Sunday, September 23, 2007

First Parents Night and some Art for School

A couple of days ago I went for my first Parents Night at little S’s daycare/pre-school. This was the first time I was going for such a thing. I had been to a Parents-Teachers meet before but that was more like a one-on-one.
This I had no idea about and D was not in town, so I went alone and was thus heavily influenced by solely my own views.

Apparently it was an introductory sort of an evening where the teacher discussed her intention and goals in life and also in her classroom. She gave us printed sheets, materials and even made us do hand on stuff like painting apples and cutting them up and discussing them !!!

Now before I go on my rant, let me tell you I am the kind of person who is not very comfortable with “change”. So I was very upset with this whole transition thing where S was moving on from her pre-school class to pre-K class. I was getting comfortable with her teachers when this announcement came and I was really sad that S had to move on from Ms. A’s class. I even wanted to cry on her last day…yes I am weird.

Now again S is not really supposed to go to a Pre-K class because she is a December born and all schools here have a September or October cut off so she cannot make it to Kindergarten next year. However her teacher(Ms. A) and me both thought that it is better if she moves on to Pre-K than Pre-School2 (an intermediate) class because there is more stuff done in Pre-K and she can benefit from that. That being the case she is the youngest in this class.

The teacher for her Pre-K is a young woman(Ms. K) just done with undergrad in Child Ed and as a result very enthu to put all her theoretical knowledge to work. In fact, too enthu I felt. In her discussion she kept stressing “how she will get the kids ready for Kindergarten” by next year and blah, blah, blah….At a point I told her that a kindergarten in a public school does not really expect a lot from the kids but she insisted that it did.

The thing I disliked is she went on to say that she will start giving out homework to these kids starting November. “Homework” at this age ??? But why ? Most of these kids spend at least 8 hours with her (this being a daycare) and I thing that is ample time for her to “get them ready for kindergarten”. Why give them homework ? I do make S practice her name etc. at home but nothing regular and it is more in a fun way, like she makes cards and signs her name on it and such stuff. Don’t you think Homework might not be a good idea at this age ?

This put me off. Next I noticed this young woman was too animated, not in the warm way but you know the kind who move around their hands daintily and make amazing faces while they talk. It is all very fine in many situations, but for a teacher for smal kids I prefer someone with a warm & kind smile and then you can flay your hands as much as long as you do not hold your fingers straight daintily.

I know I am being judgmental but hey come on I need to judge when it comes to my daughter’s teacher. I do not also want to dislike my daughter’s teacher. I want to be sad and misty eyed when my daughter moves on from this class. I want to like her teacher. Let me hope she turns out to be fine and her exuberant theoretical knowledge gives way for more love and tender care for these kids.

Ok she also made us do a family project which I grumbled about. The end result was nice though. All you artsy-crafty moms can try this out for your next project

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The Me Board

For this “Me Board” you need the following

  1. A posterboard
  2. Cardborad or posterboard to make cut outs of your kids hands and feet
  3. A paper plate to make the face
  4. Lots of pics and other stuff to glue on the posterboard
  5. Decorate the face with hair, googly eyes, beads etc.
  6. Paste the feet and hand cut out as shown


Asha said...

Sandeepa, you are toooo emotional, try not to get attached to anything or anyone too much!
My kids were born in March,so they went to K at 51/2 yrs old too. Advantage is that they are 6 months older than the other kids and wayyy smarter and adjust better!:)
Try not to be against the teacher even if something she does you don't like about her.
But regarding home work,it is not like Indian schools, don't worry.Just some fun stuff for the kids at that age, but if it bothers S too much,then you need to talk to the teacher.
In Tushar's class,she used to give homework everyday and some parent went and told her not to. Now she skips two days a week!
Personally,I want both my kids doing atleast some home work everyday instead of sitting around doing nothing.
S will be fine, don't worry too much girl, relax!:))

Sandeepa said...


I DO NOT want to be against the teacher. But this is NOT a school yet. It is still a pre-school where kids play & learn.

If I don't like anything about the teacher I go ahead and tell to resolve the issue.That makes me feel better.

Like she was asking the kids to bring disposable packets of milk/juice to school instead of cups because she and the asst. teacher did not want to rinse them. Now in all other classes the teachers rinse the glasses out. (Mind you this is daycare and they charge quiet a lot of money per month so it is their policy to rinse out stuff etc. for quality control)

I clearly told her that disposable packs of organic milk will be expensive for me to buy and so I am going to send her cups of milk as I have been doing.She agreed.

indosungod said...

Sandeepa, DD1 was the youngest in preschool and still is, most times it never matters. I can understand your concerns with the teacher, but the eyes of little S she might turn out to be a good one even :) In the bigger scheme of things there is always going to be one or two teachers who are not great and we learn to suffer through them.

I don't remember who but someone asked me if I remembered my Kindergarten teacher, I am still trying to recollect and can't.

Relax Sandeepa, I am the same way changes bother me too, but it will feel better in a months time.

mummyjaan said...

I remember my first impression of my child's preschool/daycare teacher was: she's very loud, advertising her school too much, has an unpleasant hoarse voice (grated on my ears) - I really hoped DD would be spending more time with the other nice teacher with the sweet voice and gentle manners (there were two).

