each time their child was picked up, the pick up would take forever! As far as the teacher talking to you in front of her daughter, I wouldn't worry too much about it. You said that the teacher had spoken to him about personal space during circle time, which means that she probably spoke to him in front of the other children. I don't think he's going to run into much teasing for something like that in preschool, especially not at the age of 3. I would bet that some of the other kids are having the same problems. As far as the positive feedback...well, most of the times you're not going to hear anything unless it's negative. You'll most likely find the same thing happening through out his school career. I think you have to assume "no news is good news." 2 weeks is plenty of notice for a school Christmas program. If your son didn't get any song sheets sent home, then none of the other kids did either. He's in preschool, I very highly doubt that he was expected to practice all the songs at home until he had them down perfect.
Who brings the snacks? Is it parents or the teachers? My daughter's preschool sent home a hand book at the beginning of the year. It clearly states that each snack (provided by the parents) is to contain at least one item from one of the 4 food groups, and juice doesn't count as a fruit. More often than not, my daughter tells me they had cookies, cupcakes, Hawaiin Punch, or other junk food. I don't like it. When it's our turn to provide snack, we send healthy stuff. If she tells me she had junk at school, I make sure she eats a healthy lunch and a healthy snack. We just consider it her treat for the day.
I think you sort of have to pick your battles here. If your son likes the school, kids and teacher, if he seems to be progressing in social skills, following directions, etc; then I would consider it a success. He's only 3 and there isn't a whole lot more he's going to be learning at this age.
If you want a more detailed report (which I personally don't think is necessary), perhaps you could send an email to the teacher asking her for a monthly report. Or ask her if you could have a short conference once a month.
But, to me, it sounds like a pretty normal preschool experience. :)
6 moms found this helpful
L.A. answers from Austin on January 09, 2011
Gosh is this an all day program or a half day program? A half day program would be hard to on a daily basis have info written down by the time you picked up you child, it could be there by the next day though.. , but a full day, the teacher could write down things at nap time..
We received a light monthly schedule that explained what to expect the kids to be working on.. . It was a total overview because the kids were at some different levels even though it was the "3 year old room"..
When our daughter was in preschool we had a weekly overview of her week.. Each day was on a clipboard next to her cubby, with notes of the day. On fridays they were sent home so we could review it.. It included any comments, Of course it was pretty much, "P had a good day, played dress up with Michael and Chase. Ate all of her lunch. had one potty accident, took a nap..
"Class learned about lady bugs." "Planted a bean in a pot. " Fell on the playground and bumped head, hugs and bandaides were applied.... "
If there was something serious, the teacher would speak directly with us and in front of our daughter.. I liked this, because she knew we were concerned and also she was not going to get away with anything..
I would ask them if they have the ability to do this or to email a daily overview..
Also any special programs, 2 weeks was about what we also received for day care.. I do not think they really expect the kids to know all of the songs or even sing it perfectly because again.. they are only 3.. and a child that has just turned 3 vs. the child that is almost 4 are totally at different stages of 3 years old..
Remember at 3 he should be playing most of the day.. Active play.. That is his job. He is learning how things work, how things do not work. So anything else on top of that is great.. and fantastic..
I do think they made it sound like you would have more info.. Maybe you could help them come up with these daily sheets? making the copies.. etc..
Ask if you could somehow volunteer to help with this..
4 moms found this helpful
M.R. answers from Chicago on January 09, 2011
Wow - helicoptering!
She probably mentioned the not keeping his hands to himself because, even though he is a precious little angel, he needs to know that he will be held accountable for his actions. Saying he had problems with distraction is not akin to juvenile detention or telling him that he's completely out of control. It is totally NORMAL for her to tell you in front of him. Don't worry about his self-esteem getting crushed by this; he needs to know you know and that both at school and at home that proper behavior will be reinforced. The behavior is normal but does need to be addressed. He's not going to hate school because he's been called out one time...
Unless you plan on forking out thousands of dollars a month, you're not going to get a preschool program that has an automated curricular model. It's preschool. They're 3, 4, and 5. At that age kids learn by playing. They learn that when it is circle time they sit quietly with their hands to themselves - and if they do it, they will gently be redirected to not do that behavior again. When they get in elementary school, this sort of behavior should already be sorted out, so think of this as a learning experience for your child. A lot of what they do on a daily basis will be learning through play and not strict, regimented lessons.
