When the preschool calls!

20 Apr

I rarely write anything personal about my children because some things should stay private but felt this could help someone or even help me so here is my story.

My youngest daughter’s preschool called for their spring phone conferences. I was shocked at what my daughter’s teacher wanted to discuss with me. She said, that a lead teacher had observed my daughter at the Easter egg hunt and thought our county school system could help her. I worked in the school system. These special programs are for special needs kids and kids needing assistance with speech, PT, OT, or behavior therapy.  I personally believe that they would laugh me out of there. One on one she will talk a stranger’s ear off. I think at that point they would see she does not need any help. I know when she gets to kindergarten they have play groups she could attend to help with socialization because my older daughter actually participated in one.

My daughter is a healthy, happy girl who has hit and exceeded all of her milestones. She is speaking on a kindergarten level and is extremely bright. She amazes me everyday. I have been a preschool teacher. I know you need to look out for warning signs but not being able to put on a backpack correctly, cutting with scissors correctly or being quiet are not always signs of delays. They are things I need to keep a close eye on and practice with her but I feel this is going to the extreme.

Peanut has been talking since she was 2 months old and I am not exaggerating. Her first word at 8 weeks old was “mama”. She was speaking on a three- four year old level at 18 months. She apparently does not want to share that vocabulary at school. She is extremely quiet her teacher says. As soon as she gets in the car, she is nonstop chatterbox. She tells me all about her day.  She is very independent at home. She is new to preschool this year where as all the other kids have been in some kind of program for a long time. She never participated in an Easter Egg hunt before but did quite well with her sister on Easter. She found 18 eggs all by herself. She builds these incredible things out of legos and blocks. She is in ballet and tap. She loves to run and jump and sing.

You have to also take into account that she turned three right before they started preschool. She is the youngest in the class. Most of the other kids turned 4 a while ago so if you are comparing an early three to a late three early four than you are comparing apples to oranges. I say this because there are some things such as cutting with scissors that just take time. The number one reason I placed her in preschool is for the social interaction. I wanted her to be with kids her own age and not just her sister. She prefers older kids to ones her age but she is getting better. She participates in all the activities they do and she does play with her friends. I think there may be some anxiety there. I think she may feel overwhelmed. Prayerfully, as I continue to put her in social situations with large groups of her peers she will feel more comfortable.

Clark Howard said he was kicked out of kindergarten as a kid and labeled slow or delayed. I think they got that one wrong. The reason they labeled him this way was he would not talk in school. Clark Howard is one of the smartest financial guys you will meet. What I learned in school, counseling and as a mom is you have to assess all situations of a child not just one. Peanut is extremely different at school then she is at home. Instead of asking me this one simple question they made a bunch of assumptions and labeled her as delayed. You have to look at the whole picture not just half!

Thanks for all the feedback I have received. These are things I am keeping a close eye on.

UPDATE: I wrote my daughter’s teacher a note expressing my concern and I thought maybe she was going through some social anxiety. When I picked Peanut up today, she had a sticker on her nose. I asked why she got that and said she sang a song to her teacher by herself in front of the other kids. I told her I was so proud of her!

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7 Responses to “When the preschool calls!”

  1. candogoods April 21, 2010 at 1:35 pm #

    If your daughter is so much different in pre-school it could mean that she may have anxiety issues. Some children are chatty at home and silent at school. Some have what is called Selective Mutism. Not saying that this is what your daughter has but just be open so that if there is help you can get for your daughter that you will be informed.

  2. Raising Smart Girls April 21, 2010 at 2:08 pm #

    Hi, I found your blog through my stat counter. I read this post and thought perhaps your gifted child might be just shy. I had two extremely quiet gifted girls in preschool. One who eventually warmed up by year’s end, and one who did not. She ended up being selectively mute – a chatterbox at home but non-speaking at school. It’s not that she couldn’t, it’s just that she had been overwhelmed by the classroom setting.

    Your daughter does not sound delayed with regular “kindegarten readiness” skills. However, the difficulty lies in “proving it” to the school staff. I would imagine that if and when your daughter becomes comfortable, she will “perform” as they want her to. She is only 3, and she might be asynchronously developing – developing her intellectual skills at the expense of other skills (like social skills, emotional skills, or fine motor skills).

    Personally, I’m less concerned about your daughter’s motor skills and more about how she’s integrating into a classroom of children who are not going to be able to relate to her if she’s a gifted child. The extremely quiet does raise a flag with me, but not terribly so. And I’ll tell you why.

    As long as she’s speaking at all in class, I would not worry too much about how quiet she is, or how she puts on a backpack or her pencil grip or what have you (there is SUCH unnecessary pressure at an early age to get all kids to conform to those things because it makes it easier on the TEACHER, not on the child).

    But, for instance, If she’s not speaking at ALL, I would at least keep an eye on it as it could indicate selective mutism – an extreme form of social anxiety and it seems to correlate somewhat to very bright/gifted children. There are things that can be done to help that (I do have ideas on my blog about what worked in my child’s situation).

