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Monday, September 26, 2011

Preschool is stressing me out and not because the curriculum is hard

Preschool is stressful.  I'm not kidding.  I'm about to have a nervous breakdown over this.  (Okay, so maybe I'm exaggerating a little but not a lot.)  Let me explain.

Last week, I got a form from Gavin's preschool telling me what they were working on that week in class.  (He goes to preschool in the mornings and daycare in the afternoon - even though it's all the same place.)  From said form, I learned that last week's theme was nature, that they talked about the letter "C", that Gavin spent most of his time playing with Carson in the block area and housekeeping area (did I mention he loves to help me clean?  I am such a lucky lady.), and that they were practicing the letter "C" in their Zoo-phonics program. 

Then, I got to the "Child's Notes" part.  It started off well - letting me know that Gavin was doing well during group activities.  After that, it gave some suggestions as to how we can help extend his learning at home. It said, "Gavin needs to work on recognizing letters of the alphabet and writing his name."  Okay, I can handle that.  We've been working on his letters all summer, so we'll keep on working at them, and we'll throw in some writing practice.  Not a big deal, right?

Well, today, not even one week later, I get another form.  It tells me that this week's theme is fall, they're going to discuss what leaves are made of, and they're going to be practicing letters and numbers.  Super!  But then I got to the "Child's Notes" part . . .

Gavin does well with one-on-one activities but struggles in a group setting when learning new things.

Wait a second.  Did you just tell me that last week he did well with group activities?  And now you're telling me he doesn't?  Which one is it?!?!

Then . . .

It would be beneficial for you to work with Gavin at home by helping him recognize letters of the alphabet and practicing his name.  He also needs help holding a pencil/writing utensil.

But I have been!  You just told me this last week!  And since last week, I've been working with him.  We read books, we look at letter flashcards, we sing the alphabet song, we talk about the different letters in the words on the pages of a book . . . I'm working with him!  Is he supposed to learn this all in a week?  Do you want me to wake him up six times during the middle of the night, shove a flashcard in his face, and scream, "What letter is this!?!  Tell me now!!"  And, if he gets it wrong, I'll throw cold water in his face?

As a teacher, I know how important it is to work at home with your children - to read to them, teach them basic math and letter sounds - so, I appreciate the friendly-reminders, but you're stressing me out people.

Then, I started worrying. . . Is he behind?  Can all the other 3-year-olds recognize all the letters of the alphabet, hold a pencil correctly, and write their name?  Am I not doing enough at home?  Should we be spending more time learning and less time playing?

So, tonight, after being gone from the house for 12 hours, teaching classes, commuting two hours round-trip, making dinner, and doing a load of laundry, we spent time working on this:

Look at those beautiful g's!

And, you know what?  I'm not going to stress about it.  We'll keep working slowly, and he'll get it all eventually.  And I'm just gonna ignore those friendly reminders from preschool for awhile . . .


  1. He is 3? Lordy, sounds like they expect a lot from a 3 year old. Exposure is one thing but most 3 year olds don't write their name or numbers. They are learning to recognize numbers but writing them, not til next year usually. I am a preschool teacher. We are a socially based program and do not stress academics at all unless the child shows interest. And we usually only do that with the 4-5 year olds.

    As teacher you know that children all learn at their own pace. This is especially true in the preschool years. I'm glad you decided not to worry, but I would have a word with the teachers at your son's school, thanking them for the notes, letting them know your thoughts and your expectations. If you don't feel your son is ready to write his name, then let them know you will work on but if he gets stressed, you will stop. Hopefully you can all be on the same page! Good luck, and yes, those are amazing Gs!!

  2. Um, yeah, you ignore that. You said're a teacher, you know the importance of learning at home, but you also know the importance of play. So, no. You should not forsake play for letters. Avery can't write yet. He's the worst, actually. He knows his letters, so I'm okay with that. Gavin clearly can write. I could tell those were Gs! My God, these kids are 3! I believe it's important to work on learning activities early, but for Christ sake, let a kid be a kid. We didn't know how to read and write until 1st grade. And I'd say we didn't turn out too shabby.

  3. I am sorry you are stressed out, but I am in tears right now laughing at "What letter is this! Tell me now!" Seriously, hysterical. Trying not to laugh too hard so I dont' draw the attention of my coworkers. What? Blog reading is totally in my job description.

  4. Oh, yes, please: ignore them

    He's a little bitty guy.

    What is the rush with schools?

    A teacher once told me it was the parents that were requesting all these escalations in what's expected by the early ages.

    No, thank with them, watch them, but everyone take a deep breath, too.

    Amen to your plan. Agree 100 and 10 %.