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06/11/2013 at 11:36
This is going to be long and needy sorry but need some advice!
E started FS1 in September at a new school (normal for Dubai) She does 3 days a week, 7:25am until midday. She settled very quickly as we expected. She's a very confident, headstrong and independent child. I'm the first to admit she can be a monkey, butat 3 years old, it's not something that has concerned me (until now).
Es teacher has complained on a number of occasions that E screams in class if she doesn't get her way- examples being that it's time to tidy up an activity but E doesn't want to finish, snack time has ended but E is still eating... At her parents evening, her teacher said she screams still and that we (H and I) need to fix it and be stricter at home. Apparently E can count to 4 and recognises the letter E... I lost it a little as she counts well beyond 4, can write her own name and recognises every letter of the alphabet. Clearly she's not demonstrating this in class.
yesterday her teacher asked me to stay behind to discuss Es screaming as they had had a difficult day. I couldn't as had to take H to the airport so agreed to meet today. I got to the meeting to be told it was cancelled, E had been hitting and snatching today from other children (I honestly cannot remember the last time she did this) and therefore a meeting with her teacher, head teacher and psychologist needs to take place (tomorrow if H can get home in time otherwise Sunday) I was livid and really had a go at her teacher before storming out which was completely inappropriate and I regret it.
Im in reluctant to believe E is so bad that she needs help. Her nursery report was glowing and her teachers and TAs adored her. I'm beginning to think something is wrong in class or with the teacher but need to be tactful about it. E wet the bed last night and kept saying she didn't want to go to school this morning. That's not like her. She has admitted hitting a boy today (a friends son) but claims he hit her first, and hits her every day. He is a hitter so I believe her and his mum would agree with Ella. I need to go in armed with questions tomorrow but just no idea where to start. My emotions take over and I get abgry then upset whichi have to avoid tomorrow! Any suggestions or advice from you ladies would be very much appreciated please xx
06/11/2013 at 11:49
OH WS firstly have a hug.
My first thought whilst reading that was there must be more to this. Is it a Western school? Is the teacher Western? Could there be some kind of communication failure between teacher & E? Do they have TAs in the school who can help temper the situation with E and also support E if she is being disruptive (for whatever reasons)
Are you happy with the school? To be told you need to be stricter at home would get my back up immediately!
06/11/2013 at 11:56
Firstly another hug heading your way. E is not the first child to play up at school and she certainly won't be the last, bless her.
Are they giving her enough to do? When I had issues with my E it was down to the fact she just wasn't occupied enough, wasn't challenged enough so got bored and played up. It really used to drive me bonkers and I ended up sending her in with her own books to work from. It strikes me that if they don't realise she is far more capable than counting beyond 4 then that is a big problem.
I have to agree with Belle, if someone tried to dictate the way I parent then I would be p*ssed. However, you are going to question the way the school is teaching so it cuts both ways. But don't be afraid to be prepared to stand up for yourself and make it quite clear that your parenting isn't the issue here and blaming E's behaviour on that without consultation is outrageous.
Thanks Belle. It's a British school with British Curriculum. Teacher is Jordanian/British but most of her life has been spent in the Middle East. There is one TA in her class but she's very quiet and I get the impression is more of an admin classroom assistant for the teacher...
I had been happy with it. I chose it based on the fact it seemed down to earth in comparison to most schools here. The teachers we met at the open day and Es assessment were fab too. I just felt from day 1 that this teacher wasn't 'right' but I'm not sure what it is! That stricter comment enraged me but H gave me a kick under the table to stop me from bursting! I will be raising it to her head teacher at the meeting though!
06/11/2013 at 11:59
Thanks Sshh. A few other friends have suggested that she could be 'bored' or just not challenged enough. I accept that it cuts both ways but no parent likes to be questioned over their skills. I'm a bloody good mum and don't care for a (non mother), teacher to suggest otherwise. I'm trying to stay calm though and go into this meeting as objectively as possible. That all goes against my motherly instincts though!
06/11/2013 at 12:22
What is E saying about it?
I'd be asking why they think she can only count to 4, and only recognise one letter of the alphabet when you know she is capable of far more - could you video her on your phone counting further as "proof"? And recognising letters of the alphabet as you point to them? So they can't question what you are saying. I'd be asking how they discipline children who are misbehaving? I'd take it it's completely different from the discipline she gets at home if she's acting so differently? Not that either way is right or wrong iyswim, just that the inconsistency might be confusing for E.
Is she tired when she gets home? M is a nightmare when she's tired and that's when she plays up the most (although that's for me, not for nursery - but they are all different)
What form does the learning take? Is she expected to sit at a desk and listen? Getting bored? She's just slightly younger than my daughter and I'd imagine she'd not take well to having to sit in a classroom situation, although obviously is learning letters numbers etc at nursery, it's quite informal I think?
I'd be raging too if someone questioned my parenting, especially someone who hadn't seen me parent!
