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  #1  
Old 10-22-2013, 02:05 PM
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Default 4.5 year old WONT Play With Preschoolers (LONG)

I need some advice on my own son. He is having some difficulties in preschool and we are not sure what to do with what is happening.

He attends a preschool with up to 20 kids in a class two full days a week. My husband and I wanted to do this to provide him with a transition year between home at daycare and full day everyday k which is what he will do next year. He attended preschool two evenings a week last year for about 2.5 hours per night. He had 5 kids in his class last year so we thought it would be good to prepare him for a larger all day setting by doing a more formal preschool this year.

I have enjoyed the break from him as well. It comes at a steep price though so we are really hoping to get something out of attending. He does not need academic support at all. He is very bright (dont all moms say that ). Our number one goal was to get him time in a classroom, get comfortable with the routines of school, and learn how to play well with others.

He has been home since birth, I have had the same kids here at daycare for 2 years plus, some for over 3 years. Most of my sons lifetime. He is very much the boss at daycare, and we have struggled with this. He watches mom give reminders "use your manners", "pick up please" and does very much the same with his friends. The other kids at daycare are followers and do whatever he orders. We have worked hard for him to learn how to be in a role other than leader but this is another major reason for sending him to preschool. We wanted him to experience school and learn he isnt always going to get his way, is going to have to wait for others, and deal with it.

So, here is the struggle: he has attended preschool for 9 weeks now (two days a week) He does not play with other kids. He can't tell me one friend he has, and his teachers have expressed concern. He will color or do "work" at the table all day. When the teachers tell him to go play he outright refuses, digs in and stands next to a teacher. I have suggested telling him the coloring table is not a choice and helping him to another play area. The teachers said he will for a second or two and then he returns to a teacher or to color.

So. what gives? Is he anxious? Is he digging in/this is behavioral? Is he doing nothing because the other kids wont let him boss them around? Should we keep him in school? It is expensive, and he can color at home if you KWIM. I want him to learn how to develop friendships/learn how to interact with others.

I am signing a referral slip tomorrow to have him observed but will need to consult with the observers first. I am 100% comfortable with a referral and would love it if they could provide me with some interventions or his teachers with support on him. I figure we only have 9 more months until K starts.

He has friends, cousins etc he plays with. He interacts with kids. He is talkative, obseravtive, very kind and compassionate to his sister and siblings. I do not suspect autism so Id rather not even address that, I know that is not whats going on here.

ANY ADVICE?
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Old 10-22-2013, 02:24 PM
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So you know for sure he CAN play well with others, he just chooses not to in this classroom setting?

Have you observed the classroom at all? Are the teachers allowing the kids to get too rowdy or uncontrolled? 20 kids in one room is a lot for four year old age. My daughters preschool does around 15 with two teachers and even my older daughters kinder is 21 with one teacher and some aides/student teachers in and out of the room. I am thinking that your son is feeling anxious about the environment or perhaps overwhelmed if the class is really rowdy or something. What does he say when you discuss what is happening? Do you have any other options? I would think more days that are shorter (half days) might be a better option for him than full days. or even just try another school and see if that environment is a better fit. perhaps the day there is not very structured and something he is uncomfortable with.

lastly, i think sometimes things just take time. what you see as leadership skills may actually be your son being a perfectionist/controlling personality which is not the same thing as being a leader, in fact its almost the opposite. a leader will be confident in themselves no matter their environment. a perfectionist will panic if they are not in control. once he is out of his element, he doesnt know what to do so he has to learn new social skills and coping skills. what are the teachers doing to help him in a specific way? just directing towards the other kids and giving feedback to the parents is not enough. part of their job is to know how to help kids build relationships and skills.
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Old 10-22-2013, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by cheerfuldom View Post

lastly, i think sometimes things just take time. what you see as leadership skills may actually be your son being a perfectionist/controlling personality which is not the same thing as being a leader, in fact its almost the opposite. a leader will be confident in themselves no matter their environment. a perfectionist will panic if they are not in control. once he is out of his element, he doesnt know what to do so he has to learn new social skills and coping skills. what are the teachers doing to help him in a specific way? just directing towards the other kids and giving feedback to the parents is not enough. part of their job is to know how to help kids build relationships and skills.
very true and I believe the same thing. It's very easy to be confused between a child who is a leader and one who is a perfectionist/controller. I have a daughter just like that.

I agree that it seems that he appears as if he is lacking control there. And that's not a bad thing. At his home, he had some semblance of control and in this new setting he may be feeling completely OUT of control and he may not know how to express that or how to deal with the feelings he may be having.

At 10, my daughter has finally learned coping skills to deal with all of these unknowns and out of control feelings and moments, but your son hasn't yet.

