to take my DS out of pre school because they say he is needs 'extra support'.

(267 Posts)
Elvisina Fri 05-Jul-13 08:25:37

My 3 yr old DS has always been on the lively side! His idea of heaven is being allowed to just run through a park, woods or along a beach, preferably with some older children. He very rarely shows an interest in any kind of ‘mark making’ (despite our best efforts – we have enough arts and crafts stuff in this house to start up our own nursery). He had been quite a few months behind with his speech but his language has recently taken off in a big way! A recent visit to a speech therapist reassured me he is/will be fine.
Anyway, this April he started at a local pre school for 2 and a half days a week. It’s a new pre school that is attached to a primary school which only opened 2 years ago. They’ve just received a very good Ofsted and the resources are great. I was so delighted to get him in there and he absolutely loves it, running into the playground each morning with a massive smile on his face. However, over the last few weeks, I’ve been feeling increasingly uneasy about how they think he’s doing. Whenever I made a friendly enquiry to his teacher I’ve had rather crisp, negative responses such as “He doesn’t like joining in activities, especially if they’re led by an adult. He’s just not really ready” and “I’m like a broken record having to tell him all the time to put his coat on”. Nothing positive (and I know I’m biased but he is damn cute!). Last week I decided to phone up for a chat about how he’s doing, basically expecting some reassurance along the lines of, ‘he’s happy and friendly and we’re working on getting him to use his ‘listening ears’’ etc however it turned into a serious talk about how they have been preparing documentation to get him ‘extra support’ because he wants to play outside all the time and doesn’t want to join in the teacher led activities. Language such as “he needs a different learning path” was used. Apparently he stood out from the other children who were all happy to listen to teacher led activities. I was devastated and I know it’s ridiculous but I cried! It really hurt that they felt he was so different from the others. I mentioned that I had noticed there were loads more girls than boys and she said she hadn’t noticed this as a particular issue but in his class picture on their website there are 9 girls and 3 boys!

My DH thinks we should just accept the extra help and not worry about it but I now feel as though perhaps this isn’t the place for my DS. I don’t even feel as though they like him very much. I took him out of a lovely, friendly nursery where they seemed to really ‘get’ him and like him to go to this new pre school. I’m now considering sending him back there. Thing is, he loves it and I could be doing him a disservice by not letting him have this ‘extra support’. I honestly hadn’t realised that he would be required to take part in so many teacher led activities. I thought he got to play all day! What’s wrong with him wanting to play outside for 2 hours pretending to be a pirate? (I’m a teacher myself – secondary – so should have known better really). I keep looking at my wonderful boy who I honestly, honestly, honestly don’t think there is anything wrong with and feeling upset that they’ve made me feel as though he is somehow ‘failing’/different. I’m going in next week to observe him and discuss his ‘learning path’ but actually I just feel like I want to remove him. Would that be ridiculously unreasonable of me? Am I just being too sensitive?

proudmum74 Fri 05-Jul-13 08:55:11

Hi Elvisina - have they said what type of "extra support" he needs?

I'm a parent of a DD with SN, not that i'm suggesting that your DS has SN, but my gut reaction is always to grab any support you are offered, as it's normally a battle to get any type of help... what part of the suggestion that your DS might need a little bit if extra support concerns you?

In your position i would first want the pre-school to be far more specific as to what exactly they are concerned about and request that they provide more detail of the type of support they want to offer. Given you already have access to SALT, I'd recommend speaking to them to get a second opinion.

Bit of a left field question, but how is your DS hearing? When was his last hearing test, as glue ear is very common in small children & can effect concentration levels & may help explain his speech delay.

If SALT have no concerns, then I would follow your instincts and place him in a setting that you & your DS are happier with.

ChangeyMcChangeName Fri 05-Jul-13 08:55:17

Also...my DD is 5 and has had extra help with her literacy all year in reception. It's been marvelous. She's very bright but reading just didn't sit in with her as quickly as for some others. Teachers have no concern that she has any learning difficulties...she's just very active and would rather paint or play out. There's NO shame in having some help.

xylem8 Fri 05-Jul-13 08:56:19

Your being a secondary school teacher has absolutely no bearing on this.It is such a totally differnt age group.
The pre-school leader will have dealt with lots and lots of lively boys.Your DS's class won't be the first she has ever had!!!
Please listen to her and your DH and get whatever help is advised.For your DS's sake.

ReallyTired Fri 05-Jul-13 08:56:37

It hurts when people critise your children? Parents are often defensive whether the child is four years old or fourteen.

It is horrific when someone says that there is something wrong with your cihld. The pre school would not be offering him extra support unless there were concerns. Lots of children have extra support at pre school and no one knows later on when they start proper school

Your son sounds like a pretty normal little boy to me. Boys and girls are different species at that age.

