My 3 Yr Old and Her School

Updated on October 24, 2018
K.C. asks from Wadesville, IN
17 answers

My 3 yr old goes to school 2 days a week for 3 hrs. It's only been 14 days and they are already calling me talking about not letting her advance next yr but the issues they are having with her and we at home are not having that problem at all. She can count to 10, she knows her colors, she knows her shapes, she plays with family members and kids she don't know at the park, she is pointing out things that don't belong or is missing and telling me what she is pointing out is, she knows what things are, she sings, she dances, she does chores at home no problems, everything she has learned in class she tells me about. I could go on and on but she goes to school and she will not do anything that she is supposed to do or asked to do according to her teacher. And the reason I say it that way is because everyday she has school I ask how she is doing and I always got told great she loves to learn she is such a smart kid then boom I'm being told she is not listening, she is not following instructions, she sits in the back away from kids, she wont sing or dance, she wont play with other kids. Then I get her report card and everything that I know she knows is marked as she doesn't know it and I'm getting a phone call the next day saying she is failing socially and the day before the report came home her teacher tells me she had a resource teachers come in to see her in class twice without telling me or my husband for all these said issues that we knew nothing about until last wk and that teacher said she had no immediate issues with her. So I have no clue what to say or do. When she is with me or my husband she knows everything on her report card no problems what so ever and this is a 2 page report. Someone please help me here

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answers from Portland on

She's in school at 3 or preschool? How can they tell she won't advance to the next grade within 2 weeks?

Something's not right there - go in and talk to the teachers, and the director/principal about how this is being handled at least. It shouldn't be on a report card.

One of my children was diagnosed incorrectly as special needs. It was his preschool teachers who helped correctly un-diagnose him. Work with her teachers and sort this out. If she's just adapting to being in a class with other kids and taking direction from new adults - that's one thing. Plenty of kids do. If she has some areas of concern - that's another. There's noticeable differences. Go in, listen and observe.

Don't stress - kids pick up on that. Just handle it by going in to discuss - first step. If you don't like the preschool after that or how they address these kinds of thing - find a new one.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

Find a way to sit outside her classroom without the teacher knowing. Something is going on in this room that is making her uncomfortable.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Santa Fe on

She's only 3! I would switch her to a part time play-based preschool with a teacher with a loving personality who understands the normal development of a 3 year old. No good preschool teacher says they are holding a 3 year old back. Age 3 is basically barely one step up from a toddler. It is totally normal for some 3 year olds to not play with other kids or to not do what they are told or to not be social. Both my kids liked doing their own thing at this age at preschool and as they got older they started playing with other kids. Your problem here is the teacher and the school. Switch her to a better preschool that understands 3 year olds.

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answers from Norfolk on

She's 3.
She popped out of your womb just a few short years ago.
It's not a matter of smarts and knowing stuff.
She's just not ready to socialize with other kids yet.
She's still in parallel play mode - which is pretty normal for any 3 year old.
Playing with you is not the same as playing with other kids.
She's not 'failing socially' - their (and your) expectations for a 3 yr old are way off.

You are all upset over report cards and advancing next year - like what - her whole college career is going to be a disaster if she doesn't nail preschool like right now?
She goes 2 days a week for a few hours - it's more like a play date.

What is the rush?
Would it be such a terrible thing to wait another year before starting preschool?
Please read a book about child development so you have a better idea what to expect from this age range.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Find a different preschool, a play-based preschool.

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answers from Springfield on

I would schedule an appointment with the teacher to talk about this. In the mean time, make a list of as many questions as you can and take those with you to the meeting.

Listen to what the teacher has to say. It is possible that the teacher is seeing something you are not. Listen to what the resource teachers are saying. They are observing your daughter and might have some powerful insights.

More than anything, really listen.

Ask them not just what they are seeing, but why this concerns them and what they think should be done. What can they offer, and what are they concerned about if you don't hold her back a year.

If you really listen to what they have to say and you still disagree, ok. Maybe you can tell them you are not interested in having her repeat a year. Maybe this isn't the school for you and your daughter. But what if something they say really resonates with you? You might decide that they have made some observations that you simply had not noticed.

