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DD1 says preschool teacher smacked her. What do I do? Long, sorry.

(60 Posts)
suiledonn Sun 20-Sep-09 08:56:17

DD1 is 3.4. She started pre-school on 1st of September, 3 days per week. She went the first week and although she cried when I left she got on OK. Unfortunately she became ill (asthma, chest infection) and so missed the full second week. I took her in on the Friday to talk to her teacher and she seemed excited about going back.

She went in with a bit of resistance on the Monday but didn't really want to go on Tuesday. I took her in and she was fine when I left. When I collected her she was really upset. I could only speak to the teacher briefly but she said dd had been crying on and off, refused to sit for her lunch and wouldn't do anything they asked her. She reassured me that this is common and said I should try to help her be more independent at home.

On Tuesday evening she was playing when DH and when he tickled her she started crying and said 'that's my sore arm that the teacher smacked'. She was really upset so I just comforted her and let it go.

Later on I sat down and asked her about it. She said the teacher wanted them to make a line and she wouldn't do it so the teacher smacked her. I thought maybe the teacher caught her by the arm to put her in the line but she demonstrated to me and it was clearly a smack.

DD couldn't go in on Wednesday because of an appointment so she is due to go back tomorrow. I have been worrying about it all week. It is the pre-school in the local primary school. We know loads of families who send their children there and have never heard a bad report. On the other hand it is not like dd ran out saying 'teacher smacked me'. She had a sore arm and was very clear in what she told me.

I know I need to speak to the teacher but what do I say? I can't walk in there accusing her on smacking but I believe dd that something happened. I am stressed out. I put off posting about this all week as I was trying to decide what is for the best.

DD clearly needs pre-school. She is very nervous around other children and very resistant to following rules etc so I think if she can settle in it would be very good for her.

Help. I am going round in circles.

CybilLiberty Sun 20-Sep-09 08:58:14

Ooh that's tricky. Is thre a manager, someone above the teacher that you could talk to?

EldonAve Sun 20-Sep-09 08:59:22

I think you need to speak to the head

FlamingoDuBeke Sun 20-Sep-09 08:59:52

I don't know the answer, really. Personally I'd take her out.

She doesn't need preschool, she needs to grow up - that's all. And she will do that whether she's in preschool or not. You're the one who needs to teach her to follow rules and she'll learn it from you as she gets older. She's only 3.4 and it's not for lack of preschool that she is nervous - it's just her.

If you can't get the preschool sorted out, then maybe focus on going to playgroups etc. that you can go along too. She'll get bolder as she grows up...or she won't - some people are more shy than others.

preciouslillywhite Sun 20-Sep-09 09:01:14

I'd speak to the teacher first and ask her what happened...if your dd is wrong, it could cause all kinds of bad feeling for you to go to the Head first, imo.

FabBakerGirlIsBack Sun 20-Sep-09 09:02:29

I wouldn't speak to the person who has smacked her - I would go higher and then I would take her out immediately.

CybilLiberty Sun 20-Sep-09 09:06:55

Taking her out without investigating is not the answer. You don't have to go in all guns blazing, but speak to the person who owns/runs the nursery

preciouslillywhite Sun 20-Sep-09 09:07:17

the thing is, in a busy pre school attached to a school, it would be pretty much unheard of for a teacher to strike a child. In front of a line of other children? in front of other staff? hard enough to make a mark/for it to still be sore later on?

I'd find out the other side to the story first and talk to the teacher direct, as I'm sure there must be an explanation...especially as, if you go to the Head and then remove her, presumably you're going to have to send her to Reception there in a couple of years' time?

suiledonn Sun 20-Sep-09 09:09:42

Thanks. My gut instinct is that dd is telling the truth. We joke at home that she never lies. If she does something naughty and I ask her she always says 'It was me'.

I see now that I made some mistakes with her. I had PND when she was born and was very anxious and PFB about her. I still am in some ways and I gave in to her very easily as I couldn't bear her to be upset.
The PND is sorted now and I am much stronger so we have been working on rules etc. and things are getting better.

I know it is our responsibilty to teach her right from wrong but I do think that for a child who isn't in childcare at all a few days of pre school before she starts school could be good for her to get he used to following someone elses instructions and being away from home for a few hours.

CybilLiberty Sun 20-Sep-09 09:12:26

I obviously don't know your daughter but would be suspicious about a professional giving a smack. She may have moved her using her arm... but I still think you need to speak about what happened and how best to settle your dd into the setting.

EldonAve Sun 20-Sep-09 09:12:53

If you believe your child speak to the head
They can then investigate and you don't have to confront the teacher and accuse her of smacking your child

suiledonn Sun 20-Sep-09 09:14:06

Good point preciouslillywhite. The teacher is very experienced and there is always another staff member there. It has been playing on my mind that could dd be so naughty as to make this woman lose her temper to the point of risking her job.

