Parents! Help!

Discussion in 'Kindergarten' started by kkidsrock, Aug 9, 2011.

  1. kkidsrock

    kkidsrock Rookie

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    Aug 9, 2011

    I am a veteran teacher, but am always open to suggestions and other points of view. That being said, how do you other K teachers deal with the parents of the student whose well-meaning parents believe that he/she should skip kindergarten and progress directly to first grade? I know that these parents mean well and only want the best for their child, but I feel like they are being a bit pushy with all of the suggestions about how we ought to teach and what we should do and all the questions about the curriculum...School hasn't even started yet!!!:dizzy:
     
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  3. Avery

    Avery Rookie

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    I wish I had some advice. I swear, parents are the hardest part of my job by far!
     
  4. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    I think perhaps reminding these parents that while academics are important in Kinder, but social skills learned in Kinder are just as important. IMO, Kinder sets the path as to what school is, how to get along with others, learning the classroom processes, and many other valuable skills neccessary and crucial for academic success.

    And if all else fails, maybe mention that in high school, the age difference will really start to show ~ she won't get to drive when her peers do, the boys will ALWAYS be older even in her own grade . . . . :)
     
  5. kkidsrock

    kkidsrock Rookie

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    Thanks a bunch for giving me your take!

    I had already played the social skills card. That is when I was told that the child already relates well to older children. I wanted to continue by suggesting that while I feel like that is great, it is also important, as you mentioned, that he is able to relate to his OWN peer group, as well. I don't think she would have heard a word that I said.

    I'm jsut so uptight because I do not want to have to be fielding questions from the parents constantly and defending what I'm doing in my own classroom. It's hard sometimes when kids come from the pricey preschools - not daycare - with smaller classes (less than 10 students) and more individual attention and a completely different curriculum to a public kindergarten with 20 or more students in the class.
     
  6. 123456now

    123456now Rookie

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    It's quite possible the parent is right. They have known their child for quite a while.
     
  7. kkidsrock

    kkidsrock Rookie

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    Oh, it's not a question of them being right. I've samples of his work and have had the opportunity to assess him. He IS bright (though I must say, we have kids as bright if not brighter than him each year, but the parents are jsut a little bit more laid back and confident in the staff), but our district does not "skip" students hardly ever. My question/concern is regarding dealing with them being pushy and questioning, questioning, questioning and school has not started yet. I worry about what it will be like once school has actually started. The dad has already asked for my e-mail address and phone number!!!
     
  8. MrsM7

    MrsM7 Rookie

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    Aug 10, 2011

    Have you involved your principal in this? Sounds like he/she should be the one fielding questions about the district policies.
     
  9. terptoteacher

    terptoteacher Connoisseur

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    Aug 10, 2011

    Don't give your phone number!
    I would work with my principal to come up with a "scripted reply" to parents...along the lines of, "Yes, I agree your child seems very bright. School policy states that ......"
    At my school, children rarely skip a grade. In order to do that, there is a pretty intense procedure.
    Does your district have a gifted program?
     
  10. kkidsrock

    kkidsrock Rookie

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    You know MrsM7, I asked myself the same question! I also heard this from my several co-workers! My P is really strong and does not have trouble standing up to parents - especially when it comes to policy, but this time...Go figure! She referred the parent to ME! We have talked with the parents and have placed the child in kindergarten and we're going to see how it goes. We do have a gifted program, but it does not serve children in kindergarten. Anyway, I would not be comforatble placing him just based on his parents opinions of his abilities, even though I have also looked at work samples etc. from the prior school. I again have no doubt that his private preschool education has served and prepared him well, in addition to having an experience rich home life, but at this point, I have not seen anything that screams at me that he should be promoted a grade. I have students each year that are where he is (and some higher) who did excellent in kindergarten and would have missed some important development and growth had they skipped a grade.

    I guess I'll just do my best and see what happens. I just do not want to be in a situation where I am having to defend my teaching/classroom practices and decisions on a regular basis. Teaching is SO fun and much more so when the parents trust us and just let us do what we do!
     
  11. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Aug 11, 2011

    Having taught PS for 30 years, I have heard this a lot. Here is what I tell the parents (besides all the above). While a child may seem ahead right now, this will even out as he gets older. He will come to a time when the new skills taught are a challenge to him. Right now, if he knows all the academics of K, I will expand his experiences to further enrich his learning. Then, I cheerfully say, let's give him a change and see what happens.
     
  12. christine89

    christine89 Companion

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    Aug 11, 2011

    You may also suggest that if things are not as challenging to this student, he could be someone who helps out other students in partner/group activities. That way it's at least saying to the parents that he does have a place and role in the classroom at the kindergarten level and next year will be more of a challenge for him academically.
     
  13. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Aug 11, 2011

    At my school we have an advanced kindergarten. These are the kinders that are coming in already reading. We test all of the k's before placing them in a class.

    In fact we started testing yesterday, there's 1 child who knows only 1 number & that is his age & no letters. Umm, wish there was a way that we could say that he needs to wait a year, but he makes the cut-off date!
     
  14. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Aug 11, 2011

    I actually respectfully disagree with this. I think many parents would be put off by their child being used as a peer tutor when they are asking how you are going to challenge them.

    I feel for you OP. I teach a gifted Kinder class and get a lot of questions from parents regarding how they are being challenged. One year parents scheduled a conference for that very reason on the 2nd day of school (like it's not a busy week or anything;)). My advice would be to lay it out for them-this is the plan for Johnny this year. Include things like independent study or small group on his reading level. Even in GT programs we don't just jump to the next year's curriculum-we go deeper into Kinder objectives including things like ethics and multiple perspectives. It may be a tough year for you to deal with them, but as long as you can show he's being challenged there shouldn't be an issue.

