Concerned parent

Discussion in 'Early Childhood Education Archives' started by gailatmsu, Sep 30, 2006.

  1. gailatmsu

    gailatmsu New Member

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    Sep 30, 2006

    I realize this forum is for teachers, and I apologize for this post if it is not welcome. I am having problems with my son, and I was hoping to get some advice on how I can help him from seasoned teachers.

    I have a son who turned 5 this past June, and he started Kindergarten in August. A little background information... I'm an at home mom so my son has never been in a daycare/learning environment. We did send him to preschool 3 hours a day/3 days a week, but honestly, it was more for social reasons than educational. They did crafts, had story time, examined themes for the week (animals, weather, plants, etc..), but nothing other than that.

    My son has always been delayed. He started speech therapy at 2 1/2 because he had a vocabulary of two words. At 3, it was five words. Now, he speaks a lot, but he is having trouble with his beginning, medial, and ending sounds. He can not correctly pronounce any of his blending sounds. Speech therapy is on-going. He was also delayed in walking (15 months), crawling (10 months), and pretty much everything. There is nothing wrong with him health-wise, he's just a late bloomer on many things. He was a preemie, but he was born at the 36-37 week borderline, so he wasn't extremely early (and 8 lbs 5 oz, 21" so he didn't seem like a preemie). Other than having water in his lungs and spending two days in NICU because of that, he was healthy at birth.

    Now to the present, my son started kindergarten August 3rd. He is getting mostly green faces, two yellow faces: one for playing during center time and another for leaving the playground to go to the bathroom without telling a teacher. A progress report was sent home, and he had "Not Satisfactory" in these areas: listens carefully, stays on task, follows directions, follows class rules, and does his/her best work. He got "Satisfactory" in treats others with respect. This raised a concern for me, because I couldn't understand why he is getting green faces if he is behaving so badly in school. I arranged a meeting with his teacher. It was last week.

    She said that my son is easily distracted, and he wants to play during center times. That is her biggest concern at the moment. This is my fault, because as I said...I'm an at home mom. He's had structure, but not to that extent. I was/am pretty lenient about letting him guide me in activities daily.

    She also said that he does not recognize his letters and can not pronounce their sounds. We have been working on letters at home for two years now. My three year old son has them down pat, but my oldest son can not remember them. I try to make them fun. We play games, such as Bingo and Dora ABC, using the alphabet, we have all the Leap Frogs phonics sets - the game, the fridge magnets that pronounce the sounds, the Leap Frog letter/word movies, and all of us make up silly songs using the alphabet and their sounds. My oldest son has absolutely no interest in his letters though, and he is constantly telling me that they "make my brain hurt".

    Numbers on the other hand, he is wonderful at. He is adding and subtracting up to twenty. He loves any activity that has to do with numbers and math.

    She also said that his fine motor development is bad. I have a list of activities to work on him with for that, so I hope to help him soon. He is not writing his letters or name very well, and his coloring is definitely out of the lines for his school work. At home, he writes and colors fine, so I'm not sure how to get him to spend more time doing his work at school. His teacher said that every center is timed for 20-30 minutes, and even with his sloppy school work, he is not finishing his worksheet in the allotted time.

    They get report cards next month, and she showed us a sample of my sons from where he stands now. It was not good. She said that the classroom were going to step things up a lot after the holidays, and if my son didn't catch up, he may have to repeat again next year.

    I'm really at a loss about what more I can do with him. He is to the point to where he's crying if I try to do anything that involves learning with him now. I'm not getting frustrated at him, I'm not forcing it on him. I'm trying to do fun things with him that just happens to involve the alphabet and sounds. He is my docile child, so I can not believe this behavior is coming from him.

    I have always wanted school/learning to be fun for him. It is saddening me that the opposite is holding true so far. :( Do any of you have any suggestions for helping him enjoy learning? My deepest thanks for reading this novel I posted and for any advice that you can give.

