Monday, March 07, 2011

Devil Child's education

Some time at the weekend with The Artist. We admired Devil Child's hand-writing skills (better than mine :-) ); her ability at putting together a jigsaw;  her colouring skills - in the lines and maintaining a consistent colour scheme for striped jumpers.

Then The Artist dropped the bombshell - her teachers were worried because she "lacked confidence". Now this is the 5-year old who grabs me by the hand to drag me off to play with her as soon as I walk into the house and displays frustration that I have to take my shoes and coat off first.

The little girl who insists that you play the way she wants you to going so far as to tell you what move in a game you should perform.

The little girl who walks around singing, talking and basically interrupting any adult conversation you may be trying to have.

Lacks confidence!

The Artist only found this out from his wife who attended a minor Parent-Teacher meeting
"Why didn't you attend?" his father asked
"Because I was at work they held it in the middle of the day"
Was this a widespread problem? She'd overheard the teachers talking to the other parents about how well their children were doing so it's just DC?

Kids do behave differently at school to how they do in a family environment, but it's difficult for me to reconcile such a major shift in personality at such a young age; if she were approaching her teens sure.

In terms of bias I have to watch out for the "of course there's nothing wrong with her it must be you" syndrome that can affect any parent or close family member, but given her personality this is just strange.

So how can I explain this? To start let's take playing games her way. I can well imagine that if someone wants to play with her and fails to do so the way she wants she'll shun them. In that respect I can imagine her playing by herself, and that this could be construed as a lack of confidence in approaching others (call it shyness); but I've taken her out with the Bratii and once she'd gotten over the initial 'I don't know you' she was happily interacting with Minor even when he didn't do things her way.

More information arrived. They were worried about her reading ability she's one rainbow level down compared to the others.
"But are they giving her books to read that she finds interesting?" I asked. "If she's not interested in them of course she's not going to read them"

At this point an extra nugget arrived in terms of how they are taught. The majority of the morning is 'roleplay' followed by study. The Artist was worried that DC wasn't making the switch between 'play' and 'work'.

"But that's the wrong way around!" I stated; "You go from work to play, not the other way around; especially not in kids this young. You do the serious stuff first then let them blow off steam as a reward for behaviour"

It seems he's concerned that they're not getting enough time actually learning and that a lot of the teaching is landing on the parents. DC comes home with books that they're supposed to read with her. He's at work and his wife has Chewie to look after. Sure it's a part of parenting, but the basics need to be done at the school and if DC is indeed having trouble going from a play to a work mindset that's hardly her or her parent's fault.

Trouble is in the small place they live I'm not sure if they have much choice about where she can attend school and the only real way to get concrete information is by observing her (which could screw up the observation); however this needs to be looked at and more information pulled from the teachers as to what behaviour she exhibits that are causing these comments.

She's not unintelligent - she retains knowledge and can make connections between it. I don't want to see her getting labelled for no good reason.