If this school isn't living up to your expectations then you always have the opportunity to pull him and find another one that does.
4 moms found this helpful
B.K. answers from Chicago on January 09, 2011
Please don't let it break your heart that your son heard he has some areas to work on. All kids do things that are wrong, and they need to hear it and change their behavior. As much as we want to believe our kids are precious, perfect angels, they aren't. I've raised two that have had their moments. If they needed to be called out on something, that's just life.
Someday he's going to be a pre-teen, and a teenager, and there probably will be issues and he needs to learn to hear from others what he needs to correct. It shouldn't be a big secret that only mom and dad get to tell him.
This is just pre-school. You have a long road ahead if you are this upset over what is basically structured playtime.
3 moms found this helpful
S.C. answers from Milwaukee on January 09, 2011
When dd was in the toddler room in daycare I received a daily sheet of everything about her day. After she moved into the preschool room I didn't get that anymore and I hated it. I did get used to it though. I would talk to the teachers a bit during pick up, but they are still working and need to watch the other kids. If there was a problem that day (and we had those days) the teachers would make sure they talked w/ me.
3 moms found this helpful
S.L. answers from New York on January 09, 2011
yes you have a right to expect healthy snacks and communication (my preschool had a short informal sign on the door at pick up stating a few things they did. the snack , the helper of the day, the story, the craft Snacks were healthy from 3 or 4 food groups ( milk or cheese, crackers or dry cereal, fruit or carrots etc. unless it was a birthday or holiday celebration!
HIs kindergarten has a weekly newsletter on line
However: As Shaun C said the Christmas celebration sounds normal kids are not expected to practice the words at home and two weeks notice is carefully planned so it's not so far in advance that people will forget. If you ask for feedback at pick up time every day when people are around, then dont be surprised when you get feedback in that setting. Can you email the teacher?? Call the teacher? pick up time is not a great time for an actual discussion.
when you say 8 children is that one teacher or a teacher and an assistant? I'd rather have 12-15 kids and two adults, four eyes, four hands
are better than two! and if the teacher is sick there is a familiar adult in the room anyway.
2 moms found this helpful
D.B. answers from Los Angeles on January 09, 2011
You should be allowed to observe then class whenever you want (you might need to give the school a bit of a notice before you do so for security concerns - so that all the staff will know that a parent will be there, but otherwise its not a big deal). If you really don't know what they do, I would start with that.
All three of my kids' preschool teachers had the days somewhat planned out every day, circle time for 15 minutes, table activity for 20 minutes, floor time for 30 minutes, story time for 15-20 minutes, snack, recess... ect ect. And each teacher had a teacher letter sent home each month about what the general topic of the month was - human body - space- transportation- animals - ect.
Also, most teachers (even elementry and on up) try to solve issues at school and will tell you when they think the behavior needs to be addressed at home as well. "what happens at school needs to be dealt with at school" this is very true for short minded preschoolers who often won't remember past a week. SO if your sweet one had a bad day at school, its really not worth mentioning when the teacher knows that his wiggliness during story time or that the tears because his drink got split at snack time aren't characteristic for him. but if if keeps happening over and over, then yes i'd expect the teacher to say something... which might be a week or two from the first time the behavior started.
If you want to know how things are going, expect answers. But I think its too much to expect the teacher to answer your questions after school in a private setting when its not normally availible. How about emailing instead? Does the teacher have a classroom page set up within the preschool's website? I always felt that if my kid came home happy and smiling then they had a good day.
You might ask if the teachers will do parent teacher conferences a few times during the year. I really enjoyed the feedback i got from that rather then day to day chats with the teacher. Conferences are more thought out.
hope that helps.
2 moms found this helpful
S.B. answers from Denver on January 09, 2011
my son was in a program like that and after 7 weeks I pulled him out and switched him to another program that had excellent communication and allayed all my concerns. I think your expectations are completely normal.