    Gail
     
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  3. gailatmsu

    gailatmsu New Member

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    Sep 30, 2006

    Oh, and I am not sure if it matters but he attends school from 7:30 AM until 3 PM every day except Wednesdays. On Wednesdays, it is from 7:30 AM until 1:45. They get two snack periods, I believe two recesses, lunch, and nap time.
     
  4. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Oct 1, 2006

    First, you are more than welcome to post here. I teach 5th grade so I don't know how much help I can be, but we have some amazing lower grade teachers. I know that in Louisiana the criteria for kindergarten has really gone up. They are doing things in kindergarten that amaze me (patterns, etc). I will also tell you that I have had several kids who have repeated either k or 1st and I never knew until I saw their records.
    Did his teacher have any suggestions on what to do to help? Also, have you discussed this with his pediatrician? He/she might have some suggestions to make as well. Like I said, I teach 5th so I'm not sure of any specific help to offer, I'm going to leave that for our experts at that grade level, but in the meantime I just wanted to let you know that I admire you for seeking assistance for him.
    Good luck!!
     
  5. Danny'sNanny

    Danny'sNanny Connoisseur

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    Oct 1, 2006

    I have noticed that some of the kids who don't turn five until a month or two before K (especially the boys) have the most trouble. Kinder has gotten very academic, and some of the younger kids have trouble with that.
    I also feel that kinder is probably the easiest grade for a child to repeat, and in many cases, the student has a very positive experience the second time around.
    Good luck in finding the help and advice you're looking for!
     
  6. kinderteach3

    kinderteach3 Rookie

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    Oct 1, 2006

    My advice is to not push too much on him... you stated several times he was a late bloomer... well maybe he is academically as well. My fear is that if you start pushing him too hard, then we will become frustrated and learn to not like school. I had a student who sounded very similar to your son last year. I told her parents the same thing. I feel my student, and possibly your son (although it is still very early to tell, wait until the spring to really think about it) would benefit from another year in K. Unfortunatly my students parents weren't on board with that idea, and now the little girl is struggling her way through first grade, where given another year in K she might have had a chance to catch up.
    Basically, don't blame yourself, or your son, or his teacher. Each student is different. It is possible he's just not ready. If things are still this way by the end of the year, consider another year in K.... (PS- there are ways to tell a student they are repeating K without putting the "blame" on them.... for ex. our principal tells them that she messed up and its her fault, but now they get to be a SUPER K b/c they know the routines already.)
    Good luck! Keep your head up.
     
  7. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Oct 1, 2006

    We have a kid in 1st that isn't ready for it. We wish the parents would see it. He doesnt' like school because he is frustrated.

    Having said that, you can work on helping him understand the school rules, but don't make him a "bad" kid because he didn't do it well that day. Also in 1st we are STILL having to work on fine motor skills. Try doing some fun cutting (with safety sissors)/drawing/or other fine motor arts and crafts at home (when he isn't exhausted from school..don't push it).

    Also, listen for the teacher to make POSTITIVE comments. There should be a balance there.
     
  8. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    Oct 1, 2006

    It is still early in the school year. I always find a big change in most of my students in January after Winter Break. It is those students' who forget everything after this 2 week break that I worry about.

    His green and yellow faces are his whole day behavior/participation. Your son's teacher probably gives him so many green faces because although he is doing "messy" work or not completing his assignments, he is trying and his behavior is not disrupting her lessons, taking her away from the other students' or distracting the other students...

    If he does a lot of paper pencil tasks to learn his letters at school, try shaving cream, chocolate pudding, chalk on the sidewalk, paint with water.... at home.

    Since he has a phonological delay why don't you say the letter sounds and have him point to the correct letter. Ask his speech therapist to write down the sounds that he can say correctly and expect your son to learn these letter sounds -- share this with the classroom teacher. There is no reason to frustrate your son in trying to get him to pronounce sounds that he can't. www.starfall.com is an excellent website for learning phonics. I had a non-verbal child in my class for a week and he was going around saying the letter sounds he learned from the songs and activities on the website.

    If his fine motor skills are drastically different at home as compared to school, maybe volunteer in his class one day to see if you can figure out why. Maybe he is rushing because he cannot have free play or snack until his work is done....

