4 Year old Preschool Upset with Teacher

tylersmom51304October 1, 2008

I was just wondering if any parent whose child is in preschool has had a similiar problem.

I picked my son up Tuesday who goes to a Mothers Day out program for 2 days a week from 9-2. I get a call from his teacher who says she thinks he needs to be tested b/c he isn't up to par with the other children.

I ask her what things can't he do, she has still yet to tell me exactly but says that our son is "Perfectionist"therefore if he can't do something right he gets frustrated and upset with himself. So now she has referred him to a testing center.

My husband and I think this WAY to early to start the testing thing as she only works from 9-12 with him and he has only been in the class for 3 weeks. She has no degree in education whatsoever as well.

Im so worried that if we do go through with the testing process our son will be labeled and this will go in school file . If something is wrong I want to know. But the child can count to 30, knows ABC and uses very large words for his age.

Any thoughts?

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I think he certainly sounds to be like any other average 4 year old but I'm by no means an expert. It would not hurt to call your local school to find out what type of testing is even available to a 4 year old and what would be done with the test results once you find things out.

My daughter is a junior in college now but when she was in her younger years of school, I would not allow a teacher to test my daughter either. I did that on the advise of other teachers that she had at the time (they all thought she was fine but just needed extra tutoring, which we got for her.)

Do you have a teacher friend that you could ask about this?

Sorry I couldn't be of more help. It's frustrating dealing with this - you want to help your child but you are afraid of the label. I truly understad but have no real solution for you. Keep us posted on what you decide to do.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2008 at 11:09PM
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I think I would ignore her. She doesn't know your son and is a preschool teacher.

If, however, you have any concerns, then I would see about testing. In the meantime, I would work with your son so that he can understand how to cope with trying and not getting perfection on the first try.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2008 at 6:59PM
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Tylersmom, I empathize. But without any further information from her I would not worry too much at all. If you and those close to your son don't see his behavior as abnormal, don't worry.

My daughter's teacher told me that she was "slow" and would need help the rest of her life. Maybe because all she wanted to do was paint? I never got a real answer from her. After worrying for weeks, she went in for a healthy child checkup and I talked to her doctor. The doctor, after first asking me if I was serious, brought out a little booklet and started asking my daughter questions "which is higher, which is bigger, finish my sentence....etc) My daughter did fine. She was four. Now she's six, reading, doing math, completely on par with her age level.

I still am very angry with that teacher for worrying me for no reason. I don't understand how teachers can do this to parents and children.

Ask your pediatrician. Ask parents of children who are now older than yours. Ask your parents, neighbors, friends what they think is normal. Trust your instincts.

About perfection, my daughter has issues with winning and getting things right the first time. It helps when I show her that I make mistakes too, and how I fix them.

Best of luck to you and your son.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2008 at 12:37PM
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Funny I should read this today. I was just reading about Woodrow Wilson. He did not know his ABC's at age 9. By age 10, he could read, but only just barely. Some said that he was dumb.
Well, he did graduate from college, went on to be a professor at Princeton and then it's president. Later he was the governor of NJ and then our nation's president.

Just ignore your child's teacher.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2008 at 10:03PM
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When my daughter was 3 years old, her preschool teachers told me she was a problem child and they couldn't handle her once the classroom was operating at capacity. They wanted to move her to a smaller, younger class. I was very concerned, and decided to move her to a different preschool. The problems almost all stopped almost immediately.

It turns out some of the previous teachers' concerns were well-founded. But the new preschool teachers were able to identify and articulate the issues much better, and put them in context and recommend a solution. The old preschool teacher had a degree in early childhood development and she was not inexperienced. The new preschool teachers had no degree, but they each had over 2 decades of experience teaching preschoolers.

Like one of the above posters, my daughter wanted to spend her time painting and drawing. I thought my daughter was a bit "slow" because she couldn't count as well, didn't know her ABC sounds as well, and couldn't write her name during her 4-year-old preschool year. But my daughter's new preschool teachers didn't see this as a problem at all. They told me she was a bright child who simply needed a little more time to develop at her own pace, and that given a little time she would do very well in school. It's 11 years later, and their advice was dead on the money.