2 moms found this helpful
R.M. answers from Topeka on January 09, 2011
I wonder if your sons primary teacher would be willing to share her email address with you and you could keep in contact that way? She could read your emails and answer when it is most convenient for her. You could ask her to email you a copy of the school syllabus for the semester...or whatever they have their plans on. And she could discuss "issues" that she feels deserve you attention without having to do it in front of your child or other students.
You also have to realize that you probably can't ask her a question like "how should we handle his issues with personal space" and expect an answer right there on the spot!! I would think that any person would want to have a little while to think about it and come up with what they feel is the best answer for the situation. The email route would give her that chance.
2 moms found this helpful
H.W. answers from Portland on January 09, 2011
I like your 'name' by the way... same as myself!:)
I'm glad I read your post. I'm a preschool teacher and am usually on the other side of things: I am regularly working to help people understand that discussing the child in front of them, or other children, is a big-no-no. It sounds like you, too, know that this practice is a confidence-killer for kids, who are affected by hearing of our concerns for them and they wonder what's wrong with themselves. At our school, talk between adults during pick-up and drop -off should be a light and pleasant conversation; anything more, and we schedule a phone conference at another time.
All this to say I do understand and appreciate your position.
It does sound to me like there is a significant communication problem between the school and families which you described. In reference to the song sheets, I wonder if the kids were singing those songs as part of their regular routine or music program... the centers I worked at previously which held holiday programs never sent song sheets home. I think they figured the parents had enough to do.
I'm also wondering at the teacher's level of ability and experience if they are giving you notice of his challenges, but have no idea how to offer support for him or you, other than that telling you that he'll have to work on his self-regulation. Could she even suggest a book? In my opinion, this *is* the reason we send our children to preschool: to learn how to be within the group, to move through the day within the group and to receive support and coaching for all of this. Ideally, she would have been able to tell you something along the line of "We have some One Player spaces in the classroom for children who are needing space. We ask the child to play at one of these stations until they are ready to leave the other children's bodies alone" or something along that line. At this age, offering him that option during circle is developmentally appropriate according to my Developmentally Appropriate Practices book, published by the NAEYC. (National Association for the Education of Young Children.)
I would encourage you to check out "The Essential Conversation" by Sarah Lawrence-Lightfoot. This book is all about clear teacher/parent communications and conferences. I think you would find this book enlightening in helping you to understand what it IS okay to expect (I think your expectations are very reasonable, by the way), and what the teachers and parents both bring (emotionally, intellectually, and historically) to conferences. I hope many people read this book, because I think it would significantly change how constructive and helpful conferences could be to the child, who is ultimately at the heart of it.
Best to you,
2 moms found this helpful
K.B. answers from St. Louis on January 09, 2011
I don't know from a parent perspective, but I used to work as an assistant in the all day program at a Montessori school. I was in charge of meal planning and would once a week type up a menu and display it outside the classroom. I would have some days here and there that they may get a "unhealthy" snack, but most of the time it was fruits and vegetables and stuff. I would ask the teacher if they have one of these available (there was one week where things got away from me and I ended up forgetting to do it, but one of the parents reminded me and I had it to her the next day). Also, I was by myself in the evening hours with about 2-3 kids so I was responsible for reporting to those parents a lot of the time. Most of the time, if there are still kids there especially, it's hard to really talk with the parents at pick up time about anything that might need to be talked about alone because you still have to pay attention to the other kids while making sure yours is ready to leave. As far as the positive information, usually if the kid had a good day I would simply say that. I understand you probably want to know what he's doing all day, but a lot of stuff happens in one day considering they are so young. You could ask the teacher for a general schedule of how the day works or if there is anyway they can give you an idea of the lesson plan for the week. In the montessori school I worked in, it was very independent learning so every kid really was learning different things and the same thing all at once. So we didn't have the standard "today we did this or that" for all the kids. But, we did have a basic structure to the day. Most of the time, you really only would report what he might need to work on at home. If your not comfortable with the teacher providing this negative feedback in front of him at pick up, I would simply tell her that you'd rather have her call you during their nap time or send you an e-mail. The lead teacher in my classroom used to do that with several parents during nap time. However, I do agree with another poster that if it is something they are consistently having to work with him on, it might be good for him to know that the parent has also been told about the problem.
