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gc_melody

Kindergarten - What are reasonable expectations?

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gc_melody

Hi,

 

I'm after input from Kindy teachers and parents whose children attend a formal kindergarten program.

 

DS (3.5yro) has just started in the next room of his long day care. They have a QLD kindergarten program which runs within a LDC. DS is one of the youngest in the room and while this room focuses on preparing children for school readiness for FYOS, it is also a LDC. So between 9-3 it's a kindy program and outside these times it's LDC.

 

DS has surgery for tonsils and adenoids 3.5 weeks ago. He left his jnr kindy room the day before the surgery and returned last week in the pre-school room. There was no transition for him other than a play most days with his class mates in the lead up to the surgery.

 

On the day he returned, I attempted to meet with the Teacher briefly to explain that he wasn't really wanting to be in this room and ask that she help him transition back in. Two weeks is a long time at this age and he'd been through a bit. I also asked that they prompt him to drink water through the day and encourage him to eat as this is what was asked by the surgeon. I also said that full recovery could take up to eight weeks but he was fine to start kind again.I was told in no uncertain terms that they encourage children in this room to be more responsible ie. look after their own belongings and basically be more self-determined. I don't have an issue with this, I like it, in principal, but he is still only 3 years old.

 

For the fifth day now, DS has come home having eaten approx. : a couple of grapes, five rice crackers and a small squeezy yoghurt. Essentially, my child is not eating at kindy. He tells me that the teacher either takes away his sandwiches (maybe he's not quick enough to eat according to their timetable, he's fussing at lunch time - I don't know yet). So my little boy is cranky, out of sorts, acting out and incredibly hungry by the time I collect him at 5pm. I know he's also acting out in the afternoons at the kindy which I'm attributing to being starving.

 

I know this is long winded but my question is am I being unreasonable expecting that they take a bit more care with my DS to encourage him to eat. All I'm asking for is prompts. I don't think this is a big ask but I am reminded that this is a 'kindergarten program' and he has moved up a room. He's going to be spending two years here and at 3.5yro, don't think complete responsibility for eating is right.

 

Am I out of order? How would you approach this with the Teacher or Centre Director?

 

TIA

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gc_melody

No suggestions?

 

Hasn't anyone had this situation occur? Would you be asking the Kindy Teacher to encourage your LO to eat? Do you think 3.5yro is a little young to be taking full responsibility for eating or not?

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Isolated Old Elf

Yes it is reasonable for the teachers to prompt. He is so little. I ask for water prompting for dd who is 4. Can you make a time to meet with the teacher to discuss? Other issues may be brought up and hopefully your little one will settle in quickly.

Is there a reason he was transitioned up and not in the previous room? Is it numbers?

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omongomong

No suggestions?

 

Hasn't anyone had this situation occur? Would you be asking the Kindy Teacher to encourage your LO to eat? Do you think 3.5yro is a little young to be taking full responsibility for eating or not?

 

Um yes! I agree with you, I would be talking to the teacher, surely they could be more flexible and understanding. My 3.5 yr old cant always understand he is angry because he is thirsty or hungry. But, I have no actual experience of any of this! DS1 will do pre school next year (which is your kindergarten I think) - I don't know what they do about meal times, it's also only 2.5 days a week I think.

 

Could you take him out to recover a little longer, or does that impact on your work situation?

 

Sorry I don't have much to offer.

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SeaPrincess

I think it's an unusual situation. The youngest children in DD's school-based kindy were 3.5, so I think their expectations are realistic, but they need to make allowances for his recovery. It seems like a big change from one room to the next - how big is the group? The daycare centre we used who were very focussed on independence started right from the toddler room with those high expectations.

 

Also, it sounds as if your DS isn't himself, and encouraging him to eat isn't the same as making him sit at the table for extended periods until he does eat (unless that is what you want.) I would discuss your concerns with the teacher, offer to send in soft foods while he's recovering or request them if they won't let you send them in.

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Bob-the-skull

I would be asking them how long they give them to eat etc.

 

If he isn't willing to eat then they can't actually force him.

 

Perhaps also speak to the LDC staff and explain that he isn't eating at kindy and could they give him extra time after to eat?