If there is any validity to what they are saying, be grateful. The sooner you know, the sooner you can begin to address any challenges she might have and the better off she will be.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

it may be that you are a hover-parent and refusing to see real issues.

but the big dinging red flags for me in this post are much more about a 'school' that is 'failing' a 3 year old after 2 weeks.

i don't care what she knows or doesn't know, or whether she sits with the other kids or not. this is ridiculous.

if this post is accurate and you're not fudging the details, get your daughter out of that pressure cooker immediately. these are ghastly people and i fear for every tiny person who is expected to perform to these specifications instead of playing and exploring in a relaxed and supportive atmosphere.

do not subject your tiny daughter to this.


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answers from Honolulu on

A report card for a three year old means the school is totally focused on the wrong things and you should withdraw your little toddler tomorrow. A resource teacher? FOR A THREE YEAR OLD WITH NO MEDICAL ISSUES?!!!?

Children with Down Syndrome, or severe impairments, do need early intervention in order to help them, and yes, that can mean a school-like setting, or resource teachers, and lots of other professional aides and providers. But you're talking about a little tiny girl who can count and sing and interact with no problems. Your daughter should not be in a setting that calls in a resource teacher for a three year old and prepares a two page report card.

If you need her to be in a setting away from home in order for you to do something important (take care of an elderly relative, or work, or go to a medical appointment), then find a sitter who can come to your home and play with your daughter (dolls and cars and trains, not numbers and letters). If you think that she needs "school" to get ahead academically, then read some balanced parenting books. Go to the playground with her, take walks, let her "help" in the kitchen (she can count cherry tomatoes for the salad, she can wash lettuce and tear it, she can stir with a wooden spoon in a plastic bowl). Sing songs. Relax and let her go to actual school when she's actually supposed to. Let her be a child.

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answers from Boston on

Oh my goodness. Preschool is not about whether a child can count or identify a circle vs. a rectangle! It's not about academics and facts! Stop teaching all of that and worrying about a "report card."

For 2-4 year olds, learning is and should be play-based. The purpose of preschool isn't the "school" part, it's the "pre" part - "preparing" for life later on. She should be learning to separate from Mom/Dad/caregiver, learning to sit in a circle and do what the group is doing (rather than, say, jumping up to go play elsewhere), and learning to negotiate her own space without elbowing the next kid. That's it!

If a school brings in some early intervention experts (done frequently in programs run by the school system), that's a GOOD thing. Let them evaluate, and stop taking it personally. Stop talking about "advancing" next year - wrong term. I do think it's early for them to use that term anyway - a lot can happen between October and June, you know? So her "report card" says she doesn't know certain facts - but that's probably because she's not speaking up or participating, so how would they know?

What should concern you is not whether she knows red from green or squares from triangles, but that she's not happy - she's not joining the group or listening to this teacher. You know what that means? It means she 3! It means she's doing certain things and not others - like she's learning colors at home with you but she isn't yet socially ready to be in this sort of program. That's all. Now, before you get all fired up about this, go back to her first year. When did she walk? Talk? Get teeth? Did every kid you know walk at the same point? Get teeth? No, of course now. My kid was a super early walker and a super late talker. (The doctor checked his hearing and made sure there was no reason for not talking other than developmental. That's called evaluation - if everything is fine, you just wait it out.) My neighbor's kid was the opposite - early talker, late walker. Mine got 1 tooth at 4 months, then nothing for ages. Other kids didn't get a tooth until 7 months but got a whole bunch together. Guess what? They're all caught up. The point is, it doesn't matter!

Perhaps if you stop worrying about facts & figures, and concentrate on letting her play but start to follow directions, she'll come along. Maybe this school can help her and she just needs time. Maybe this is the wrong program for her, or the wrong time for her. Have a calm sit-down with the staff and talk about their goals and school philosophy. Talk about readiness - not about intelligence. Learn the difference between playing in the park and being ready to follow directions in a large group from a new teacher. But do stop panicking. Take some time to talk - without being defensive of your child - and figure out whether she needs another year, another program, or just some time, and what sort of supports are available.

