Help with response to parent concern

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by elliemay, Dec 18, 2009.

  1. elliemay

    elliemay Rookie

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    Dec 18, 2009

    Yesterday was our last day of preschool before the holidays. As an independent center, I let the children cut and paste from toy ads/ magazines from Christmas ads I have collected. The only instruction given to them was to choose things that they like, cut and paste to a sheet of construction paper.

    Last night I received an e-mail from a parent with these thoughts:

    "I feel I need to mention something that really concerned me. Today the boys came home with a paper with cut outs of toys from a toy magazine. I don't know what educational value a project like this would have, so I'm sure it was just done as something fun. This I don't mind, however, I have tried really hard for the last several months to keep all of the kids away from toy catalogs, stores and commercials. Not only do we not have the money this year for excessive buying, but I still feel my children are too young to make wise choices about the kinds of toys that would be best for them. In addition, Santa has already received his letter from the kids, and we are finished with any shopping that we planned to do."

    She went on to say: I just hope that you won't choose this activity in the future in consideration for the differences in families and traditions at Christmas.

    I want to respond but am not sure what, if anything, to say. This activity was a "filler" for the last day which used fine motor skills. I would appreciate any thoughts or suggestions.
     
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  3. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Dec 18, 2009

    Dear Parent,

    I am sorry you are upset about the cut and paste project we did. Part of the preschool curriculum is developing motor skills and cut and paste projects are one way to develop these skills. The children's instructions were to cut out pictures they liked and paste them on the background. This was not intended to be a wish list in any way, just an expression of their likes.


    You could probably phrase that better. My kids just got home from school, and writing "sensitive" letters isn't something I can usually do quickly. In my own parent contact, I usually write and rewrite letters several times before I get the wording "just right". Good luck!
     
  4. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Dec 18, 2009

    I would have replied along the same lines as mmswm... and actually, I think it's phrased pretty well... but, I'm also brain dead since it's Friday afternoon, so...

    By the way, how did they do with the activity? I ask because I usually have kids cut and paste a "foods" plate and they usually really struggle with cutting things out from newspaper ads. (The picture they end up with is usually not the one they were trying to cut, even the kids wih good control). So I'm impressed that your kids could do it, way to go! ;)
     
  5. teacherR

    teacherR Companion

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    Dec 18, 2009

    I agree with mmswm. Although I do not think I would write back, I would probably give this parent a phone call. It is hard to project emotion through email. I find that in these situations it is better to be able to hear one another. It also shows that you heard what she was saying and that it mattered even if you choose not to agree. Often times emails get misinterpeted and relationships become damaged.

    I am curious how you feel about your own art project? Do you feel her complaint is legitimate?
     
  6. EDUK8_ME

    EDUK8_ME Cohort

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    Dec 18, 2009

    Dear Parent,

    Thank you for bringing your concern regarding a recent activity to my attention. although the activity was considered more of a fine motor activity that focused on the use of developing scissor skills, I realize that the use of toy catalogs may not have been the best choice for pictures especially this time of year. I apologize for the concerns this activity caused you.
     
  7. mrgrinch09

    mrgrinch09 Comrade

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    Dec 18, 2009

    She sounds like she's stressed about her financial situation for this holiday season, and is projecting her stress on you.

    Just explain to her that it was a simple cut and paste, fine motor building activity, and wasn't meant to be a wish list for the children.

    That's my nice, professional teacher answer.

    My mean, evil teacher response would be:

    Sorry you didn't like the activity, but you need to realize that I won't be seeking your approval before I make future lesson plans. After Christmas break we're going to be cutting and pasting pictures of what type of dogs the children want their parents to get them for their next birthday.
     
  8. tracykaliski

    tracykaliski Connoisseur

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    Dec 18, 2009

    :toofunny:
     
  9. TeacherGrl7

    TeacherGrl7 Devotee

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    Dec 18, 2009

    Hehehehe I love it. Oooooh if the parents could hear out "evil teacher" responses. We'd all be fired, LoL.
     