    With your son being a preemie, he is chronologically the correct age for kg., but he may be a couple of months in terms of "readiness" as compared to same age peers.
     
  9. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Oct 1, 2006

    I second that comment about it being too early in the year to be knowing what will happen next year.
     
  10. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Oct 1, 2006

    I would say that I don't have a single child in my class who knows all their letters or letter sounds. And the oral blending of sounds is a very difficult skill for most children to learn. I think it's wonderful he has such a knack for math - a lot of kids have a superior ability in either reading or math and struggle with the other. I really wouldn't worry yet. Reading for kids whether it be letter sounds or sight words just kind of "kicks in" for them one day , like the other respondent said, usually in about February. Keep working with him at home (I wish I had parents with such an interest in what they can do at home). I agree with the letters in shaving cream, fruit loops, pasta, etc. Make sandpaper letters, maybe he's more of a tactile learner. Keep practicing in different ways and keep it fun. It's so sad to see kids frustrated with learning at this age, it should be exciting for them.

    And on the centers thing, just keep encouraging him to follow the rules of the class - reward him for it. Ask the teacher to let you know specifically each day what he did if he doesn't get that green. Good luck!
     
  11. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    Oct 3, 2006

    Really? I find this kind of sad, personally. Is this common? All my preschoolers are starting to actually read and have known their letters and sounds for two years now. But, that is off topic, sorry. I was just kind of surprised by that comment.

    I think you have gotten a lot of good advice. If he will have to repeat next year it's not the worst thing ever, IMHO, especially considering his previous delays and his birthday. The school sounds like they are working with you and not against you. They want what is best for your child. I agree it is way to early in the year to determine what next year will bring, he may surprise you and the teacher by next semester.

    Give him time, but make sure he is having fun while learning. If it's not fun, he will not want to learn, become frustrated and not like school. Try hands on activities with him. Do you know what kind of learning style he has? This will help you in determining "how" to help him.
     
  12. TeacherRW

    TeacherRW Cohort

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    Oct 3, 2006

    If I were in your position (especially with being a SAHM), I would pull him out of school. Let him have this year to grow and mature. He seems like he is not ready at all for this environment. Please know that this is NOT your fault. With his pattern of late development and the preemie status, I would think that it would be in his (and yours) to wait until next year to send him. Waiting until January or later in the year is not OK in my opinion. I wouldn't want him to continue to see school as a bad thing. Let his speech develop and he'll feel more success next year in school.

    I have seen this happen with other students... they aren't ready and we keep them in this setting *hoping and praying* that things will turn around when in reality-- all they really needed was the "gift of time". Time to grow and mature so that he has every possible opportunity for success.

    Good luck in your decisions...
     
  13. souptunuts

    souptunuts Rookie

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    Oct 3, 2006

    I think you are smart for coming here.

    I think the most important thing you can do for him right now is help him like school and want to go! Keep his heart in it and help him to not get frustrated. He will get it eventually. You sound like a good mom and that you know what you are doing and you are in tune with his education.


    Don't discount preschool. Even though you felt it was just social, there is a ton of learning that is done there. Kids learn a lot through social interaction.

    Also, I can guarantee you that your child is not the only one having problems with letter recognition and sounds. Nor is he the only one getting yellow faces. I also recommend volunteering (as someone else did) during center time so you can see for yourself. You will feel better.


    Okay now to your question about why not more yellow faces? He, more than likely, is not intentionally doing any of the things she said are not satisfactory. If he was intentionally doing these things she would probably sign his log.

    for example: let's say he asked 3 times if he could go get his snack from his backpack. The teacher says no all three times and repeatedly tells him he has to wait until 10:00. He then walks out and gets his snack anyway. That would be "not following directions/ not listening and disobeying". This is much more serious than the child who reaches in his desk and pulls out his snack because he honestly thinks it should be time for snack.

    In the case of your son, view the not satisfactory as "we need to work on these things". I don't think his behavior is bad.


