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Great start at preschool, horrible setback

(7 Posts)
Marabou Mon 15-Dec-14 02:06:32

I'm really quite torn and unsure about what to do and hopefully someone might have some wise words..

DS, 3.7, started at preschool some 2.5 months back and was doing brilliantly. He was excited to go in from day 1, never cried or anything once and I often had to fight with him at pick-up time, as he wanted to stay and play. I had been a bit reserved about it all, as it's a new private preschool and I wasn't convinced about them having hired a qualified teacher. Just to give a background, we will home educate DS at least for the first few years, because we're not happy to let him start school at 4 years old and not big fans on formal learning at a young age. Anyway, we had been a bit concerned about having a teacher in preschool and whether this would mean a lot of formal learning. It turned out the teacher was really lovely and quickly put our minds at ease about her "methods" etc. and DS formed a very good relationship with her quickly.

Unfortunately, the teacher got a better position elsewhere and left. The preschool manager said they are trying to recruit another qualified teacher to replace the previous one and they now have a temporary person, who is level 3-qualified (I'm not entirely sure what that means), but with some experience in Reception class. My experience with the temporary person has not been very good. Firstly, the first time I met her, she made no effort whatsoever to speak to me or DS when I dropped him off. At pickup time, she briefly introduced herself, but seemed to not really remember how DS's day had been. The next day, when I came to pick DS up, he was teary eyed, but that time I thought it may have been because a girl he likes playing with had been picked up earlier than him. However, the day after I came to pick up a crying DS and he kept saying how a certain boy had been calling him names. When I asked the "teacher" what had happened, she just very casually told me "oh yeah he keeps calling others that sort of things all the time and has to be put in timeout.." And that "yes your DS has been quite sad today crying on and off.." The following week when trying to drop DS off, he just froze at the door and refused to go in. I couldn't bear leaving him, as was crying hysterically so I took him home. The Next day and the day after that I stayed there with him for about an hour at a time. He refused to join in the first day, but was ok the second day, but wouldn't let me leave.

What I'm most upset about is that when I was there with DS "observing", the "teacher" was to my mind extremely disinterested: when she was doing "carpet-time" with the kids where they were learning phonics etc. she was speaking in a very "boring" voice, yawning, kept forgetting the words to the songs and generally didn't seem to care. It was clear her mind was somewhere else and some of her replies to the children were just plain rude. I was quite shocked that she didn't even seem to care enough to put on an act for the parent (me) sitting there. The worst thing was, when at one point I attempted to leave and DS was crying alone in a corner, she didn't say a word to him or take notice of him in any way. I was observing the situation hidden behind the door until I finally just walked in, took DS by the hand and said I was taking him home at which point she offered a rather weak "Aww he didn't want to stay then did he..?".

All in all I am very disappointed, as DS had such a nice start and was really enjoying the stimulation and this incident seems to have ruined it. I'm really unsure as to what to do. It's not necessary that DS attends, as we're going to do HE anyway, but I wouldn't want him to have a bad taste in his mouth, as we do plan to put him in school when he's a bit older. At the same time I have a feeling the preschool are having a hard time finding a qualified teacher and are now leaning towards keeping the current temporary one. If she stays I don't feel comfortable leaving my DS there having wittnessed her style. There is another nursery similar distance from us, but I don't know if it's a good idea to change at this stage..

Sorry for the long post..

bearwithspecs Mon 15-Dec-14 20:30:39

He has obviously been unsettled by the change of teacher. Maybe the new one is not quite as good - these things do happen. If you are not planning to send him to school I am not sure of the merits of getting him used to a school type environment by leaving him there? He may grow to love it then be miserable when you don't send him to school with all his friends?
Can I ask if you have looked round schools and applied at all? Reception is not about formal learning - mainly play based and amazing. Shy children by December are on stage doing their Nativities having a great time !

BackforGood Sat 20-Dec-14 20:50:29

A Level3 qualification will be a BTEC or NVQ qualification, not a teaching one.

I agree with Bear though - not sure why you'd want him to go to pre-school at 3, but not Reception at 4.....they both follow the same curriculum.

Pico2 Sat 20-Dec-14 21:43:17

DD's nursery has various level 3 qualified staff, along with some qualified teachers/degree level qualified staff and level 2 qualified staff. Level 3 seems to be the minimum for being a room leader. I don't think that they particularly need a qualified teacher and it can be detrimental in some settings as qualified teachers can have higher ratios of children to staff (they don't do this at DD's nursery). I think that some of the more qualified staff do know more of the theory in what they are teaching. But actually the important thing at this age is warm, friendly, engaged staff. Your DS's "teacher" doesn't seem to be any of those things.

Continuity of staffing is also important. It seems rather odd to me that they have hired someone so key on a temporary basis. I would much rather they got an engaged level 3 room leader on a permanent basis than a temp while they looked for a qualified teacher. And if my recent experience of trying to hire temp staff (in an unrelated field) is anything to go by, you may well not get the same quality of applicants as you would for a permanent post.

summerlovingliz Sat 20-Dec-14 21:59:19

Tricky situation but I would not leave him somewhere that you are not 100% happy with, she sounds awful to not even comfort him when he was upset as you were leaving. I would make an appointment to see whoever is in charge and share all of this with them. If your not satisfied with their response get him out

stepup Thu 29-Jan-15 00:31:50

Awww no how horrible for you,there is nothing worse seeing someone work with children who doesn't seem to like children.maybe get in touch with your local he groups so he can socialise else where xx

Blueundies Thu 29-Jan-15 13:28:21

Op what did you decide?

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