Parent Involvement

LauraBMom3September 13, 2002

My question is twofold. My oldest son just started kindergarten 2 weeks ago. I have him in a public school that is average. It is not the highest ranked in our area. I am starting to see many "red Flags". First - I am not allowed to volunter in his classroom - it is a distict policy. I may however work in another classroom. While this is all well and good I want to be with MY child, seeing what his day is like. I believe its important for him to have me involved. When I have inquired - I have been told that it's easier for the kids to know who they must listen to - and who is responsible for them. On another occasion I was told - by his teacher - something about a parent "snooping" (I was distracted from the conversation & was not able to hear the end of her answer). Apparently this has been the rule for 15+ years. I find it quite disconcerting!!! Second - this is his first year in public school (actually I have had him in a wonderful pre-school for three years) and I am not receiving any day to day correspondence from his teacher. I do receive a monthly list of specials. I called her & she tried to put me at ease but sort of made me feel like I was overreacting.

This leads me to the second part of my question. I am thinking of taking him out & putting him in a Catholic school. Am I jumping the gun? Expecting too much? I'm not sure if I am spoiled from the wonderful experience he had in preschool or just alarmed at the dislocation I feel from his education. I did attend Catholic school most of my life so perhaps it's what I know. Please help me gain a little more perspective here - I do not want to be rash. Thank you so much!!

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Laura -
Take a deep breath, you probably won't want to hear this! What you're experiencing is par for the course when your child transitions from preschool to kidnergarten, whether private or public school. I had SUCH A HARD TIME adjusting when my first son started K - I felt like I had no idea what he was doing, and he went to K in a private Catholic school! He's now in public school (financial downturn for us), and DS #2 started K (public school) this year and it's the same thing all over - I feel like I have no idea what's going on. It's strange that your district doesn't allow parents to volunteer in their child's room. Our district practically BEGS parents to volunteer, and I spend every other Friday in one of the boys' rooms. That does give me glimpse on how they are doing, but doesn't help with the day to day anxiety!

The transition to K is harder on Mom than the kid! Preschool felt so "safe" - like I knew everything about my son's day! But K is a new world - "real" school - where the kids are more on their own, and so are the parents!

What has helped me to deal with this is becoming very active on the PTA. That way I get to know the principal and teachers away from the classroom setting, and that makes it easier for me to call them up if/when I need to.

I wish I had more advice to help, but there really isn't much you can do. Just remember, I had the same exerience with DS #1 in a private Catholic school, so it's not just public schools. Give it a little time and see if you feel more comfortable. I'll keep you in my prayers!

    Bookmark   September 13, 2002 at 11:59PM
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Please I would love some advice.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2002 at 11:20AM
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I ditto everything Mommabird says. Relax. Get involved. Volunteer to be on a PTA committee or the board. Involvement is the key.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2002 at 3:30PM
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    Bookmark   September 15, 2002 at 4:54PM
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If you can't volunteer in his classroom, do consider volunteering in other classrooms or in the office or cafeteria. This is a great way to get to know the staff. Being friendly and on good terms with the staff will make you feel much better and will be beneficial for your son. I worked in education for years and I can understand why the school has the policy in place. And yes, relax - he'll be fine. K is harder on Mom's than kids, I think!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2002 at 9:17PM
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I agree with the school. Having parents in the classroom is a distraction. I've been on both sides.

If you volunteer in the school, you'll get to know the teachers & they'll let you know how your baby is doing!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2002 at 12:22AM
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My kids are in private schools so, parental involvement is very much appreciated and encouraged. There are rules in the classrooms that the children and the parents know. When in the classroom, the teacker is the boss. I can sort of understand where the school district is on the issue of confusion as to who is in charge. I would give it another month and see what happens before moving him. Does he like his teacher, feel comfortable, know where everything is, etc...? If all these things are okay with him, he's probably going to do okay in that school but, if he feels out of the loop with the teacher and the class, it wouldn't be the right environment for learning and alternative schools might be a good choice.
As someone stated, you can always volunteer in other classes and get to know the staff and find out more about the school. Are you allowed to volunteer in his class during special events and parties?

    Bookmark   September 17, 2002 at 12:12PM
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