As far as advice, I'm also curious if you have personally observed your son in his classroom.

I do understand that as parents, we have a lot of insight into our own children. But these teachers should have a lot more experience in that type of setting and it sounds as if, since e redirection didn't work, they are just rowing their hands up in defeat.

Is there an option to change his teachers/classroom??
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Old 10-22-2013, 05:51 PM
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When I taught preschool, we would occasionally have a child behave completely differently in class than they did with family and friends. I remember in particular one girl who we could barely get to speak, running and shrieking and screaming happily one day in the gym...when only her parents were there.

I wouldn't force your son to socialize if he's not ready. He will be eventually. I know it seems expensive to send him if he's just coloring, but he is soaking it all up and will adjust when he's ready. Better to do it now than to have a long adjustment in K. As long as he seems content to go and just play alone and he's not struggling emotionally, it could still be a good idea.
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Old 10-23-2013, 05:50 AM
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my dd is 9, last year I got a note in october (2 months into school) asking me if my dd talks. Yet she had no problems talking to her friends, she just couldn't to the teacher. eventually she started saying something in november to him.

also maybe your ds doesn't like the way the kids are playing or what they are playing. My ds is like this. He doesn't like to play stupid games or chasing games or shooting games (oh he's 11) if your child wants to color, well let him color. He sounds fine because he has other friends he plays with. I wouldn't be too concerned. Also, just as a note, your ds will grow up to be a awesome kid (my kid is like this) and the girls will love him to pieces.
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Old 10-23-2013, 06:10 AM
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Originally Posted by preschoolteacher View Post
When I taught preschool, we would occasionally have a child behave completely differently in class than they did with family and friends. I remember in particular one girl who we could barely get to speak, running and shrieking and screaming happily one day in the gym...when only her parents were there.

I wouldn't force your son to socialize if he's not ready. He will be eventually. I know it seems expensive to send him if he's just coloring, but he is soaking it all up and will adjust when he's ready. Better to do it now than to have a long adjustment in K. As long as he seems content to go and just play alone and he's not struggling emotionally, it could still be a good idea.
this is a good point. the kindergartens here are quite demanding, compared to when I was in school. They have weekend and monthly homework. They are already working on sight words and basic math. For the average kid, it's a lot and it's only October. They won't have time for him to do a huge drawn out adjustment and he may fall farther and farther behind. Social skills are just as big a part of kinder as academic but its the same idea.....he has to have skills enough to cooperate, stay with the group, follow instructions. Unless he is being hugely disruptive in class (doesnt sound like it), I would leave him him until Jan or leave him in some sort of program till Jan and then re-evaluate. Clearly he needs the extra time to adjust to a school setting and waiting till next year might be harder on him, not easier.
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Old 10-23-2013, 06:41 AM
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I think the others have given you a lot of good advice. I think it takes time and it probably a bit overwhelming for him to go from 5 kids to 21 kids. I would also add that only being there 2 days a week, it will take much longer. I know that when I have a child that is here less than full time, it takes them a really long time to adjust. The other kids form their routines, friends/partnerships, etc being together all day. When someone is only here part time, it takes them a lot longer to find their spot and that spot changes frequently because they aren't hear all of the time.
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Old 10-23-2013, 06:53 AM
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Is there another child in the class that likes to color? if so it would be helpful if the teacher would help them form a friendship.

Do the others attend 5 days a week and him only 2. if so they have formed groups of friends and he may not know how to enter a group and join in. The teacher instead of saying go play could walk over and model how to ask to join the play.

Do you attend church ? If so Sunday school can be a great way to be with more children under a different teacher than mom.
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Old 10-23-2013, 07:01 AM
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If they are observing him in the classroom it would also be helpful if they observe him in your program. It could be the program not him.
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Old 10-23-2013, 09:07 AM
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Thank you for the ideas. I think he/we connect to a few things mentioned.

1. He attends only 2 days, other kids are either just mornings, just afternoons or a couple full days so I think he is ok only attending 2 full days but might still be adjusting.

2. He has attended sunday school for 2 years but they love that he just sits and colors! Less work for the teachers at sunday school. Unfortunately.

3. I have not yet observed except for a short bit at pick up but we have never arrived to find him playing. Inside or outside he is always nearest a teacher, sitting and observing but not playing.

4. I think the control/perfectionist topic closely relates to him. He is always trying to please us showing us his good work and asking (dad especially) for approval. Did I do good? He always says that. He likes things orderly and controlled, not unlike his mom I must admit. ; )

I am excited and a bit nervous to see his referral. Id like to get another set of eyes on him and maybe they can give us tips on what to do.

Any further ideas welcome! You all are awesome!
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