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Southern New Jersey

I am a Mom to 2 amazing and fun daughters and wife to a great guy and a wonderful father!

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Kayla, my oldest. She is 4 1/2 and is a sweet, loving and silly little girl. She took us 2 ½ years and 3 IVF’s to conceive. Kayla is allergic to dairy. We manage her allergy and work to balance her safety with giving her a normal childhood. Kayla loves to read books and play games - she amazes me every day.

Alysa, my youngest. She is 3 years old and is a silly little spitfire. She’s our monkey and loves to climb on everything. She was a “natural” baby, but it was only b/c of my wonderful doctors that we were able to stop an impending miscarriage. Alysa suffers from Acid Reflux Disease and sleep apnea. She may be little, but she has a big personality. She adores her big sister and is so much fun to be around. She keeps me laughing every day.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009
School Adjustments
Kayla has been having a tough year at preschool. Last year, she adored school. We both loved her teacher and the TA (teacher’s assistant). They were great with Kayla and with the food allergy. I couldn’t have asked for any more diligence and Kayla wanted to go to school 7 days a week and was sad every weekend when she stayed home. What more could a Mom want?

If you remember, her teacher from last year had a baby over the summer which meant a new teacher for Kayla in September (typically in Montessori, they remain with the same teacher all 3 year – which is one of the many pluses). Neither J nor I were as thrilled with her. I thought she was a bit too “public school” (that is where her background was). Kayla, although always said she liked her, was not as enthusiastic about school. She would daily say she did not want to go. But, through it all, she was progressing – she’s writing her name and other letters. Doing really well on her sounds at school (as well as at home). Then, if you remember, in December we got word that her new teacher was leaving and a new one would be taking over Jan 5th. I had many concerns, the most important being a complete lack of Montessori experience. I was not happy, but tried to reserve judgment. I did feel better after I met her and actually liked her more than her teacher the first half of this year. Her background, although, not in Montessori, is one of similar philosophies and she seemed dedicated to Montessori. So I decided to continue to reserve judgment.

I believe this new change was just too much for Kayla. Since day one of learning a new teacher would be taking over, she has complained of not liking her. Kayla is my complete creature of habit. It’s even a struggle on warm days and when spring hits to transition her from a coat to a light jacket or no coat/hat/gloves, etc and vice versa. I knew she didn’t like the change, but I wanted to give it time. Especially since the teacher took over on January 5th, Kayla has only been in school for 1 full week due to Disney and being sick over and over and over…(you get the picture). But, let’s just say, without going into all the details, that last week, I had to take action and meet with her teacher. Her teacher was great and put some of my concerns about her to rest. She was also trying to give Kayla another week, before calling me. Apparently things were worse than I thought.

She told me Kayla will barely go near her. She shies away from her and will even hold onto the TA (who thankfully has stayed constant). Her teacher can not get Kayla to do any work with her and Kayla won’t even do any of the work at school at this point. She will only draw on the easel (which is evident by the million and one drawings I get home each day). Kayla has been very clingy with the TA. I then told her that Kayla, from day one has said she did not like her, but that it started before she even met her. She was very sincere about wanting to help work with me to get Kayla through this transition. Her teacher has wanted to work with Kayla to see where she is at with her numbers, letters, etc but has been unable to. She has been reluctant to push Kayla too far because she knows it will only work to further distance Kayla from her.

Later that week I brought in some of the things Kayla did last year and the work Kayla has done this year so she could get an idea as to where Kayla really is.

Thankfully we have noticed a slight improvement in Kayla in the past week. She still does not want to go to school, but…she has been bringing home some work sheets. There was a day where the TA was absent, so Kayla’s only choice was the teacher. They do have a sub, but apparently the teacher was the better option.

She and I are working to find some common ground – like Kayla and her teacher’s favorite animal is a jelly fish. Kayla has a beanie baby jelly fish and I found another on eBay, which I purchased and Kayla is actually excited to give it to her. I certainly don’t plan on showering her teacher with gifts, but I am trying this to see if it will help Kayla to bond with her. I am concerned about her back-peddling and do not want her to stop progressing at school. I do know I need to give the new teacher a really fair shot before considering changing class rooms (which has been suggested to me by others not in the school). If it’s really the teacher and she won’t progress, I would have to consider that. But if it is the change, moving her would only make thing worse and it would take Kayla way from the only constant in all of this – the TA. Not to mention, it would take me away from the TA who is the one I trust the most with Kayla’s allergy, as she is the one who handles the snacks.

It’s definitely not easy watching your child struggle. I just hope I can give her the tools and work with her to feel safe enough to work through this and begin to enjoy and look forward to school again. Especially since her preschool is going to be the safest school setting she’ll ever be in. I have a feeling it will only get harder when she hits public school. I want us both to be able to cherish the next year and half before the real battles begin…

posted at 7:32 PM  

At 7:32 AM, Blogger ChupieandJ'smama said...

Jason ADORES his teacher. He said "Miss S is a rock star" (no kidding on that one) but he has not been wanting to go to school either. Every day he says something hurts him. It's either his tummy or his foot. If he doesn't have a fever he goes. But I don't know why he doesn't like school. I'm worried that it's because he's having a hard time writing his name or using scissors, but his O/T therapist says that even though he's slightly behind, he's right on the edge of where he should be for his age. I'm glad at this point we are holding him back from Kindergarten next year. K is all day and I just can't see him making it that long if he can't handle 2.5 hrs of preschool.
I hope Kayla finds a bond with the new teacher. It's got to be hard on her to go there every day if she's not enjoying it:(

At 9:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Claire isn't in school this year, but when she was she always said she liked her teachers, but she never talked to them, and she always steered clear of them. She would talk about them in the car (in a good way) but was reserved there.

I hope things continue to improve, finding common ground sounds like a GREAT plan!


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