Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Parent-Teacher conferences

I have a lot of stuff to catch up on. We'll start here.

Olivia goes to preschool at a Catholic grade school, and they do some things for the preschool just like they would for the rest of the school, including parent-teacher conferences. So last Wednesday, we met with Olivia's teacher.

I didn't really know what to expect. I know my kid is a little, well, bossy and overbearing. At least at home. Her preschool director has had nothing but good things to say about her, though, and the daily sheets she brings home from school are all pretty good. No notes for bad behavior. And I know she's learning stuff. But what is actually happening behind the scenes?

Well, Miss Bobbie, her teacher, started by pulling out a portfolio with her name on it. She showed us a triangle and a circle. "On the first day of school, we asked the kids to cut out some shapes. These are Olivia's. She has no trouble using scissors. These are very well done." So far, so good.

"This is her name as she wrote it on the first day." Perfect. Good. We saw some more samples of her work in cutting, coloring, arranging pieces, gluing, etc. Check, check and check. She is fine on all the motor skills and such.

Then we went to letter and number recognition. She tested "within the range where we want kids to be when they start kindergarten". Same with following directions. It is apparent that she's a bright and teachable child.

"Now, about Olivia's problems with M..." M is a kid in her class. Olivia has been talking about her since she started school. "M hit me today. I don't think she likes me. She's not very nice to me." This went on for a couple of weeks before I called the preschool director to see what was up. I was under no illusions that the problem was entirely M's...I was sure Olivia was causing her fair share of the trouble between the two of them. Which was why the teacher wanted to address it with us.

As it turns out, M and Olivia are two VERY strong personalities, more alike than different, and that is why they clash. Instead of separating them, though, the teacher intentionally puts them together for projects and assigns them tasks to complete together. I found that interesting, especially in light of the fact that Olivia has recently been coming home identifying M as her friend and has fewer and fewer complaints about her. The teacher is trying to help the girls learn ways to get along. So, I was pretty happy with the way they were handling that.

Also, the teacher explained that she tends to redirect Olivia's bossy nature, explaining that she doesn't ever punish a kid for being bossy. "I have seen those bossy preschoolers turn into student council presidents and leaders in their high school classes. We want to use that energy well and teach them how to be constructive with it."

So, overall, a good session!

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