Reminder - she's 3.

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answers from New York on

First of all, it isn't "school" if your child is attending 6 hrs a week. It might be preschool, it might be a learning center, but it isn't school and these "teachers" have zero power on your child's true future - at 6 hours a week, they barely know your child.

If you don't like the "school," find a new one. Any teacher that is more focused on what your child can't do, than on how to help your child be successful, isn't a teacher I'd want around my kid. Also, it's preposterous that any teacher would discuss retention (from what?) in OCTOBER!

Change schools or just keep working with your child at home on skills and try 4K next year.

Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Schedule a meeting with the teacher (or with both teachers - did you say there are two teachers, a regular teacher and a resource teacher?).

Listen to what they have observed and then tell them how it compares to what you observe at home.

Maybe your daughter has just been having "a bad week", maybe she is feeling shy about playing with other's nothing to worry about now, you just need to have an open conversation about it. (I am not sure what you mean about "not letting her advance next year" - it is only October, it seems very early for a teacher to talk about that.)

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answers from Pittsburgh on

She is going 2 days, 3 hours per day. Is that how the entire program is structured, or are the other kids there every day and you have her in part time?

When my kids were in daycare, I noticed that the part-time kids had a much harder time adjusting. The full time kids got to know each other, formed friendships, and played every day. The part-time kids had a much harder time, because they just weren't there every day to have the same shared experiences as the full time kids.

All this to say, if this is a full time program that you are sending your child to part-time, it might not be the right program for her. Look around for a program that is a better fit - preferably a part-time program so all the kids are there for the same amount of time.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I have never hear of a 3 year old “failing” or getting “held back” in preschool- that is just an absurd concept. If she is doing all these things with you but not in her preschool, they are not finding ways to instill joy or foster participation (all she should really be doing at 3 is PLAY, I find the American obsession with young children accomplishing this, that and the other thing silly and upsetting, but that’s another story). I think you should find her a more positive place that focus on all the wonderful things about her instead of shortcomings, real or perceived.

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answers from San Diego on

She is getting acclimated to her environment. Day care is about regiment and routine.
Only going 2 days a week for a few hours, is basically just 1 Day in normal full time day care kid time. This is a big transition she has to go through every week from home to scholl.

Why not send her full time so she can adjust.



answers from Boston on

Congratulations for enrolling your daughter in preschool. It should be an opportunity to learn basic concepts and practice social skills. Does she enjoy it? It seems she's acquiring many skills, so she must be paying attention.

So I question a few things. The "report card" should be a way of reporting skills your daughter demonstrates in the classroom. It is not an evaluation of what she does at home. It is common for children at this age to show different skills in different environments. Did the teacher really say she is thinking of holding her back next year? If so, it really is much too early for any such suggestion, and I do find this the most disturbing part of your post. Is the resource teacher visiting the class for your child only? I ask that because in my preschool, we had specialists visit my room on a regular basis, helping certain children, and available to the staff as resources for all.

Whatever the situation, I'd suggest that your schedule a meeting with the teacher. If at all possible, have your husband attend, too. Ask the teacher to review her observations, voice her concerns and then decide if you are getting a great opportunity to help your daughter, or a message that she doesn't fit with this particular school.


answers from Philadelphia on

Hello. I am a preschool special education teacher. May I suggest going in to observe your child in the school environment. Also, video tape her doing things like counting and naming her colors..basically the skills the teacher said she isn't able to do. Then meet with them to discuss what you each observed in the differing environments.



answers from Minneapolis on

Did they really call it a report card? Or are you putting that term on the feedback report they are giving you? I think you are too tunnel-focused right now. It is entirely possible that she might be able to do all of those things at home while still acting the way they are saying she acts at school. Stop taking this as an insult to your parenting and go talk to the teachers about what they are observing at school. If they are seeing anything that concerns them, take whatever help they are willing to provide!

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