My first parent/teacher (AKA come to Jesus) meeting

webjockeywebjockey Posts: 2,786Registered Users
I'm really dreading this.

Some background:
My sons go to a Waldorf-inspired daycare. My oldest goes full-time and seems to be an outlier in the class.
- both are the only children of color in the school

- there are no teachers of color (there used to be one guy that my oldest son loved but he recently left)

- my oldest doesn't like to sit and do arts and crafts nor does he really nap anymore. He prefers to be playing outside. I believe they see him as defiant. (he doesn't hit/kick/bite or anything dangerous like that)

- the school has a culture of very strong parent participation and volunteerism above and beyond contract requirements. For example, contractually we do laundry and bring in fruit once a month for the school. We have the choice of paying a bit extra or volunteering a certain number of hours. We don't do more than is what is required.

- the owner is used to being in control being seen and treated as the expert and having people do what she wants. For example my husband commented that a playhouse she was installing in the yard was not up to code. She took offense to his suggestions on how to fix it. Mind you, my husband is a 5-star greenbuilder and built our home. Eventually she did what he suggested. My husband is the one who does most of the child-wrangling with the school and he and the owner don't seem to get along.

My hunch is that she wants us to leave because we don't play by her unwritten rules and don't bow to her authority. She's even made snide comments like "I don't know of a school that can accomodate your son's needs". It's not like my kid has a learning disability or is ADD/ADHD. And there are schools in Austin that have resources to educate those types of children.

I would prefer not to have to find yet another facility for my kiddos, but if it doesn't work out, I'll do what I have to do.

Any advice or words of encouragement would be most appreciated.

Showdown is at 3 pm


  • KookyCurlKookyCurl Posts: 1,980Registered Users
    She sounds a treat. While switching schools/daycare is a right PIA it may be better overall. For a business owner who expects collaboration and cooperation, she seems to have few people skills! Sounds like she enjoys being queen of her little domain and doesn't like anyone interfering with that.

    Sounds like your child is pretty normal and active. Do they get sufficient play time outside? I know a Waldorf teacher (she's high school level so things may be different) but I thought it was more of an exploratory, student led model. She should be finding ways to engage your son in the classroom, not labelling him as something he's probably not.

    Stick to your guns and what is right for your family. Don't let Ms. Queen-Bee-Expert-Educator bully you. A seasoned teacher should be approaching your childs education as a collaborative venture. She may have the tools and resources and training, but you know your child best.
  • webjockeywebjockey Posts: 2,786Registered Users
    One of the main reasons we chose this school is because there is a big backyard to play in. To be fair, it has been unbearably hot in Austin this summer, so maybe there isn't as much playtime as he could have.
  • inheritedcurlsinheritedcurls Posts: 2,954Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    Definitely hold your ground. I always do when either with daycare or my nanny. I will say with the heat in Texas kids are not usually allowed outside when there is an orange alert...I think. I know most of the kids around DFW area have been stuck inside except for early morning. See if this changes now that it's cooling off. I am a big outside advocate at daycare...if it doesn't happen then complain. Once your son gets that outdoor time he might be more willing to sit down to do a craft. Kids are all different....and both kids and teachers should be willing to bend both ways. She should find ways to have outdoor time or free play to burn energy...he should be able to sit down and do a craft or learning time.

    I'm always amazed at people who own a business and want everyone to conform to their way because they think it's best. One of these days she's going to wonder why no parent wants to bring her kid to her facility.

    Good Luck...I hope it goes well.
  • RedCatWavesRedCatWaves Posts: 31,259Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    I say get out of school situations like that when they aren't working. The risk of damage to the child's psyche is too great.

    Similar story...My oldest was a "non-napper" in a pre-school where the owner/bully wanted ALL the kids to nap every day. I tried sticking it out, because the location and tuition were so favorable to my situation, but it just got worse and worse, more and more onorous. She started pickin on my son personally. She ended up expelling him for something ridiculous, although he had begun to act out a bit from the mistreatment, so probably in her mind, he was a terrible child that needed to be excised.

    I had to scramble to find a new care center, but it was the best thing that ever happened to us. Once we got out of there, it was obvious how oppressive it had become. We didn't realize it while we were going through it. It was sweet relief to be done with that crazy controlling woman.
  • geminigemini Posts: 3,325Registered Users
    I agree with RCW on this one.
  • geekygeeky Posts: 4,995Registered Users
    I agree too. If she has already labeled your son a problem, I would be looking around at other options.
    To Trenell, MizKerri and geeky:
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    Geeky is my hero. She's the true badass. The badass who doesn't even need to be a badass. There aren't enough O's in cool to describe her.
  • SpiderSpider Posts: 3,381Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    How'd it go?

