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Comment from head of nursery - am I overreacting?

(37 Posts)
GeorginaA Fri 06-May-05 09:02:45

Today is ds1's birthday and also a "come as your favourite book character" day at nursery. There's been a big build up to the day and he was really really bursting with pride walking to nursery in his Thomas the Tank engine outfit I made for him. He's a bit shy and been a bit nervous of nursery for the last week or so, so I was really pleased to see him so happy.

Got to nursery with a big "look at me" smile on his face and the head comes past and says in a loud voice "we're not making a big fuss of their costumes now, he might want to take it off and then we'll line them all up later". Okay, fair enough - a bit abrupt, but fair enough. Then the next two children come in and she praises them up for their fabulous costumes! Ds1's face just plummetted.

I didn't say anything, quite honestly didn't know what to say at that point which would be constructive. I've just come home and dissolved into tears instead, feeling every ounce of my son's hurt.

This isn't the first time either. At Christmas they all had a christmas tree picture they had to colour in. Ds1, for the first time ever, was interested in doing some art, spent hours with daddy colouring, sticking and glittering this christmas tree. Hands it in the next day, while I'm there praising him up for what a good job he's done and the head turns round and says dismissively "well all the children worked very hard on their pictures" (hard to put across the tone of voice on that, but it really was dismissive) - well, yes I'm sure, but this is my son who struggles to gain any interest to even pick up a pencil and who you've commented before is a real struggle to get any artwork from him for his file to go to the school. A little bit of praise might count for something.


Do I say anything, how do I do it constructively and tactfully? Or do I just ignore it and praise him up at home when he gets back this afternoon?

Enid Fri 06-May-05 09:07:45

that sounds heartbreaking georgina.

I don't know what you can say though. Just praise your son as much as you can (sounds like you do already)

how long has he got to go there?

Hulababy Fri 06-May-05 09:12:09

Oh georgina She sounds like a witch. What a horrible woman.

Make a huge fuss of him tonight - lots of special treats for being such a fab Thomas!.

marthamoo Fri 06-May-05 09:13:09

What a cow ! How hard would it have been to say "what a fantastic Thomas costume!"?

I probably wouldn't say anything - but would seethe inwardly and praise him to the skies when he gets home. Is it a nursery attached to the school he's going to go to?

Happy Birthday to your little boy anyway (shares it with Tony Blair!) I bet he looked fab.

LeahE Fri 06-May-05 09:13:49

Oh, poor DS1. How much longer will he be there? It does feel like you ought to say something, but I can't think of a constructive/tactful way to put it (I guess grabbing her by the throat and shouting "why do you keep putting my son down?" wouldn't qualify...?) so maybe just best to let it ride? Oh dear, not much help there. Can you find someone else to praise his costume this afternoon, so he knows it's not just you and that people outside the family rate it too? So that the head becomes the exception rather than the rule, if you see what I mean?

Hulababy Fri 06-May-05 09:17:22

Missed the birthday bit - Happy Birthday to your DS

Gizmo Fri 06-May-05 09:21:48

Do they put aside any time in the day for 'debriefing' you about DS's day?

If you can get a chat for five minutes, then it might be possible to work in something along the lines of 'We so pleased DS has started taking an interest in art, we think that doing art at nursery has been really good for him, and we are trying to praise and encourage him as much as possible: would it be possible for staff at nursery to back us up?'

Hopefully your nursery will want to make sure you and they are working together so will back you up on this. But I think you do need to do something, because this sort of unease about nursery staff never goes away, IME.

moondog Fri 06-May-05 09:23:02

F*inmg bitch! I would alternate between wanting to smack her and wanting to dissolve in tears.
Are you happy with the nursery in general?
I know I really liked mine apart from the sneery dismissive comments about reusable nappies. (Was the first one ever to have a child there with them, now they have an ad up for a local weashing service lol!!)
If this is the only thing, you might let it go, about writing a letter to her? Would avoid you having to get emotional with her (as i would!)

Bet your little boy looked wonderful. Birthday kiss from me (I celebrated my birthday to days ago!)
Us Tauruses are tough!

saadia Fri 06-May-05 09:23:03

The head sounds really nasty, not sure if saying anything would make a difference. What are the other staff like?

GeorginaA Fri 06-May-05 09:29:57

Thank you all, feel a bit better now that I don't feel like I'm making a fuss about nothing!

He's only got until the end of this term then he starts school in September, the other staff are fantastic and in all other ways I'm extremely happy with the nursery. I just find this woman very abrupt at times.