CybilLiberty Sun 20-Sep-09 09:17:55

Teachers do not behave like that with preschool children no matter how 'naughty' the child is

purepurple Sun 20-Sep-09 09:19:40

OP, whild children this age don't deliberately lie, they do sometimes get a little muddled with the truth.
I remember a 3 year old telling his mum that I smacked him (obviously, I didn't).
I didn't know this until he had left to go to school. His mum didn't take him seriously, neither did my manager.
I think you should mention it to the pre-school teacher, in passing, in a light-hearted way "DD says that you smacked her on the arm when she was lining up. I know you would never do anything so cruel as I would have to report it to OFSTED!"
If, god forbid, she actually did do it, she will know that you are on to her and hopefully, it will prevent her doing it again.
It is very unlikely that the teachers are smacking the children, as most other childcare workers would not stand by and let it happen.
It may be that somebody did smack her arm, and she has just assumed it was the teacher as she was the nearest.

preciouslillywhite Sun 20-Sep-09 09:21:39

Cybil's right...specially if the teacher is experienced, as you say. She will have dealt with a huge range of "challenging" (ahem) behaviour over the years. It would be very unusual for her to lose it now IMO.

MaryMotherOfCheeses Sun 20-Sep-09 09:24:02

You need to talk to the teacher. I'd start by saying "DD told me something very strange the other day" then if you're happy with the reaction, you can move on quickly to "how can we helps her settle a bit better"

littleducks Sun 20-Sep-09 09:27:28

Do you or anyone else smack her?

preciouslillywhite Sun 20-Sep-09 09:27:58

What Mary and purepurple said...

It's not impossible that there's a bunch of three and four year olds standing in line, pushing and shoving (with new starters who are not used to it)- a child slaps her from behind and in the confusion she assumes that the teacher has done it...

I don't think from what you say that your daughter is lying- but there may well be a simple explanation. I'd just ask, exactly as Mary suggests.

NightShoe Sun 20-Sep-09 09:33:42

I would actually talk to the teacher and see what she says then take it from there. If you are still suspcious then take it further. FWIW DD is 3.3 and she told DH that I had hit her on the neck and that it was really sore and that I was a horrible mummy because I always hit her. I do absolutely nothing of the sort and have never hit her ever, but she was very convincing in relaying the story. I just think you need to be careful with this age group, because what I had actually done was tickle DD's neck.

lolapoppins Sun 20-Sep-09 09:37:15

The same thing happened to my ds at that age, he mentioned a sore arm when he came home. Said the teacher had dragged him across the playground by his arm and then shaken him. We didn't believe him, thinking a pre school teacher would never do that. A couple of days later, one of the other parents at the school contacted me to tell me she had seen him being dragged by is arm, shouted at him in the face and shaken and thought she had to tell us (she did't even know us). I will never forget poor ds at 3, crying and begging us to belive him and we didn't sad

We complained but it got us know where. The school turned it all round on us and ds' behaviour.

Ds' behaviuour was like your dds. Some teachers do lose their tempers with children I'm afraid. Before I had dc of my own, I used to work in pre schools. I walked out of two jobs as I was disgusted with the way some staff memebers acted towards the children when the parents were not around to see.

Goblinchild Sun 20-Sep-09 09:40:09

CybilLiberty '
Teachers do not behave like that with preschool children no matter how 'naughty' the child is'

As a teacher, that is a lovely thing to hear, but sadly it isn't something that anyone could ever state as an absolute truth and be sure of.
The most likely scenario is that DD got muddled about what happened, and your suggestion that suiledonn talk to the teacher, and then make the manager aware of events as well is what I'd do in the same circumstances.
My son has managed to drive a teacher to unprofessional behaviour due to his AS, and she was sorry afterwards but it still happened and needed addressing.

elmofan Sun 20-Sep-09 09:41:04

hi suiledonn , ah your poor dd , this is a tricky situation but i would believe your lo , i agree with marymotherofcheeses approach , tell the teacher exactly what your dd has told you then stop talking & wait for the teachers explanation , watch her reaction carefully & if you are not happy with the teachers response go talk to the manager , sorry you are having to deal with this so soon after your lo started playschool , i have been wondering how she was getting on as you helped me out on my thread with my worries over my dd starting smile

suiledonn Sun 20-Sep-09 09:41:06

No. No smacking at home and the only other person who occasionally minds her is MIL and no smacking there either. It hadn't occured to me that someone else could have smacked/bumped her in the line. That could be an explanation as she isn't used to rough and tumble with other children and is treated very gently at home.

I think I will go in tomorrow and speak directly to the teacher. I will take the light hearted approach and see how it goes.
Hoping to send her to reception in this school next year so don't want to do anything rash but at the same time I don't want to disregard dd's feelings.

DD doesn't need to go in tomorrow. She can do Tues, Wed, Thur instead if I am happy to send her.

Starting parenting class next week as DH and I are really struggling with discipline, routine etc.

purepurple Sun 20-Sep-09 09:43:24

Good luck with your parenting classes, OP.

suiledonn Sun 20-Sep-09 09:44:57

Hi elmofan, I was hoping to run into you again. Forgot to watch the other thread to give you an update.

How is your dd getting on? Has she settled in?

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