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  • webjockeywebjockey Posts: 2,786Registered Users
    She started the meeting apologizing for her antagonistic conversation. Which was moderately helpful.

    Bottom line, I don't think they have the skills to work with chidren with strong constitutions and do not feel they can be authoritative enough for my son. They were careful not to use language that labeled my child as a problem, but thats not the same as knowing that that's at the crux of the issue.

    The conversation was annoying because they would start making general statements about an issue and when I would ask them to narrow down the circumstances that create that situation (so that I can work with my son to fix it) they would get all wishy washy. I generally loose patience with people who confuse feelings and generalities with facts. My communication style is very direct and exact, and theirs is more touchy-feely.
    I was the one who had to recap the issues and ask them to make a priority list on things for both of us to work on. They even suggested for us to take our son out for an hour durning nap time.

    We are exploring other schools in the interim.

    The best candidate so far will set us back at least $14k for both children.
  • RedCatWavesRedCatWaves Posts: 31,259Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    webjockey wrote: »
    The best candidate so far will set us back at least $14k for both children.

    Where I live, $14K would be quite bargain for full-time daycare for 2 children.
  • sarah42sarah42 Posts: 4,034Registered Users
    This sounds very similar to a situation our family had last fall. I don't think I posted about it on here.

    Our older son was 3 at that time. We had both boys in a Montessori preschool that was very highly recommended by our co-workers and friends. They did not know how to deal with Connor. Their complaints were that C didn't want to sit in circle time, he just wanted to read and do puzzles. Also that he didn't initiate getting out work on his own, he would only do lessons when a teacher directed him to. C is very strong-willed and he has a language delay, and I think they just didn't want to deal with him.

    We started getting calls about once a week that C was sick with a fever and needed to get sent home. Two of those times, I was able to get him into the doctor's office right after I picked him up, and he did not have a fever when the nurse examined him. We also got reports that C was pushing and hitting, which I really can't verify if they were true or not.

    We got the kids out of that preschool and into a different one, and it was the best decision. The new preschool had much more laid-back and self-directed atmosphere (which I thought Montessori schools had, and was the reason I chose it). I was sad to leave it when we moved a couple months ago, but luckily the new preschool we have is great so far.
  • webjockeywebjockey Posts: 2,786Registered Users
    Sarah, that's very interesting. The school I am looking at is Montessori. My son is "language delayed". I use quotes because he is 4 and a half and still uses gibberish, doesn't speak in full sentences and is less articulate than his peers in his class. My husband who has studied linguistics says it's nothing to be concerened with and that his not language delayed officially. I trust him on that. Alexander also has asthma and they do call him to be taken out on some occasions where he was not as bad as they made it.

    Im seeing quite a few parallels with our situations. Can you tell me more about the school where C did well?
  • sarah42sarah42 Posts: 4,034Registered Users
    I've come to the conclusion that Montessori schools can vary widely. They all have the Montessori materials for the prepared environment in the classroom. But I think some teachers/directors have rigid ideas of how the children are should learn. Like I mentioned, they were not comfortable with C wanting to read and do puzzles instead of getting an activity off a shelf and doing a lesson with a teacher. They also didn't like it when C did something other than what he was "supposed to"--like stacking up the sandpaper letter blocks and making a tower instead of tracing the letters with his finger.

    Anyway, I don't think that Montessori schools are automatically good or bad. The one C attended was not a good fit, but we're planning on sending him to a different Montessori for kindergarten next year (and possibly beyond, if he thrives there). We've visited the school and talked with the teachers and director, and I think they do take a more laid-back approach, and C will be quite a bit older and more mature by then.

    The preschool where C did well was quite laid-back. There was minimal circle time, teachers let the kids choose their own activities more freely, and the kids spent a lot of time playing outside. The teachers were older than college age had been there long-term. Also, it was a language immersion school where they taught Spanish, French, Italian, and Japanese. C was in the Spanish classroom, and I think that his language delay didn't have as much impact there because Spanish was new for all (or most) of the kids, so they were on more of a level playing field. He's also doing well in his new preschool since we moved to a new city over the summer. They spend at least half the time playing outdoors and have a huge play yard.