    Some children do want to play during center time (they are only 5 after all) and some just cruise right through their work. What does the teacher do if he doesn't get it done? Can you work together with the teacher on a goal where if he gets his center work done each week he gets special mommy/ son time or something like that? I knew a family that went to a fast food restaurant every saturday after soccer. If the child finished their work for the week the parents would let her choose the restaurant. Believe it or not that worked!

    How much time are you spending with him on this stuff at home? Since he is at the point of crying, I would probably just work on letter recognition and sounds for now. And someone said write letters in shaving cream. That's great too. Pick a few easy letters to start with that only have one sound like T M S D ( or let him pick the letters) and make up silly things like you say "D-d-don't dunk the duck" and "T-t-timmy takes the tiny toy" and have him say d-d D and t-t T and write it in the shaving cream.

    Partner with that teacher and above all, help junior keep his chin up.

    The world needs more moms like you.
     
  14. gailatmsu

    gailatmsu New Member

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    Oct 3, 2006

    I'm late responding to this. I'm sorry - we had a busy weekend and then my youngest son caught a virus. Thank you all for your advice. I'll definitely take it all under consideration. He really is enjoying school, so I'm sorry if it come across that he doesn't. He doesn't enjoy his letters/sounds/phonics, but he likes all other aspects of it. We usually wake up at 6:30, and he's ready by 7:10 when I start to get dressed (I walk him to/from school daily). He is constantly telling me it is time to leave for the next 15 minutes until it is actually time to leave, so he really does love it.

    To answer the questions...

    If Jake doesn't finish his work in center time, his teacher sends it home for homework. The two of us work on it together in the evenings, and he does it just fine. I think the problem is that he doesn't have a concept of time yet, so I think I'll buy a timer and do fun things with them and have it timed for 20-30 minutes to get him adjusted to it. Maybe an art project together or even give him 20 minutes on a video game - just so he can understand the concept of it.

    His teacher didn't really offer us any suggestions other than to practice with him at home each night with flash cards (which we're already doing and have been for quite some time prior to school) and to try to help him not get distracted so easily. The only time he is distracted at home is while we're cleaning, and we usually turn that into a game. If the game doesn't work, I tell him that if he doesn't help, then that means he doesn't earn his computer game time for the day (we have educational fun games for him).

    I have thought about volunteering at his school, but I wasn't sure if it would distract him and the teacher more. Jake is the type of child, if he's around me, he wants to sit in my lap and be around me constantly. He is my cuddly child.

    I did talk to my husband, and I think what we decided to do was to have theme weeks at our house also. For instance, he's going over the letter N this week, so we will do things to put emphasis on the letters...like have him help cook noodles, get out the telescope and talk to them about the night sky, have my friend who is a nurse come over to dinner and talk about her job to him (they're also doing community heroes this week), there's a bird's nest around our house that's empty so we may take that down and show them that, just do things that we know he'll enjoy and talk about how fun the letter 'N' is. The plan is to do similar things each week with his letters since flash cards aren't working so well and are getting him frustrated. I don't know if that idea will work, but it won't hurt to try it out.

    This week, we also have to find a way to get him to learn the LOGhtPA sounds, because they are having a test on them Friday. He knows P, A, and O very well, so we've got almost half of them. :)

    Thanks again. This board is very helpful. I browsed around, and it has a lot of great ideas for activities along with some great advice from teachers. I really appreciate it!
     
  15. ad65shorty

    ad65shorty Companion

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    Oct 3, 2006

    Good for you!! I love your theme idea!!

    Just another suggestion. I would start with the letters in his name first (make it meaningful), then proceed to others meaningful letters, such as M and O (for Mom) and D and A (for Dad), etc. Then he has a purpose behind learning the letters, not just drill and kill.

    By the way, the posts have been really good on this. There's nothing more I would add. :)
     
  16. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    Oct 3, 2006

    You sound like such a wonderfully involved parent! Kudos to you!

    If you are uncertain about volunterring in his class, you can always ask the teacher her honest advice. Let her know if she doesn't think it's a good idea then to tell you the truth.