06/11/2013 at 12:30
I'd be asking what strategies they are putting in place to support E during this developmental phase, not questioning your parenting skills. You can't be classed as naughty at that age, she is learning social development and they need to be supporting and nurturing her, no wonder she is cross.
06/11/2013 at 12:34
I would say that at 3 years old hitting and snatching and screaming are all normal behaviours. Three year olds are still learning that they can't have it all their own way and that they have to moderate their behaviour while with other children and in other care settings.
However, even though she does not do it at home, she is clearly doing the above at school. And its hard when you are a parent to have someone tell you this, when it is not a behaviour that you see at home. So my daughter at about that age bit another child at nursery. She never did this at home, but she did there and it did have to be addressed. I would be annoyed if a teacher did suggest that I wasn't strict enough at home though.
Don't see having the head teacher, etc there as a criticism. It may be that having more people there will prevent it becoming a meeting about 'well you say this, and I say that' and you can have a plan that works for both E and the teacher.
So I would go into the meeting to find out the following:
When does E scream? If it is because the activity is changing, does the teacher give her enough warning that the activity is about to change? Does E need a bit more time to be ready for this? If you have found this at home, then tell the teacher what you do at home to prepare her for the change? Can you match so that you are using the same techniques at home and at school.
What is the school's normal policy for dealing with hitting and pushing? I would expect them to be using a form of time out. And I would want to look and when and why she is doing it. If she says that another child is hitting her, what is the school doing about that? Can they separate out the children so that there is less opportunity to hit each other?
Try not to be defensive but also try to listen to them. Explain how you are talking to E at home, how you are reinforcing that behaviour like hitting and screaming is not acceptable. She's old enough for you to tell her that she must not do it at school. Can they do some kind of positive reward chart for her at school as well?
Hope this helps, and good luck.
06/11/2013 at 12:37
E is saying she screams but won't really say why- I wonder if she even remembers why tbh, she is 3 after all...
I did question it at parents evening but her teacher was keen to ignore it and say she doesn't do it in class! I have proof in the form of nursery reports from the past 2 years if they need it. They tell her she shouldn't make silly noises when she screams and whn she has snatched from other children, her teacher makes her give it back, tells her she made the child sad, gives E something else to play with, snatches it away and asks E how it makes her feel...
We punish screaming by ignoring her if she does it. She stops very quickly. If it's a raging tantrum which only happens when she is overtired (travelling to the UK), we sit with her until she is calm and then punish her by taking away the iPad for a day, or not allowing her to do the activity we planned.
She is utterly exhausted amd falls asleep in the car for the 20 minute drive home. She goes to bed at 6pm and gets up at 6am.
She is expected to sit at a table yes. Her attention span is limited like most children her age. I think they are expecting far too much from these little ones tbh. They had circle time at nursery but she was so keen to be involved and loved that time learning. This is why I am struggling to see how E is the problem here!
06/11/2013 at 12:44
Thanks Carole. I've put that on my list of Qs.
Cedar- I know E is behaving in this way but I can't understand why. There HAS to be something at school causing this surely? It's just so out of character. I don't deny that she isn't acting in this way, I want to know why and address the issues behind that. Not agree that my daughter has behaviour problems so needs a psychologist! I am glad the Head is there but am kicking myself for not calling on her sooner. They tell the children when they have 5 minutes left at an activity before they have to either tidy up or move on to the next activity. We have adopted this at home and it doesn't result in tantrums, just moaning and reluctance to tidy up quickly. She has not pushed or hit until today so this is a new concern that I have to address! I'd be keen to know what they do. When she used to hit she went in time out at home. It worked for us and her nursery. I am going to suggest a star chart to them. She loves her reward chart at home. Thank you x
06/11/2013 at 12:50
Hmm, I know that M would NEVER sit at a table and learn for 4.5hrs a day, no way. Every day she comes home from nursery "what did you do today M?" "I played in the house corner". That's not all they do, they do have set time like story time where they all sit together, they do sort of flash card things with them in a group to recognise their names, numbers etc, I'm not even sure if they do letters yet? They have staff on hand that will help with writing and numbers when the kids sit down to do that and encourage them to do it too, but they take them in small groups to do it while the others play or paint or glue or whatever. They also have loads of outside time when the weather allows. It's all learning, even the play is encouraging social interaction, learning not to snatch and how to share etc....they have a time out corner as well if a child is really playing up and say hitting/snatching etc and won't calm down or apologise, they go to time out for a few minutes until they are ready to play nicely again.
I agree that they are expecting too much of the little ones. Do you know other parents with kids in the class, how do they find it? If she's falling asleep in the car on the way home it sounds like it's all too much for her tbh. Is there any alternative over there?
06/11/2013 at 13:10
Her behaviour does sound absolutely normal. My friend's younger child turned 3 a couple of weeks ago. She has had some roaring tantrums recently because she is asked to stop playing so that they can do the school run to get the older child to school on time. She's basically screamed her whole way for the 10 minute walk. On the whole, though, she is a very reasonable child but like any 3 year old she finds it hard to adjust her behaviour when it doesn't suit what she wants to do.