  10. Rebel1

    Rebel1 Connoisseur

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    Dec 18, 2009

    Here's another evil one...:D
    MrG09,
    See what you started?;)
    Dear Parent,
    Since you didn't approve of my cutting activity, I would like for you to BRING in appropriate "COPIED off the INTERNET" pictures that the children can cut out. I need these ASAP, in fact by the next day we meet. While you're at @ it, I'd also like some copies of the vowels, both the long and short sounds, AND pictures of ITEMS that begin with the sounds, that the children can cut out. Oh! By the way, I have 32 students, AND I will need 3 sheets per child of pictures to cut out.
    Your help is GREATLY appreciated.
    Sincerely,
    Ms. Delegator
     
  11. elliemay

    elliemay Rookie

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    Dec 19, 2009

    Thank you all for your comments and suggestions! I will use some of them in my letter but will exclude the "evil" teacher ones.:lol:

    You guys are the best! Have a great holiday season!
     
  12. elliemay

    elliemay Rookie

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    Dec 19, 2009

    They did really well actually. Some just cut one or two but others had many. Sometimes when they cut things out from magazines or food ads the actual product turns out really small--you can hardly tell it is an apple for example. :)
     
  13. elliemay

    elliemay Rookie

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    Dec 19, 2009

    Hmmm, I didn't consider it as an art project just a fun activity with scissor practice. :)

    That said, the concern did get me to thinking about the activity. However, I will probably do it again. I didn't emphasize a "wish list" or "something that Santa could bring". I'll rethink it some more probably.
     
  14. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Dec 19, 2009

    Don't let one over sensitive parent dictate your teaching style. If you elimintated every project that a parent had a minor objection to, you'd be left with very little.

    One of my favorite projects to do with my middle schoolers is to have the "redecorate" a room in their house. They had to get accurate scale drawings of a room in their house by measuring the room of their choice (or they could compute how big a room in my old house was from the blueprints), then plan out a remodeling project and compute cost. This project is amazing, the kids love it and it incorperates many different topics. I taught in the inner city. I would never stop this project just because a parent told me that she felt bad that she couldn't afford the depicted changes.
     
  15. Maxadoodle

    Maxadoodle Comrade

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    Dec 19, 2009

    When we do something like your activity, we do it as a giant class mural, then hang it in our room for everyone to enjoy.
     
  16. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Dec 20, 2009

    We did a very similar activity (only with drawing/writing instead of toy ads). However, we actually phrased it as a letter to Santa, which you didn't.

    You can't allow one parent to change what you do with your kids, especially when it wasn't anything wrong. I'd tell her that you appreciate that she is concerned, but it wasn't meant to be a letter to Santa, just some practice with scissors skills, and that toys pique the kids' interest, getting them to focus more on the task.
    Kim
     
  17. Rebel1

    Rebel1 Connoisseur

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    Dec 20, 2009

    EM,
    (HJ)..BUT it's cool!:angel:
    What I do that the children enjoy a lot (Pre-K)...
    The children trace pictures; fruits, planes, shapes, or whatever you have in cardboard or stencils. They can cut them out before or after they color or decorate them. The children are putting a lot of their FINE MOTOR SKILLs to use! They have so much fun sharing and talking with their friends abt what they are tracing, cutting, decorating, or coloring.:D It gives me time to observe and do anecdotes, and find out who needs to practice what.:cool:
    Rebel1
     
  18. elliemay

    elliemay Rookie

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    Dec 21, 2009

    Well, I have sent my reply. Thanks to all for your suggestions and comments. The children really did enjoy this project and I will probably do it again. Rebel1--thanks for the input about the tracing of pictures. I do this with the alphabet, but "theme" wise it will be great!

    Have a great and restful Holiday season everyone! Now, if I could just get some cleaning and shopping done....
    :)
     

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