Good preschool teachers look at other things besides counting, ABCs, etc. They are looking at social development, attention span, complexity of drawing, fine motor skills, etc. Having a good 4-year-old preschool teacher is critical if your son is having some problems, because that's when they're assessing his ability to handle kindergarten when he's 5. Also, a good preschool teacher can be critical in spotting developmental issues. There are so many developmental issues that have better outcomes with earlier intervention.

If I were in your shoes, I wouldn't simply ignore the teacher. If the preschool teacher is very experienced, then I'd get my child tested. If not, I might consider looking for a different preschool with teachers that are either very educated (and some experience) or very experienced without the education.

You can have the testing privately done, then you have control over whether or not to share the results with the school system. It's probably expensive, though.

I know different schools handle things different ways. At our local school system, I wouldn't hesitate to have my child tested, even if he was labeled. Our local kindergarten teachers are excellent. If they knew in advance that a child had some developmental issues, they would be ready from day 1 to handle those issues appropriately. Not every issue requires a resource teacher or a pullout program. Some problems are easily handled in the classroom by an experienced teacher using unobtrusive techniques. If addressed early, having a good diagnosis can help prevent your child from being labeled a "problem" child. Also, at our school having a diagnosis can help strengthen your case if you want to request a particular teacher.

Your son is probably just fine. There are teachers who, through their inexperience and concern for children, scare parents because their child doesn't develop on the ideal time line. But I wouldn't simply ignore the teacher. Even if you don't have him tested and don't switch preschools, I'd check back with the teacher periodically. Certainly I'd get her feedback at the end of the preschool year. If she's still having issues with your son at the end of the year, I'd go see the principal at your son's potential kindergarten (in April or May) and ask for an experienced kindergarten teacher for his first year of school.

However, your local school setup may be very different from ours, and you may have some very legitimate concerns over your son being "labeled".

I wish you the best with your son. As a parent it's sometimes so very hard to know which behaviors will just work themselves out as kids mature, and which need more active intervention.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2008 at 12:35PM
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I would, on my next visit to the pediatrician, ask him if he has any concerns about your son, and if not, don't do anything more at this point. I'm a teacher myself. If this woman has no training, then I would be extremely cautious of anything she says in this regard. On the other hand, she sees many children this age, and she may be noticing something unusual, but does not have the terminology to describe it well to you. All by itself of course, "unusual" does not mean a thing. But why not have a professional, like your pediatrician, do an evaluation. Ages 4-6 is about the age that many parents first start to hear things like this. It may be when you discover your child needs glasses, that their hearing is not up to snuff, etc. etc. The problem has been there all along, of course, but it becomes more obvious in a school setting. It can be difficult and alarming to hear -and I think the wise parent is cautious. My own child learned he needed glasses and had to have a year of speech therapy at age 6 -both things that stunned me. He is an extremely bright child, who spoke and read very early. So I had been used to hearing things on the opposite end of the scale. I ended up taking him to a terrific University Early Child Evaluation center where I learned that he could read and express himself at the 7th grade level, but that he had some enunciation problems that could best, developmentally, be cleared up by age 7 (though the school district was recommending we wait). It was good advice from the Univ. Center and we persevered over the District. There is rarely a need to quickly run to a diagnosis of anything. And I agree there is good reason to be reticent about labeling any child.

Good luck to you.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2008 at 10:15AM
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One key here is that she has only had the child a very short time and you stated she is not a certified teacher, or appears to have any training. Otherwards, she appears to be a glorified baby siter.
Check with you Dr. to make sure his eyes are ok, can hear ok etc. What testing is she recommending and what qualification is she authorized to do this. Your child sounds like a typical 4 year old who this person is frustruated with and instead of examining herself, she is trying to blame others. Talk to the Director, and find out what type of training he/she has. Are you a perfectionist? Is she expecting too much. YOU are the parent, and challenage her. A person like that can destroy a child's confidence so fast it is not funny. And make sure she is NOT abusing (emotional) your child or any others. Yes I have had it happen to me so I see the red flags from her.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2008 at 4:12PM
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