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pre-schoolers "not mixing with other class mates"

pre-schoolers "not mixing with other class mates"           reply
10/10/2010 12:07 - Ask Mother Hen
My 4 yr old ds has just started Naoinra (playschool through irish), it´s a new naoinra in the area & i think it´s the teachers first "teaching position" aswell. The first couple of days were ok, he would go in but would hold back a bit. He seemed to settle for a few days & all of a sudden by the end of week 2 we had a major melt down which was a full weekend of constant crying & him being totally out of character - even his grandparents couldn´t believe the change in him. He eventually said that his teacher wouldn´t let him sit beside his friend - the one & only person he knows in the class & it seems the two of them have been inseparable in school. I wondered at the end of week 2 if it was too soon to try to separate them but I let it go. The mother of the other child had been told on the friday that x & y had to be separated because they "weren´t mixing with the other kids" but nothing was said to me by the teacher. I spoke to another montessori teacher who said it was far to early to try to do that to children who were thrown into a totally unfamiliar situation & a new language (it´s total immersion in irish so teachers communicate only through irish with the children). On the monday we had a bit of an issue - their lunches are put into the fridge when they arrive in school & there was no way my son was going to do that as he didn´t want to be there so i just told him to go sit beside "y" & i´d put his things away. As i was doing it his teacher approached me & told me that "x" had to do that but I explained to her that we´d had a terrible weekend over school & he really didn´t want to be here so the only way to have it in the fridge was for me to do it. The teacher still didn´t say anything to me about splitting the two of them up & she did say that he´s absolutely fine & she has no problems with him in class at all. She mentioned that he doesn´t sing along when they´re in their circle but he´s not causing any problems but yet he sings the songs to me at home so he is learning them. (I understand that pre-school prepares them for j.infants & they have to learn how to do things for themselves but this was the start of their 3rd week in). As the days went on he still complained that he wasn´t allowed to sit beside "y" & he didn´t want to go to school but i just tried to go with the flow hoping that it would eventually pass. Then last week his teacher spoke to my husband & said that she had to separate the two of them as they weren´t mixing but when she tried to move my son he told her that "my mammy & daddy will be very angry if you don´t let me sit beside "y" i have to admit i laughed when i heard that but they´re only 3 & 4 - they´re only babies & it´s only pre-school. I spoke to the teacher at the end of the class the next day & she said that she feels that if she doesn´t intervene now it will become a problem for "x" & "Y" later on & she thinks it would be best if they were separated during school. I questioned if they were messing or disrupting class & her answer was No that they´re very well behaved & there´s no behaviour problems but she seems to think that they shouldn´t be playing together constantly. My view is that she is making a mountain out of a molehill - I know my son & i know that the more i dig my heels in the more he digs his in. He thrives on what´s familiar to him & he does sit back & take it all in untill he´s used to people & situations & then he´ll join in & will go with anyone once he´s used to them. I´m fearfull now that there´s been such an issue made out of "mixing" in his class that he will become very aware of it & stand back even more as a result. They´ve only just finished their 1st month in pre-school. My son isn´t a great mixer to start out with but once he´s familiar & knows the people around him there´s not a bother on him. He just takes a bit of time to get to know people. Is it normal for montessori teachers to jump in so quickly to try to "force" children to mix? I´m sorry it´s such a long rant but it´s really bothering me that there´s more longterm damage being done by the teachers actions at the moment.
Many thanks