Have you had his hearing and sight tested? What is your son's speech like? Prehaps you should contact your health visitor and ask her to assess his development. The health visitor can make any necessary referals like audiology or SLT.

xylem8 Fri 05-Jul-13 08:56:49

Could I just ask if he is an only/eldest child?

bico Fri 05-Jul-13 08:57:35

If he starts school this Sept then I'd take the extra help. If he has another year at home you could choose to remove him for a while. Personally I'd take the support and then review after three months.

orangepudding Fri 05-Jul-13 08:57:42

My son went to a very structured pre school for a term. It really didn't suit him, he wasn't ready for the structure or discipline. He just wanted to play. I felt that the owner didn't want him there as he didn't fit in. My girls loved it there but it didn't suit my son.
I moved him to the local school nursery and it was much better for him. I really felt like they understood him and he loved it.
If it doesn't feel right move him.

hackmum Fri 05-Jul-13 08:59:06

OP, there seems to be a 50-50 split in the answers between "listen to what they're telling you - they're professionals" and "let him be a child and run free"!

I obviously don't know as I don't know your son. But what do you think? Do you know many other three year olds? Does your son strike you as a normal, lively little boy, or as a child who has difficulty concentrating or focusing on stuff? Do you trust the staff to know the difference between a child who is simply high-spirited and active, and not yet ready for sitting down quietly, and one who has got a genuine problem?

My instinct is that children develop at very different rates and it's unreasonable to expect all three year olds to be ready to sit down quietly for formal activities. But obviously I don't know your son and I'm not any kind of expert. Obviously as he's your child, it's hard to be objective - do you have any friends who can be trusted to give you an honest opinion?

znaika Fri 05-Jul-13 09:00:13

These MN threads always worry me. My DD is 4 1/2 and always wants to be outside to play - I thought this was a good thing! It would never occur to me to worry about her and try and give her extra support, although she can read and write, she wants to be out running and climbing! IMO the UK education system pushes children too young into a formal learning environment and many, many children (of normal ability and intelligence) are simply not ready at such young ages.

badguider Fri 05-Jul-13 09:02:19

There's nothing wrong at all with needing 'a different learning path'... I think the question is whether this pre-school is the right place to get that or whether he'd be better at the nursery he was at before or some kind of forest or outdoors nursery.

The question for me would be what comes next and how soon? If you and he have plenty of time before school starts then I would go with his preference for running around outside.. however, if he needs (due to the stupid English system) to start reception at school soon then unfortunately rather than embracing is natural learning style, you are going to have to ease him into the 'desired behaviour' for school learning sad in which case I would take all the help the pre-school are offering to ease him from his preferred learning style to one that will 'work' in a school setting.

Elvisina Fri 05-Jul-13 09:02:33

Ah cheers guys, lots of really helpful advice here. Yeah, I think I definitely am letting my feelings get in the way and need to get over them in order to make a rational decision. It's already been cathartic writing it all down. I think I'll maybe make a tentative phone call to his old nursery just sounding out whether they have places in their pre school section for next term and then see how I feel about the one he's at now when I go in next week. To be honest, his old nursery is much more convenient for drop offs around work but I was prepared to deal with the complicated logistics because I thought this pre school would be so good. Thanks again - especially for similar stories!

Elvisina Fri 05-Jul-13 09:03:33

Oops, keep forgetting to say he doesn't start school until Sept 2014.

ReallyTired Fri 05-Jul-13 09:03:58

I think the OP should get a second opinon. Even if nursery nurses aren't as qualified as doctors or teachers they have often had years of experience with small children. They are in a good position to spot if something isn't quite right even if they can't diagnose why.

Getting a second opinon will either allay any fears or it will strengthen the case that extra help is needed.

Bloob Fri 05-Jul-13 09:08:26

I didnt want to read and run but didnt have time to read the pps. ignore me if its irrelevant! I doubt very much they're doing lots of structured activities, learning at this age is "play based" but they will be expected to sit down to listen to a story or together at snack time, at dds preschool they sit down together at home time to, to sing a song and say goodbye. If he's leaping about all over the place and interrupting, then maybe it is important to work on those skills? The teachers don't have ay motivation for telling you this other than it being necessary, I would accept the help with open arms. If it turns out that there is an issue, surely it's best that the help is already in place? Also, the teacher is a professional, if she thinks that something is not quite right, she's probably the one to know.

Ultimately, he does need to learn these skills. And the younger he learns them, the easier it will be on him. Could you work with him at home to try to improve things?

trice Fri 05-Jul-13 09:09:58

Dd was a lively outdoor type. She went to a montessori preschool where she learned to write outside in mud with a stick.

Your ds sounds like he needs something similar.