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gabbigirl

Our kindy in and in a LCD, so similar set up, we're quite strict about monitoring food. Made sure kids ate their food. I would mention to centre director.

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gc_melody

Thanks for the replies everyone.

 

I can't take him out of kindy due to work and study commitments. Either way, he's been at this Centre since he was 15mths old so is comfortable there. I wouldn't want to be moving him if this can be cleared up.

 

I asked the assistant this morning how much time they are given to eat and she said around half an hour, so they are giving him enough time to eat his lunch, despite what he tells me ;)

 

I've attempted to speak with the teacher again today to make an appointment time suitable for them however I got a little resistance. Her response was 'is there a problem?, what do you want to talk about?' and several other questions. I'm not prepared to discuss my son and the issues in the midst of a chaotic environment when she should be attending to the children and I mentioned that. So I asked her to tell me when she would be free for quarter of an hour and I would make myself available. She's given me a time but it was reluctant.

 

Other than his lack of eating and age (he was transitioned as this is their policy at his age), there has been little thought imo as to how that transition happened. He has gone from a jnr preschool room (essentially LDC) where there was lots of affection, interaction between staff and children to a much more formal class where it's run like FYOS. So much more structure and expectations on these little kids.

 

The teacher gives off quite an unapproachable air which I'm not comfortable with but I'm hoping that she'll warm as the year progresses. From her viewpoint, I can understand how busy it must be settling in a class of 20 odd into a new room but that is no excuse to be resistant to meeting with parents who clearly want to discuss their child. I'm not sure I like this attitude.....

 

She already gave me a serve the first minute of day one telling me that it's DS's responsibility to not lose his belongings (clothing, shoes) which I was taken aback with. DS is a bit of a dreamer so often gets distracted and loses things so I'm often looking for lost belongings at pick up time. I've never asked the staff to do it, so I don't know what her issue is. It frustrates me as much as it must frustrate others but he is still THREE.

 

The other kids are much older than he is, the next youngest is almost six months older so there is a fair developmental gap. Some of the kids are almost a full year older. These reasons are why DH and I will be keeping DS back to start FYOS at 5.5 instead of next year.

 

I didn't think I was being OTT to accommodate a range of developmental and childrens needs but wanted to see what others had to say in case my expectations were of the staff were a little high. The fact that he has had surgery is just an added layer on this. Her response initially was to keep him out for all of the eight week expected recovery which is ridiculous imo. He's well enough to be there, they just need to prompt and encourage him to eat and drink. I'm not expecting they stand over the top of him and force him ! That's equally ridiculous.

 

Thanks for your input ladies :yes:

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catkin

Given her attitude, I would cancel the 15 minute appointment and make another one through her boss with both of them. To prevent being classed as 'just another whingeing mum who wants gold treatment for her precious darling' I would frame the conversation with your son's surgery. Outline 4 points you think he needs (on paper) as his recovery plan, and tell them you are asking for their input as to how it can be achieved. Make it specific (how many weeks, etc) and tell them it has been sanctioned by his surgeon and GP. Include 2-3 negative outcomes that could occur if his recovery is not treated with care. As long as the points are reasonable, and you stay calm and smiley you should get what you need. And the grumpy teacher will either show her true colours with the boss, or play nice. Good luck!

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Percival

He is 3.5 and they are putting him in a room run like a FYOS? No wonder he isn't coping. Is moving back to the other room an option? It sounds as though he isn't ready, with strong support he may get there but if it isn't available wouldn't he be better in the younger room?

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Moo point

I wouldn't be happy about that at all, gc_melody, especially the teacher not wanting to set aside time for you. My DS is 2.5 but delayed in speech, and his teachers are encouraging all the kids in his 2-3 year old room to use their words but they not only make accommodations for DS (he uses some sign language) they actively encourage activities that help him practise words. Plus, he's one of the few in his room that is a bit reluctant to feed himself with a spoon, they have been very encouraging and helping him. Yesterday he fed himself his entire bowl of food for lunch then asked for more!

 

I've also noticed that if kids don't like or can't tolerate the food on offer they will give a banana or another alternative.The educators are also very approachable, willing to take time to discuss DS's progress, and reassuring that he is enjoying his time there.