re... : pre-schoolers "not mixing with other class mates"           reply
12/10/2010 22:31 - Ask Mother Hen
Hi Lulu
Thank you for your reply. At this stage we have managed to get him to put his own lunch in the fridge each morning - the day I put it in for him was only the start of his 3rd week & he was really pulling back that day & not wanting to go in. He tells me everyday that he wasn´t allowed to sit beside "y" today so i´ve started telling him that it´s only during work time that he has to sit beside somebody else & he can still play with "Y" during play time. I´m really more concerned about the teacher putting so much emphasis on them mixing at this stage. It´s still early days & I know myself he is quite shy & even as adults if we´re put into a situation where we don´t know many people we´re automatically drawn to the people we know rather than going straight to people we don´t know at all. I have a friend who´s a primary school teacher & she said that she certainly wouldn´t be separating children so early into the term once they´re not disrupting the class but by halloween if there was no improvement she´d probably start putting them into pairs or teams for play rather than physically moving the children & try to coax them along introducing them to each other through play rather than physically moving them from one seat to another. I´m bothered because it started in their 2nd week in the naoinra & if my son wasn´t bothered at all about not sitting beside his friend I really wouldn´t mind him being moved around. He started in a creche when he was 2 (3 mornings per week) & went to playschool last year 5 days per week & i´ve never had an issue with any previous teachers saying he wasn´t mixing. I just feel that she´s drawing too much attention to it & it´s having an adverse effect on him already.
Thanks again.

re... : pre-schoolers "not mixing with other class mates"           reply
12/10/2010 19:23 - Ask Mother Hen
As a mother and a Montessori teacher I can understand your concern here, friendships that are formed early on usually contribute to building a child´s confidence and self esteem. Once they are not disrupting the class I don´t see the problem with them sitting together. On the issue of the lunch and coat it may seem petty but each child should put away their own things, if the other children see you doing it they will all want their Mums to do it for them. The teacher should also be aware who may need a little extra attention and finding it a little harder to settle in. Please don´t be too hard on the teacher as I´m sure she has your child´s best interest at heart, also try not to get too stressed yourself as your child will pick up on this, again easier said than done as we all worry so much about our kids.

Best of luck with everything,


re... : pre-schoolers "not mixing with other class mates"           reply
11/10/2010 11:32 - Ask Mother Hen
Mother Hen, thank you for your reply. When i spoke to the teacher last week the reply I got was that she felt if she didn´t intervene now that it would create a bigger problem for x & y later on. She also told me that if we´re not on the same page (me & her) that there´s going to be a problem. I spoke to the other childs mother this morning & she said that when the teacher said it to her that she told the teacher to leave them that they´re only babies & they´ll mix with time & this mother is a secondary school teacher with over 15 years experience. I discovered this morning that two other children in the class have also been separated. These two children have become friends since joining the naoinra & did not know each other before they started. They seem to have clicked together too & now they too have been separated because they´re not "Mixing" with others either. I really feel this teacher is making too much of an issue over 3 & 4 year olds "Mixing" & really should leave them to it. I too would be delighted to hear from any other montessori/playschool teachers to see what their view is. I´m also wondering if this continues as an issue is there anywhere we as parents can go for advice on how she´s handling the group? Is there a governing body over the naoinras?
Thank you

re... : pre-schoolers "not mixing with other class mates"           reply
13/10/2010 17:30 - Ask Mother Hen
Hope everything works out for your little boy. Sometimes there are teething problems that settle doen after a few months so maybe all will be well soon.

re : pre-schoolers "not mixing with other class mates"           reply
11/10/2010 08:21 - Ask Mother Hen
I think that it would be better to let x and y sit together for the moment until they settle in. This is all new to them and having a familiar friend to sit with will help both to settle in. Why don´t you talk to the teacher and ask her if she could just leave them until the midterm break? If the pressure is off all of you until then, that would be a big help. I think that they two children will begin to mix more as time goes on and they become more comfortable and secure with their playschool. Have a chat with the teacher and see will she agree to do that.
Keep the connection with your little boy in terms of setting aside a little time each day to have playtime or chat time together. Don´t bombard him with questions about the naoinra - he´ll chat about that anyway so pressurising him with questions may firstly, make him shut down on the information and secondly, put too much focus on it.
I am interested to hear what other playschool teachers think about this situation?
Let us know how it goes

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