I wouldn't lower your standards, but maybe have a valid discussion with the teacher about what you are expecting, within reason, and see if she is able to or willing to accomodate you. Oh and the Christmas thing is VERY standard. He doesn't need to practice at home when he's practicing at school anyway.
2 moms found this helpful
K.M. answers from Chicago on January 09, 2011
Ok, so my son was at Bright Horizons and the communication was PERFECT! I could go in and talk to them in the mornings when I dropped him off to express any concerns about his morning and when I picked him up they would tell me if anything was off about the day. To the extent that they noticed a shift in his behaivior and wanted to talk about what may be different at home that could trigger this. Turns out that he had been acting out to not seeing a lot of daddy he is a musician and that year had 70shows many out of town. We adjusted our morning routine to daddy time and they advised that he was back at his regular self. Then we changed to Kinder Care and daily we got a sheet that was a GENERIC blog of the day. It took 3 FRIGGIN months for me to find out from them that my son did NONE OF THESE THINGS and that he was a hinderance in thier class. They did do good on getting us involved with Early Childhood (turns out it was needed) but still KICKED him out because the change did not happen soon enough. Three months they allowed him to act one way and all of a sudded wanted him to 180 since he was getting "help" 4 weeks later they kicked him out. Really you just have to keep looking if you are not satisfied.
1 mom found this helpful
E.K. answers from Minneapolis on January 09, 2011
As kindly as I can say this....Yes. You might have very high expectations. On the other hand -- Every parent wants only the best and so of course, I understand your feelings. = )
A couple thoughts about your specific points:
Daily Communication: We always got a standard "log sheet" that at a bare minimum listed what they ate, how long they napped, what the core lesson was, and notes about upcoming events or theme days. Injury reports (i.e. William bumped his head on the playground) came separately. More personal, intimate communication only came when a specific behavior or need was uncovered. Beyond that, we had conference 2x/year. We used the daily log sheets to prompt discussions with our child about what they did during the day. Give this a shot. You might be surprised what they tell you. = ) If you want to get some more details, schedule a talk w/staff outside of regular hours. They are simply unable to talk to you 1:1 during drop off or pick up -- Their attention is rightfully focused on other things.
Private vs Public -- I might be on the other side of the fence on this one. With two kids who've been thru pre-school and who are now both in "real" school, there is something really powerful about having the kiddos hear the adults in their life discussing them openly and honestly. It is almost as if they think that they have different obligations at school than they do at home. And it is sometimes enlightening for them to understand, "Oh...You mean I have to listen the first time when I am at school - Just like I have to do with mommy at home? Wow."
Snacks -- Yup. Sugary, empty snacks stink. Ask if you can get the emails of the other parents in class and then contact them about how you all as a team can set some better guidelines about truly decent snacks 4 days of the week and then limit it to one "treat"snack per week.
1 mom found this helpful
J.G. answers from Dallas on January 09, 2011
I don't think you are expecting too much at all. In fact, one of the reasons you enroll your son in this daycare it's because they stated in their brochure that they had great communication and teamwork between teacher and the parents.
I think the teacher's answers to your questions are way too vague. I believe that her job as a teacher also includes a good communication with the parents and she is obviously not doing that. I don't think that it's too much to ask for a little feedback about your son's day at the end of the day, the excuse that she might be tired is not acceptable.You are not asking her to sit with you for half an hour, just for some feedback that includes a little more detail.
If I were you I would set up an appointment with her and I would ask her to either give me written updates of my son's day, or to give me a few minutes at the end of the day at least once a week to know about his improvement at school. It's her job, you are not being unreasonable in this at all.
1 mom found this helpful
C.T. answers from Santa Fe on January 09, 2011
It's probably just the personality of the teacher/teachers. Maybe they are exhausted or overwhelmed. I don't know. I don't think you have too high of expectations. Our son's preschool teachers were excellent at telling you about your child at the end of the day. While the kids were all playing together outside you could get some one on one time with either of the teachers. I would probably have a good chat with one of them every week or every other week or so. They would also send emails now and then. And once a semester they had a "parent-teacher conference" just to talk about how your child was doing. All the parents also could volunteer in the classroom so you could see how your child was doing which I thought was very fun. You sound like great parents. Your son is 3 - I think it's very hard for many kids to sit still and not touch their friends at circle time. It's just something to work on and eventually they get better at it.