 

I think I'd be inclined to talk to the head of the LDC, and also see if your DS can be moved back to the younger room. I know at our daycare moving up is partly dependent on numbers, but they also take into account development. They won't move kids up unless they're toilet trained, fairly independent etc. There is no way my DS will be ready for FYOS preparation at 3.5.

 

I'm really sorry you're going through this :(

Edited by Moo point
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Yetski

That's crazy, my son is 10yo and I still occasionally have to help him find stuff. I need help finding things occasionally too!! I would not be happy with her attitude at all, it would make me feel really uncomfortable leaving my son there. I hope it resolves somehow.

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Bridandzar

He is 3.5 and they are putting him in a room run like a FYOS? No wonder he isn't coping. Is moving back to the other room an option? It sounds as though he isn't ready, with strong support he may get there but if it isn't available wouldn't he be better in the younger room?

 

This

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Bess Marvin

DS' 3yo preschool room has similar expectations of independence - but - there is a comprehensive easing in phase when the kids move up. This includes a teacher from the 2yo room moving up too, to help with the transition.

 

I'm not sure how your meals work? DS sits down to meals with the group and they choose how much they serve themselves and then how much they eat. Is your child expected to grab snacks on the go, rather than at set times?

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EmAyEm

It sounds like the teacher is the problem.

 

My DD did kindergarten through a LDC last year, and whilst they did teach the children to become responsible for themselves, they still had ultimate responsibility. I would not be happy.

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anniej3

It's one thing to encourage the child to put their own bag away, collect their belongings etc but I don't know many 5 year olds who would eat completely unassisted or without some encouragement. I don't think its fair to expect a 3 year old to do this. Sounds like they are just being lazy or distracted when it comes to meals.

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gc_melody

Thanks for the replies and suggestions everyone.

It's really made a difference in validating my view and how I feel about this.

 

I had the meeting this morning. I did get a chance to read your replies beforehand and thank you to the PP who suggested taking four main issues to the meeting. I did and it helped.

 

The teacher was much more amenable than I anticipated given her earlier responses. She was open, approachable, took notes, offered suggestions and together we found common ground. I gave her feedback about DS's experiences and needs and his view of her as a teacher (he likes her and often nominates specifics of why so I was able to feed that back to her which was nice for her and helpful to establishing a good rapport for the meeting).

 

The upshot is, she acknowledged the wide age and developmental variance within the room and gave me examples of how she manages this throughout the year. To her credit, she genuinely listened and took on board my concerns and together we came to strategies which will work for her within the room work and for DS. We talked a lot about scaffolding and education theories (I love Vygotsky's approach) so DS will have his learning extended in achievable age appropriate steps in every developmental area.

 

She has created a communication book for every child where she provides feedback to parents daily on how their child has gone, what learning outcomes they focused on that day, how they approached the activity and any other good news or challenges our kids had that day. We've also agreed that we will meet one to one periodically through the year and this is an offer she is going to extend to all parents if they choose to take her up on it. She also said she's happy to make a appointment at any time if either of us have anything we want to raise. She's working on identifying early learning and social difficulties for all in the class as well as general living skills stuff that would be appropriate for 3.5 to 5.5 year olds. She seems super committed to these kids and I'm relieved to see how passionate and caring she is about them.

 

DS will be prompted with eating and drinking as well as in any other areas he needs prompting with like sharing, inside voices, packing away etc for as long as he needs it. I don't know if I caught her on a bad day or whether me asking for a meeting started changes or both or something else but I am really happy about the outcomes from the meeting. I'm even more happy that we managed to find common ground as I think that will influence how well we can work together for DS and his best interests.

 

It was a very positive meeting. Thanks for your support and advice. I really appreciate it.

 

ETA - The meeting actually went for 40min so we were able to cover a fair bit in that time.

Edited by gc_melody
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gc_melody

DS' 3yo preschool room has similar expectations of independence - but - there is a comprehensive easing in phase when the kids move up. This includes a teacher from the 2yo room moving up too, to help with the transition.

 

Wow, that's awesome Bess Marvin !

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Moo point

That sounds very positive, great news!

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