    Is he a perfectionist at all? The only reason I ask this is because I know with my own son, he gets easily frustrated if he doesn't get something right away, then gets discouraged and doesn't like it anymore. I have to be super patient with him and do a lot of encouraging.

    Good luck! From what you are describing, it sounds like you have a really great handle on things.

    Just a couple suggestions for his fine motor...make a cutting bin (plastic bin with scrap paper and scissors for him to randomly cut things), picking things up with tweezers and transferring them, rolling playdough or clay, cutting playdough with scissors, ripping paper, and tracing lines.
     
  17. gailatmsu

    gailatmsu New Member

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    Oct 3, 2006

    Thanks. :) I just love him and want what's best for him. Education has always been very important to me, and I really hope it is to my children also.

    To answer your question, yes, he's a little perfectionist. A little too much of one at times, and I'm sure you understand since your son is too. :) Thanks for the suggestions on the fine motor activities.
     
  18. icis1

    icis1 New Member

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    Oct 5, 2006

    Testing to see if this works. I'm new.
     
  19. icis1

    icis1 New Member

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    Oct 5, 2006

    It works! Hi Gail. I'm a mom of 3 and an All day kdg tchr in my 8th year in Pgh, PA. Sounds like your son has some developmental delays and is young and maybe not ready for an all day Kdg program. Just my opinion.
    1st thing though ----- What does your pediatrician say about all these delays? I have a high functioning special needs child who didn't speak until 4. With early intervention, he is now in 3rd grade an fine. He went to a special speech preschool funded by the county and it really helped. This year I have 2-3 students that are very young boys who just turned 5 in the last 1-2 months. They perform many of the things that your son does. When your son get's yellows? it is because he isn't following directions but there is a difference in why. Some kids choose bad behavior and know it but kids that are less mature may not understand but the teacher has to do his/her job. If he has to repeat kdg, that isn't a bad thing. You may want to talk to the principal and teacher and decide if he needs a year of preschool first but don't wait too long he may get frustrated. It's not your fault or his for these problems. Some kids just aren't ready. Every kid is different. The first call I would make is to my pediatrician. GOOD LUCK!
     
  20. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Oct 6, 2006

    He is gonna achieve everything in time because he has a super mom! Im in this field and I am not THAT involved. That's great. I also really like that not only are you involved, but you want to do it in such a POSITIVE way. You recognize the value of enjoying education rather than pushing education. That's the key to it all!
     
  21. ViolaSwamp

    ViolaSwamp Habitué

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    Oct 7, 2006

    I didn't read all of the comments so sorry if I repeat. I would consider pulling him this year and putting him in a preschool that is more academic than his previous one but is shorter than the K program (3 hours each day perhaps). Full day K is a long day for many 5 year olds. Even though he was full sized at birth he was still a preemie. Birth weight and size do not indicate that everything was fully developed. You do not want to crush his spirit and have him hating school this young. If he is constantly frustrated that could happen.

    If you do not wish to pull him from K do you have a 1/2 day option? Our district offers 1/2 day K to all students and full day K with tuition pay. Otherwise I would ask the teacher to refer him to special ed. If your 3 year old is getting stuff before your 5 year old it could be a serious concern. Then again it could be that he learns differently and that you need to try a variety of approaches (as someone else suggested--the shaving cream etc.).

    Oh and in my class a 'yellow' is merely a warning. It just means the behavior needs to stop now. There is no consequence. Kind of like getting out of a speeding ticket with just a warning.
     
  22. NELNaples

    NELNaples Rookie

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    Oct 7, 2006

    I think there is some really good advice here. Most of all, I think just work with him whenever you can - it can be identifying letters on signs to spotting site words or letters in the newspaper or whatever you are reading.

    You sound like a very good mom and very involved and I think that is the most important thing. Everyone learns at a different level and I would worry about what the siblings are doing. You never know what can happen when you show support and encouragement! The fact that you are concerned, to me, is awesome! I struggle because I teach in a very poor area and we don't have the parental support.

    Also, sit in on some classes if you can. Or volunteer. It might give you an insight into the class.:)
     

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