But DD took to her so well within the first months. After month 3, when we went to pick her up, she wanted to stay at the preschool and not come home :(.

I realized later that she was - is - a very warm and caring person - all the children like her very much.

That said, I can't imagine giving homework to a young child. They'll be dealing with enough of that later on in school. Maybe just talk to the teacher and let her know how you feel?

GettingThereNow said...

Sandeepa, I agree with you. Homework in pre-school, specially when the kids already spend 8 hours there is a little too much. I would second mummyjaan - talk to the teacher and tell her your concerns and take it from there.

mnamma said...

I do agree that preschool home work is a little too much. But if it is an activity that you both enjoy, then I think it is fine. We usually think that 'the first impression is the best impression' like the famous saying goes, but many a times I have been mistaken about people by judging them in the first vist itself. Conveying your emotions to her like Mummyjan says would help. S would adjust pretty soon. Don't worry and the craft project was very good!

Sheela said...

sandeepa, i know i have to face this next year, so, am reading all the wonderful things moms share here - is the homework mandatory or optional? what happens if S is too tired and just does not get around to homework? are the craft projects optional too?

i do agree with you about minimizing disposables - i mean, what are we teaching our little kids if we show them how to accumulate more garbage by not rinsing and reusing?

have you talked to the teacher about this recently? i mean, pre-K is a bit early for rigorous homework schedule of that sort - I taught college kids and they grumbled a lot about the *weekly* assignments I gave them! have you asked her what advantage she feels her homework and tasks would it give S - how will it equip her better for KG?

looking forward to follow up on this a few months down the road when you can share with us how things are progressing...

MahaVishnu said...

It is never a good idea to enter into a 'relation ship' ( and trust me your child's teacher and you do have one! - like it or not :)with misgivings. The biggest reason is that all children have this uncanny ability to read their parents minds ( It is very disconcerting, but true !). So, if you are holding back your good will/judgement for the teacher, your child may read into that as 'My mom does not like the teacher and may be I shouldn't too' and that could be detrimental to her schooling experience. A second point: You said, the teacher is a fresh graduate - may be she is just as nervous meeting the parents. A lot of them (in my experience) are super with the kids and very nurturing but when it comes to parents, they can get flustered. So, it might be a good idea to have a one-on-one conference and talk to her about your concerns. As far as 'too hyper' is concerned, I personally think it is an asset - I should know because I work with Kindergarteners at my son's school - it takes a lot of energy to keep them interested in what ever they are doing.
Finally, being ready for Kindergarten does not mean they need to know their three R's. It's more about being able to share, sit quietly for a length of time and focus on what the teacher is saying and taking turns and not interrupt others. You can actually see the difference in Kindergarten where there are kids who've been 'taught' these skills ( whether by parents or Pre-K teachers) progress much farther and faster during the school year.
As far as home work is concerned, it is not that they have to write a paper on particle Physics - it would be fun stuff and kids that age just love being treated like big kids and be given 'homework'. It goes a long way in boosting your child's confidence levels. I remember in my child's day care, one of the home work assignment was to think of a name for the alphabet they designed for 'Dr.Seuss day' in March. But you should definitely talk to the teacher if your child is stressing out about it. This is one of the most important mile stones in your child's life, so try and enjoy all the discoveries she is going to be making instead of worrying about the nitty gritty.
I know, easier said than done.

Sandeepa said...

Thanks Everyone about your very helpful concern.

Maybe I went overboard ;-) my daughter S is least bothered/worried about either the teacher or the homework, it is me :D

The previous class teachers were actually more attentive to the children, more into what the child said etc. so I find this class a tad disconcerting.

When I said "hyper" what I meant is she doesn't pay attention to what the kids are saying.

The Homework I guess is NOT VERY STRICT. It has not started in full swing yet, so I do not know.

For now every Friday each kid has to get 5 things starting with the letter of the week. That is ok.

Why I said I do not like Homework is when I teach S letters etc. it does not fall into "work" category. So say to make her write, I will say let us play the "Fill in the Blanks" Game. I write out 3 letter words with blanks and she writes the missing letter.

So till now those activities are play for her. I do not want her to think this is work at least not yet

swapna susarla said...

Hi Sandeepa

I think there is no need to think that much about the teacher sandeepa.In these days some teachers are saying all these ,home work,hard work get good remarks from parents.Now a days some parents want their kids to learn everything at their earlier age only!!Don't worry as time goes by it will be ok.May be a t first it will be difficult ..but S will be fine.

At sometimes i too think too much!!:-)When my daughter is starting her school for the first time..i was very much worried.."how she can manage with all the kids "as she can't talk english that much!(she can but not that good)!but now she is fine and learned english very fast!!!just i am telling u an example.just like this she adjusted for so many parents we feel that how our kids will be..?
If we are in India the kids definitely will have homework and bundle of books for this age.right?!!If u are in India do u feel this way ??????
So leave ur all worries and help S to adjust for the new class!!
All the best to u and hugs to little S.

swapna susarla said...

I forgot to write about the first nightout at school!!is it fun??i never attended one like that.I hope little S had a wonderful time!!:-)