1 mom found this helpful
C.S. answers from Victoria on January 09, 2011
preschool is is not school. It is getting the kids familiar with routine and socialization, anything else is bonus. With that said, the schools I have used, the kids have a folder they go home with daily that is marked with a green face, yellow or red. Green is everything went good, yellow means they got a warning, and red means that they either continued after the warning or got more than two warnings. Usually they will write what the warning was about etc... not real detailed though. I was told if they want me to work with my child on a particular area, then they would let me know otherwise, they would handle the issue themselves. I use email with my kids teacher all them time and I don't so much question her, but just give her a heads up on things, like my dauaghter is saying that some older kids are harrasing her at recess can you look into this for me and get back with me? etc.. One teacher we had gave out a weekly letter on Friday of how the past week was and what the next weeks plan was. That was cool too. I usually tak with my kids as to what they learned in school and get more from them. So try taking with your son maybe? Doesn't sound like this school is a good fit for you reguardless.
1 mom found this helpful
J.S. answers from San Francisco on January 09, 2011
I was a teacher and can tell you that pick up and drop off times are a very tricky time to communicate as you as the teacher are still in supervision mode with the other children. Also, it is tricky to find time the time and energy to offer coherent lengthy info to parents both on the spot and even at all. That being said, it is the teacher/school's job to communicate with parents at the very least at the same level the family was promised when they enrolled. Perhaps you could email the teacher and ask what the best way/time to communicate is. Also, attend any and all parent nights to gain insight into the classrooms as well as take in any newsletter or bulletin board pieces of info. You can also ask for a meeting with the addministrator to voice your concerns/ask question. I will say that with only 8 kids I think it is feasible to get more info to parents on individual kids, but one might also consider that 8 kids is still a handful in a way. Stay compassionate and patient, but do advocate in a friendly way for your family's right to get what you signed up for. It is entirely possible the school is not for you, but see if you can tap into the avenues of communication they do have set up. Good luck :)
M.H. answers from Chicago on January 11, 2011
I am the mother of 2 preschool age sons, both at Beverly Montessori in Chicago. I know exactly the feeling of not knowing what they are doing in school. Its a whole part of your child's life that doesn't involve you! However I really believe that its best that way. The school experience is to give the child some independence from the home. Its hard to rationalize as the mother. I KNOW that. But as he gets older he will start communicating more and more what her does at school with you. Also at 3 the big lesson he is learning in school is not colors and numbers, but independence and cooperation.
Our sons' school really is great about communication, we can email and get a response that day. The teachers send cards home detailing the child's progress every so often, and both of our boys' teachers take photos of the kids and send them home periodically throughout the year. At least that is what I take as really great communication. I would not expect a daily report, or even a detailed report of your individual child weekly. To me that sounds excessive. That is a parent/teacher conference, which happens twice a year,( or there abouts)
I know its hard, but you have to accept that he is doing well, unless you hear otherwise.
If you still feel like this is not what you had hoped from your preschool, then look into others for his 4 year old year.
C.W. answers from Las Vegas on January 09, 2011
I think it's reasonable to have a weekly schedule that has the plans, like colors and shapes or what-not. Communication every day is why the brief answers occur probably.. it may be hard to give detailed answers about children in the class every day (I'm assuming your not the only parent who has done this, mostly because I would too haha)... maybe every couple days or every week. I do agree with susan that if you explain this kind of stuff and nothing changes maybe you should find a preschool that better fits your needs. It's not unreasonable to expect to know what your child is learning, that way you can help them. Did they have the songs figured out before 2 weeks? Maybe that was the issue there? I'd let them know I want to be involved in helping him at home and was wondering if there could be a weekly or bi-weekly schedule to know roughly what is being taught every day. It is disappointing when they advertise strong communication and don't deliver... I've had babysitters tell me they provide weekly progress sheets with daily naps, temperament, food, etc and didn't deliver. I wasn't really expecting that before I looked for a babysitter but was disappointed because it was cool to me to get it.