When I dropped Izzy off for preschool this morning, he didn't want to get out of the car. He kept saying, "I don't wanna go school. Let's go back home." I got him out and we went in, where he was pretty excited about going in until we actually went set our feet into the classroom. I waited with him for a few minutes, then I sat him down at the table and the poor little guy just put his head down, crying, and I walked away.
I went and worked out, then I went back to spy. I started not to, but I decided to go ahead. I peeked in and they were getting ready to have snack time again, and I think he saw me, so I ran. I asked the secretary if he'd had to come to the office again, and he hadn't, so there was one positive.
I go back to pick him up and I watch them all line up. This time, he's the very last kid in line. He's looking through the window and his eyes light up when he sees me. He's soooo good, standing and waiting his turn. The teacher keeps looking over me to get other parents to come and get their kids, so I walk right up to her and then she told me and another dad that she needed to talk to us, so we had to wait.
It was horrible. I felt like a little kid getting called to the principal's office. She took the dad back first, then they left and it was just her, the assistant, Izzy and me.
She told Izzy to tell me what he did today. Of course, he didn't, so she had him get his folder out of his backpack and show me. He opened it up and a crinkled ball fell out. "Ahhh," I said, because he's really into wadding papers up right now. She looks mildly horrified, almost as if he'd tried to cop a feel. Which I'm sure I'll hear about before too long as well.
"He was supposed to put this on his colored picture (she held up a drawing of an apple) and color the seeds black, but he crumpled it up instead," she disdainfully tells me. I'm sure I'm looking happy, though, because jeez - that's nothing, right??
But then she continues to tell me that after he crumpled up his own colored picture, he went after the picture of the little boy beside him. They stopped him before he got it, but I'm pretty sure that's when they put him into the time out, which I agree he needed after that.
Here's the twist, though - she told me he was wonderful until 10:45 (preschool starts at 9 a.m.). She and the assistant both were so impressed with his behavior, and said it seemed like someone had turned a switch to make him be sooo good.
Then I asked her, "So do you think this is going to work out?" She said, "I don't know, we'll have to wait and see." That is a stupid response. Maybe it's completely honest, and she's not sure yet she can handle him, or want to keep him in the program. But telling me that she doesn't know if it's going to work out, however, makes me want to bolt. If he was good for 2/3 of the class, then I don't understand her hesitation. If he's made this much improvement in four classes, then YES, he's almost assuredly going to keep improving.
My friend Denise, who's subbed before at a preschool, and who did her student-teaching at a gradeschool, thinks that the teachers may be used to most of the parents wanting stricter discipline than what I want. She also suggested that perhaps they are either not willing, or not able, to give him the individual attention he needs at this point.
For instance, when I asked the teacher, "Why did he tear up his artwork?," she just threw her hands up and said, "I don't have any idea!" Then ASK him next time! Maybe he was just being a brat like she clearly thought (and I actually agree with her) but maybe he didn't like the way it looked and he just needed to be told that it looked good.
I really do want him to learn discipline, but I want it delivered lovingly and with a smile. These two teacher speak rather sharply, both to the kids and parents. I want to know that he maybe gets a hug after he's been put in time out.
On the other hand, though, he was good for nearly two hours today, so it seems like their methods are working.
My other new problem (I don't know - WILL I ever shut up about this already??) is that the kids seem to be expected to be little soldiers. Do what you're told, stay in your seat, be quiet, and no matter what, don't act your age! I'm amazed that each time I've looked in, the kids have all been sitting quietly in their seats, but does that mean that they're all losing their spark? Surely a group of 16 three and four year olds should be having FUN right??
And that leads to my final point for today: Izzy does seem to be enjoying himself. If we ask him if he had fun, he happily answers, "Yes!" It in entirely possible that he'll thrive in a strict environment. Some kids need that kind of structure. I can't imagine that mine will, but I also couldn't imagine they'd both have blonde hair either.
So what do you all think? Leave him in his current class where he seems to be happy but I don't agree with their methods, or try to get him into another program that more closely mirrors my parenting philosophy?
Heck, help me make a final decision about this, and maybe I'll start blogging about something else!