I feel like I ought to say something, but don't want to accidentally create a bad atmosphere for ds1 neither do I want to look a prize prat and overprotective mother for bursting into tears at her because my precious baby has been slighted.

Dh thinks this will be the first of many, and that ds1 will need to learn that some people are dismissive without taking it to heart and I sort of agree with him, but feel 4 is much much younger than I would have expected him to have to learn that lesson!

moondog Fri 06-May-05 09:33:52

I think (actually I *know!) that some people who spend a great deal of time with young children can be really odd when adults are around.
If she runs a good show,chances are that she is much more relaxed and loving with them in the day.

GeorginaA Fri 06-May-05 09:57:28

Yes, I'm sure she is. (Well, I hope she is!)

\link{link:\picture of my boy in his costume}

GeorginaA Fri 06-May-05 09:58:43

Argh! try again

baka Fri 06-May-05 09:59:17

wow what a great costume. I've bookmarked it t show my thomas mad son later on- I'm impressed!

Hulababy Fri 06-May-05 09:59:55

Wow! Fab costume Did you make it? He looks great in it - very proud

GeorginaA Fri 06-May-05 10:01:47

I did Was regretting starting such a huge project about half hour in though!!!! Hopefully it'll be a good toy for a couple of weeks before it disintegrates too...

foxinsocks Fri 06-May-05 10:02:24

happy b'day mini georgina (I too am a Taurus!)

I might say something - perhaps along the line of your son needing lots of encouragement. But as it's only one term maybe you could live with it (though I would probably be in tears as well!). Do the other teachers give him lots of praise?

Personally, I think 4's a bit young to be learning that adults can be dismissive. I think kids need loads of praise at that age! It makes me cross and sad just thinking of your little ds in his unappreciated Thomas costume.

assumedname Fri 06-May-05 10:02:30

GeorginaA - that's a fantastic costume! Brilliant work!

Do you think the Head thought that some of the other kids might be upset that their costumes weren't as good and that's why she reacted in that stupid way?

marthamoo Fri 06-May-05 10:02:50

What a fantastic costume! My ds2 (3) is very impressed

They do have to learn that not everyone will be lovely - but not at 4, and not from a teacher! As he only has another half term to go I would probably leave it. The Head will probably be as dismissive of your feelings as she was of ds's costume. Rotten cow. She was probably just jealous 'cos her Mum never made her a good costume like that.

Marina Fri 06-May-05 10:10:05

That's a super costume for birthday boy Georgina, well done you.
I would second moondog's comments, we had a Head of Nursery who was just like yours. We fumed sometimes, more than once went home in tears, and know other parents did too. But she managed a really great nursery and all the children loved her.
It's London Week at ds' school and they have gone dressed in themed fancy dress. As they arrived, several staff (including the male PE teacher dressed as Boudicca) were around to make a big fuss of all the children and the atmosphere was really jolly. for you, but I'd try and put it behind you. I expect there was a tinge of jealousy, as MM says.
We all think he looks FABULOUS.

GeorginaA Fri 06-May-05 10:11:47

LOL actually, I was very impressed there was a huge range of great costumes... probably ds1's was the biggest though, so I can see it being a bit awkward and getting in the way for the day! That was what he wanted to be though, so that's what he got

I'm just going to heap him with lots of praise and dive into making this afternoon as fun as possible for him I think. I've been thinking about it, and I think if I do comment (of course, well out of earshot of anyone else) then it'll just be giving more weight to the silly woman's words. I want to be able to give an example to my son that it's possible to brush off opinions that don't match our own self-perception (a skill I never really learned, but I can be a good actress when needs be!).

Twiglett Fri 06-May-05 10:13:55

talk to her georgina - it sounds wierd to be honest and she cannot be aware that she is acting in this way

whymummy Fri 06-May-05 10:16:18

that's fab georgina,no wonder he was sooo proud and that woman sounds like a right bitch

ninah Fri 06-May-05 10:20:20

I would certainly say something, if not now then when ds leaves, so that she is aware how she comes across and thinks twice about doing this to other children.

Blu Fri 06-May-05 10:20:21

You sound v v wise, Georgina.

The nursery Head sounds v v insensitive - or too preoccupied with her own bustling-ness to stop and giave attention to other people's feelings. If the right opportunity and words come to you, you could say something, but i'm not sure how i would put it, myself.

Anyway, HUGE congratulations - the outfit is a triumph, and I hope you enjoy his birthday.

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