    I would really recommend the books Late-Talking Children or The Einstein Syndrome by Thomas Sowell. They talk about emerging research on a subset of children with language delays who tend to be boys, very stubborn, very analytically-minded, often late at toilet training, and often have allergies, asthma, and/or eczema. I think you're doing the right thing by not worrying or obsessing about the language, which is something I struggle with, though I've gotten a lot better.
  • webjockeywebjockey Posts: 2,786Registered Users
    Thank you so much, sarah42, he has everything you mentioned except eczema. I'll be sure to check out those books.
  • mad scientistmad scientist Posts: 3,530Registered Users
    This may not be a practical solution for you, but let me tell you how a lot of parents do it around here: I've found that what makes a good daycare is not necessarily what makes a good preschool and vice-versa. For daycare, I prefer something like home - flexible, laid-back, not too many kids. So we went with a home daycare. For preschool - I like structured, academic, stimulating. We picked a Montessori. Preschool is only 2.5 hours long. Most daycares in our area do pick up/drop off at the neighbourhood preschool. I'd say more than half the kids at my preschool are picked up by daycare. So the kids are in a structured environment for a couple of hours and then spend the rest of day in a more free-play setting. Its worked for us.

    Regarding Montessori - like Sarah mentioned the term can be thrown around quite liberally so one Montessori can be very different from another. My 2 kids are on the two different ends of the developmental spectrum - my eldest was reading independently and doing simple addition at 3, had a huge vocabularly and was more than ready for school. My little one is at least a year delayed in most every developmental milestone and probably 2 years delayed in speech (she is almost 4 and has just started talking a little). They both went to the same Montessori (my daughter is there now) and it benefitted both of them. The emphasis on individual growth was so important for both of them. My son was challenged at his level (doing math and advanced reading ), my daughter is challenged at hers (doing fine motor skill Montessori activities, phonics etc...). Again its only 2.5 hours a day, including circle time, snack and outside play - maybe an hour of structured time maximum.

    My daughter was in a play-based school last year and for a child who is speech-delayed I didn't feel it was a good environment for her. Its too loud and chaotic and my daughter was able to just follow the crowd and get kids to give her what she wanted without ever really having to communicate with anyone. They also had an hour long circle time which was torture for her. At the Montessori, its quiet and there is more 1-on-1 interaction between the teacher and kid and students (they often work in pairs). DD is talking more there because she has to.
  • rainshowerrainshower Posts: 4,420Registered Users
    i hope that you can take your son out of that setting. it doesn't seem like a diverse enough school that can create a healthy or happy environment for him, particularly since the owner already seems to have given up on him.

    my only advice is that in your search for a new childcare facility for your children, that you consider several types of settings.

    where i live, so many well-meaning parents want to expose their children to so-called progressive or nontraditional education so much that they won't even consider the good traditional community based institutions that could likely give their children really positive experiences too.

    good luck. i hope you can find something better for them.
    "Dogs stink too, but I like dog stink." ~ rileyb
  • webjockeywebjockey Posts: 2,786Registered Users
    We're actively moving in that direction. I hope we can get accepted very soon in the new school we want. They allready called my husband about taking him during nap time and bringing him back - which will be such a hardship on him (emotionally).
  • PoPo Posts: 2,607Registered Users
    webjockey wrote: »
    We're actively moving in that direction. I hope we can get accepted very soon in the new school we want. They allready called my husband about taking him during nap time and bringing him back - which will be such a hardship on him (emotionally).

    No real comment besides that the bolded is ridiculous.
  • nynaeve77nynaeve77 Posts: 7,135Registered Users Curl Novice
    webjockey wrote: »
    We're actively moving in that direction. I hope we can get accepted very soon in the new school we want. They allready called my husband about taking him during nap time and bringing him back - which will be such a hardship on him (emotionally).
    That's a great way to make him feel alienated from his peers. It really sounds like a terrible fit for your family. I hope he's able to get into a new school quickly.
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  • inheritedcurlsinheritedcurls Posts: 2,954Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    Po wrote: »
    webjockey wrote: »
    We're actively moving in that direction. I hope we can get accepted very soon in the new school we want. They allready called my husband about taking him during nap time and bringing him back - which will be such a hardship on him (emotionally).

    No real comment besides that the bolded is ridiculous.

    Oh my gosh, that is ridiculous. What school doesn't have an option for kids that don't nap! I am shocked! It definitely seems that they don't want to deal with children that don't conform to their "ideal child". I'm glad you are working on moving him from this situation.

    Until then, I would tell that school to offer your son some kind of quiet time activity during naptime and that it's inconvenient for you to come pick him up during naptime. Another option is to say you will pick him up but wanted to be credited back the money for that hour since they are insisting on you to pick him up. I bet when you mention money...they will back down.

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