    The P should definitely be handling things from the admin end that there is no way for the child to be moved up-that isn't something you should have to be answering for. Definitely don't give out that number!!!!
     
  15. 123456now

    123456now Rookie

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    Aug 11, 2011

    Do they even out because everyone evens out (you know all adults are at the same level and everything)? Or do they even out because they haven't been challenged in the earlier grades? If they've just been used as peer tutors or kept in kindergarten to work out how to be in school :toofunny:, of course they are going to even out. They're not being taught anything! If they are put in 1st grade or challenged by a great K teacher, then they won't be evening out. [sighs]

    From some of these responses though, it looks like it's a crap shoot as to if you get a teacher that understands this. The parents you are dealing with are smart enough to know this. OP, you're going to have to prove that you understand how to challenge their child. If you can establish that trust early on, you won't have trouble.
     
  16. starbucks

    starbucks Comrade

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    Aug 11, 2011

    My district doesn't allow any child to skip a grade and we do not allow any child to enter kindergarten a year early. We will, however, allow extremely high K kids to go to first grade just for reading class. This has only happened once in my 15 year career. I sent a little guy in my class to first grade reading (which was still too low for him) for 45 minutes each day and he loved it! He told me he loved having more homework!! He was amazing and I don't know if I will ever have a child that bright ever again. He liked coming back to K though when reading was over because he loved the other parts of K that first grade didn't have.

    I certainly have had my fair share of parents over the years talk to me at parent orientation about how smart their little darlings are and how they need to be tested for gifted classes. In most cases these children are bright, but not gifted like they think. Fortunately, I rarely have parents push me on getting them in a gifted class (which my district doesn't even have for K) after the first marking period. They quickly see how tough kindergarten is these days and that perhaps they are not as advanced as they think. My kids come from pretty low income homes and none of my kids attend pricey prek programs. Most come to our free public school PreK (which is a great program) or they attend free Head Start or daycare preschool. So, its not just he parents that send their kids to the expensive preschools that think their kids are special. Its parents everywhere.
     
  17. MrsM7

    MrsM7 Rookie

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    Aug 11, 2011

    If possible, you might want to get an para or take 5 min yourself during play time or such to provide some 1:1 "enrichment" work. Make sure the parents know you are doing it so they feel their child's needs are being met.

    The K teacher across the hall had a boy this year who could read chapter books but wasn't comprehending. He still needed to be with the other kids for guided reading to work on this skill but the parents didn't understand that. So she pulled him aside at play time and had him read a chapter to her each day. Kind of silly, but it kept the parents off her back. Good luck!
     
  18. MzMooreTeaches

    MzMooreTeaches Cohort

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    Aug 11, 2011

    Say you are able to differentiate. If the child is academically ready for more advanced/challenging work you will be able to provide those experiences.

    Reading- comprehension, working on correct letter formation. Read books with longer text. In math you will provide addition, substration and if possible begin to present double digit addition and subtration.

    That just because its kindergarten you will still create opportunities for the child to learn and grow not just socially, but academically as well.

    Lastly you may can also say that you will incorporate some first grade material in your block and if shes really excelling you will work with the first grade teacher to allow her to visit that class for a block that shes excelling in (math, reading, writing etc)

    I dealt with this scenerio in a sense my first year teaching (last year). Use the word differentiate and explain how you will do it... then hold up your end of the bargain and you should be fine.
     
  19. kkidsrock

    kkidsrock Rookie

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    Aug 11, 2011

    Thanks!
     
  20. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Aug 11, 2011

    This happens all the time. Also, a child may be able to read very early on but they don't know the rules of phonics (which they need to know if for nothing else-spelling). I often end up teaching reading backwards to them. Just because they are at a higher reading level doesn't mean they still won't benefit from the daily lessons.
     
  21. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    We read for meaning. If they don't have comprehension then they are not reading successfully! I would explain that to the parents.
     
  22. kkidsrock

    kkidsrock Rookie

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    Kinder and kpa12b: I totally agree! AGAIN, this little one has had a diverse and experience rich background - dad is a scientist - and has knowledge related to these experiences that lots of kids don't have. That exceptionality makes him gifted - In my mind, giftedness is not always related to academic areas. However, when I tested him, he was right within the mid-average range in letter naming, missed quite a few words on the word test, tested within the mid-average range on print concepts and did well with the spelling task on Hearing and Recording Sounds, but wrote in all caps and seemingly has no awareness of spacing. I shared this with the first grade team and they all agreed that he could benefit from staying with his peers in kindergarten. His records state that he is at a DRA level of 6. I think that that is well manageable. It's not a matter of being right or wrong or not wanting to accept or challange a bright child. I just want his parents back up a little to give me a chance to get things rolling with my routines and rituals.

    Thanks again for all the helpful advice!

    Have a great year everyone!!!
     
  23. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Aug 12, 2011

    I always offer to meet with parents after I've finished my beginning of the year testing. I've only had a couple take me up on it!

    Last year to even out the classes I had to move 1 of my kiddos into the higher class. I chose a girl who already knew her letters, some of her sounds & all of her numbers. There were a couple of students I could have moved.

    I had to explain to a parent why I didn't move her child. He wasn't even considered! I explained to her where her child was and what skills he needed to work on. Problem solved.
     

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