    But for now, what I would do if I were you is pay your child’s school a visit and observe her yourself and find out what she is like in that setting. And learn about asynchronous development. Your child’s apparent delays are only temporary. She’ll improve when she is ready to.

    Yes, you must be your child’s advocate, but that also means being open to the possibility that there really might be varying rates of development of skills in your gifted child. And 6 months can make a HUGE difference in developmental progress!!! I largely suspect she is a gifted child (talking at 2 months IS unusual and oftentimes a very early indicator of giftedness – two of my daughters were early talkers and one was a late talker but all are showing gifted potential), it would be wise to watch for signs of anxiety and social fears (your child may not be able to perform under pressure of being watched) and simply acknowledge that whatever skills she doesn’t seem to have now will probably resolve themselves in time.

    It could be that your daughter didn’t have a lot of interest in the Easter egg hunt, or that she simply held back while other kids clambored for them, rather than being a true developmental delay. I mean, what REALLY did she observe? This is critical to know.

    Anyway, I thought I’d share my thoughts on the matter. Please consider that there are some things to think about as you raise your seemingly gifted 3 year old.

    And good luck!

    Casey

  3. mommynotes April 21, 2010 at 3:31 pm #

    Thank you for your input! I am not sure she is gifted only time will tell. She does talk. Her teacher stated that she does answer questions but in a quiet voice which is funny because she is so loud at home. This is her first experience with preschool. She has an older sister that is almost 8. While she had some interaction socially, it was very important for her to interact with peers her own age. This is the number one reason I sent her and her sister way back when to preschool. We have been reading to both girls since they were born. We teach a lot of the basics here but as a former preschool teacher and nanny working with children of all ages most of my life socialization was most important to me. I actually think you are right about the Easter Egg hunt and I was not there nor did I talk with the teacher that observed her. All that was stated was she just stood there even after giving her instruction and she really did not participate. This was her first Easter Egg hunt and I did not even know there were going to do one. They just did. I have observed her at her Christmas party and she was extremely quiet. I know at her Thanksgiving performance she was dancing and singing with all the other kids. My oldest daughter is like this too. My oldest hardly ever speaks during class time. She does play and has lots of friends but during class time she will not speak. Her teacher even put a student next to her that is a non stop chatter box. She got a warning not to talk after that. I guess she was trying to see if she would talk if given the opportunity. She is more introverted though. When meeting people she will hide behind my back whereas Hannah will speak to strangers she is very outgoing. I just wish the teacher had discussed this earlier with me and not just stated what she saw but asked how she was at home. I had to volunteer that information. You are right you have to keep an open mind but this was not the first time one of the teachers brought something up. The director started asking about her medical history and saying she may have this disorder etc. Hannah 98% sure has allergies. She is being retested when she turns 4. We have had every kind of test run on her for all different things and they all came out negative so I felt like those two incidents were singling her out. Back story with the illness: she has had a lot of different kinds of illnesses mostly ear and sinus infections. When she gets sick it takes her several rounds of antibiotics to get well. Doctors are sometimes baffled by her. She is on a pro biotic and it does help. She has had some weird things too. If they were so concerned why come to me 8 months later and not sooner. I guess my mama bear claws were coming out. I did better in school with one on one or small group rather than a large group and it is safe to say my girls may be following in those same footsteps. My husband is like that too. He is extremely quiet in social settings. Get him in a small group or by himself and he is different person. He is extremely smart. He was in gifted classes starting in elementary school all the way through HS. I digress! Thanks again for sharing your comments. I will definitely keep an eye out. I have registered for the summer in several things so hopefully this will help her too.

  4. mommynotes April 21, 2010 at 3:40 pm #

    Yes, Hannah is called our wild child who says what is on her mind. So I was shocked when her teacher called and spewed all this stuff out after 8 months. I will keep an open mind and definitely keep an eye out but I don’t think our county resources would help her. Our county has severe budget cuts and they typically help severely handicapped children or children with severe delays. I have two friends that had their kids in this program. I also worked in an elementary school while I was in college and there are criteria they have to meet that she would not. I firmly believe they would laugh me out of there office. It is something I am watching very closely and I have her in several social activities for the summer to try and make her more comfortable in these settings. Thanks for commenting and sharing your information. I do appreciate it.

  5. Raising Smart Girls April 21, 2010 at 4:51 pm #

    Um…if your husband is gifted, it’s likely your children are too. And don’t discount your own potential giftedness to (usually if children are gifted, both parents contribute genes towards that). However female giftedness if often downplayed. As in “I’m not gifted, I’m just busy”

    http://www.gifteddevelopment.com/PDF_files/I%27m%20Not%20Gifted.pdf

  6. Raising Smart Girls April 21, 2010 at 4:58 pm #

    Not to press the issue, but here is a list of gifted preschooler indicators

    http://austega.com/gifted/preschoolers.htm

    Even on this list saying the first word for a gifted child typically is 5.5 months…

    It’s definitely something to think about.

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  1. Raising Smart Girls « Mommy Notes - April 21, 2010

    […] similar issues in her own daughter. She made a few suggestions. You can read her comments on my post. Her blog is amazing so I thought I would share it. It is called Raising Smart Girls.  Check it […]

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