MrsOakenshield Fri 05-Jul-13 09:10:11

this is why I don't like pre-school - they seem to be too focussed on getting a child ready for school, rather than embracing the age for what it is right now. My neice has just gone through 18 months of this, the pre-school saying she won't be ready for school (this was when she was 3, not going to school til 4 and 3/4), she needs to see an education psychologist, focussing on what she can't do (not good at joining in or sharing, away in her own wibbly-wobbly world most of them time) rather than what she can do (very imaginative and creative, excellent speech) etc etc - she's just finished and they've now decided she's fine, just different (her sharing has improved loads in the last couple of months - thanks mainly to her childminder rather than the pre-school). FFS.

Isn't Reception year meant to be about getting them ready for school proper? Presumably children who have been at home until school manage to get on fine?

Having seen my sister being put through the mill of this, I would check out a setting that focussed less on box-ticking and more on the child being a child. DD (3.5) spends all day at nursery playing mummies and babies with her best friend. Don't think she does much else. Happy as larry. Why would I want anything else - she's not going to school till next year!

katiecubs Fri 05-Jul-13 09:12:32

My DS (nearly 3) sounds exactly like yours - and to be honest many others in his pre-school! He is totally uninterested in led activities and just want to run about.

Although I think this is pretty normal and just a personality thing I have worried how he will cope when he starts school. If I had the type of feedback and offer or support you had I would be really bloody delighted! I can't see (apart from perhaps some of the negative phrasing) they used how you would think this a bad thing?

plantsitter Fri 05-Jul-13 09:14:01

I would be led by him. As long as he is happy and enjoying nursery, keep him there and accept the help. It will probably assist him in future when he starts school etc. If the extra support seems to be making him unhappy for an extended time, follow your instincts.

GinGuzzler Fri 05-Jul-13 09:14:36

I was in your shoes september last year. My DS was 1 of 4 boys in a class of girls in nursery. He needed extra support to sit and do group activities. At first I was devastated as I thought he was doing really well. So his teacher had a really nice chat with me. She told me academically he was right up there and she couldn't fault him. She explained how children have short attention spans. That its a minute for each year they are so she really only expected him to sit for a minimum of 3 minutes and anyrhing over that was an acheivement. They implemented an egg timer to assist him to sit longer to do group activities which I incorporated at home.

They didn't bring in extra staff to teach him they never excluded him from any of the activities including the nativity at christmas. They just gave him smaller things to do and since then they have gradually increased each task and now nearly a year later he is excelling with this and he has calmed down in the classroom with his class mates and he still has his freedom in outside activities as they encourage his imagination and love of the outdoors.

I am so proud of the little boy who I see today and feel his teachers were right and did what was right for him in the nursery. He has had nothing but glowing reports and they are confident this will continue when he starts reception in september.

I hope your DS continues to enjoy his love of the outdoors but why don't you arrange to have a meeting with the teacher and ask what they were thinking. WhenI was told my son needed extra help I was a bit gutted as it goes I'm glad I trusted his teacher earlier rather than later as it may have been a different story for reception. If after the meeting you still feel the same then take him back to his old nursery, ask their opinion of the new nusery and see what they say. At the end of the day. You know your DS netter than anyone and you know you will do what's right for him. Good luck flowers

GinGuzzler Fri 05-Jul-13 09:16:30

Better not netter blush

TheOnlyPink Fri 05-Jul-13 09:16:55

My son had difficulty concentrating and struggled with alot of tasks such as colouring and mark making. The preschool assured me he was fine and even told me he was doing well.
off he went to school at age 5 and the teacher calls me aside and tells me he isn't coping at all.
Of course I was horrified at first, and now I am trying to get my son the extra support, but that's all on top of making sure he doesn't fall behind with his school work. I just wish that the preschool had the experience or the balls to bloody tell me that everything wasn't fine.
ASD has been ruled out and we are looking at a dyspraxia diagnosis.

My advice is to take any support they are willing to offer you. No help will be detrimental and you can stop it at any time. My concern would be that he would go to school and still need the support. Better to start early IMO.

TheOnlyPink Fri 05-Jul-13 09:21:17

I didn't mean to imply your child has any kind of special needs, i only added my own sons diagnosis prospects to complete my own story! Just on reading back that's not clear!

WhiteBirdBlueSky Fri 05-Jul-13 09:25:49

He problem doesn't seem to be in your child, or his needs, but in the negative attitude of the teachers. I would t want him to spend all day with people who think so badly of him.

TSSDNCOP Fri 05-Jul-13 09:25:50

Every single thing you wrote applied to my DS. It's not just what the teacher said, but what you can see with your own eyes.

Take the help, if it means the school gets extra funding see it as a bonus.

BackforGood Fri 05-Jul-13 09:30:48

I don't understand how a school or Nursery or Pre-school applying to get some extra support to give a child the best start in life can ever been seen as a bad thing confused - only on MN, eh?

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