And you are probably right that E doesn't really remember why she screams or won't be able to explain her feelings, it is just her response at that time.
Whatever else, I would really expect the school to have tried and tested ways of dealing with these issues with such little children. In a constructive way, rather than labelling a child.
06/11/2013 at 13:17
WS hugs to you, sounds like a tough one.
Like someone else we have to give R warnings when things are finishing/ moving on. Not just one reminder, but a count down as in, R we are finishing this soon / 5 mins later - R don't forget we are finishing in __ mins x 3 more times. Could she need longer and told more times to be told that the activitiy is finishing?
Sorry I have nothing of help to add, it is so tough
06/11/2013 at 14:06
I do think her teacher is labelling her Cedar. She has only been there now for 6 weeks.
LC- I think she may need more notice than the 5 minutes they give. I'm starting to regret our decision to go with this school as I felt it was more 'down to earth' than the Gems ones... Hope R is getting on well!
06/11/2013 at 14:37
I've just realised your E is the same age as my C (July '10 baby). He is only just in pre-school, well he's been at nursery (in the same building) since a baby but from September he moved up to pre-school. It's very much learning through play still at that age. What do they expect them to do at E's school?
As for the screaming - I get that. He makes a really irritating noise rather than a scream when he doesn't get his way, usually followed up with him telling me "You're a MEANIE Mum, and you're not my friend." Kids gotta learn for heaven's sake. They're 3, give them a chance!
06/11/2013 at 15:14
I think a meeting can only be a good thing and your wise to get what you want t talk about stright before hand. I would be querying the only counting to 4 etc it sounds like they haven't really got to know her yet which in turn migh not be helpping with the other issues
I have no experience of any of this yet but to me it sounds like E is being a normal 3 year old, who is still leaning how to behave in different social situations. it sounds quite formal for a 3 year old so maybe she is just shattered and can't control her behaviour?
I don'y know how the system works with you, but I have just been looking at preschool here (disco will start when he is 3,) it is all very much learning trough play, and also getting them used to some of the routines that will be expected in school, all the people I spoke to say they have stuff in place to help children adapt to the social niceties need at this stage of their development.
Based on that and if they are following a western cirriculum I would be asking what they have in place to help her adapt, also maybe if they could keep a note of what has happened on the days there are problems.
Sorry if this is overly coherrent I have given disco saucepans and spoons to play with he is having a ball however I am struggeling to think!
06/11/2013 at 15:43
Is it worth seeing if they have a place in GEMS as a back up plan?
Is E at school for longer than rshe was at nursery, as in number of hours? It seems odd that she could have suddenly just changed when E did so well at nursery for 2 years? Maybe when you are asking and seeing how they respond with her will help as you can compare with what the nursery did in the same situation and maybe this could help make a difference mentioning an alternative way.
For me, I would not be putting it down to normal 3 year old behaviour, having been to. Nursery for 2 year s already they are used to the structure etc?
R is doing well, thank you and really pleased with the school. He is Not so keen on wearing a uniform though lol The parents are really pro-active to and trying arrange social things which is nice.
Was honk of you today actually, was looking at new villas and wondered how you were getting on, was going to start a thread to see if you were around to ask x
06/11/2013 at 17:23
It definitely sounds like she has not settled and it is their job to try and make that happen by getting to know and reassure the child. Telling you what to do at home would also have majorly p!ssed me off too. Hope the meeting goes well x
06/11/2013 at 20:32
WS - If she is in FS1, is she spending a lot of time sitting at tables? If so, they are NOT following the EYFS from here at all. She shouldn't be, and I would have real issues with this.
Children's behaviour can be different at home and school for many reasons, I have a child in my class at the moment (FS2) who is just beginning to settle now, depsite parents telling us he is a model child at home, and was at his previous setting, and I've had a few children like that and like E in the past. All have eventually settled ok. It can just be settling, change of routine, change of demand, etc, or there might be something more concrete than that and if there is you need to get to the bottom of it.
Just try to stay super calm when you talk to school, some will put their backs up if you go in all guns blazing, and you want them to help. A few things I would do/ have done is: star chart that goes between home and school - with a treat at the end - eg. If I get X stickers today/this week, my treat will be.... (it could be the park, a magazine, choosing dinner, etc, nothing expensive but something that would motivate them); giving 5/2/1minute warnings for transition times at school, so before tidy up time, lunch time, carpet time, etc so that she knows she needs to start finishing soon; Having a visual timetable - a whole class one or an individual one just for E that tells her what is going to be happening in what order for the whole day, prefereably with velcroed pics that she can take off as the things happen, so she can see what is happening and when.
I'd also ask what they are doing so far to help her, are they being positive? Are the positive times being bigged up for her? or are they being eternally negative?
Good luck xxx
07/11/2013 at 06:41
Thank you all. Meeting in a couple of hours so will update xx
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