Thursday, September 11, 2008

school woes

Liam's first full day of Kindergarten was Tuesday. He wasn't thrilled about having to go back after lunch and being gone "all day", as he refers to it. We were a bit late getting there, so he lined right up with the other kids and went in. Yesterday though, we were earlier so he'd have a chance to play. Although up til now Simon and I have been staying with him til he goes in, at lunch parents have to leave kids at the gate (the Kindergarten has a separate building with a separate playground area that's enclosed by a fence and gate). He said he was okay at first, but then started crying "...but not like a baby with my mouth, just with my eyes into my arm." He said the teacher had him go and take a drink and he felt a little bit better.

So on the way to school today, I asked him if he wanted me to stay til he went in or if he was okay if Simon and I left when we got there. He said he wanted us to stay. Well as soon as we got in the gate, the teacher came rushing over to me to say that I wasn't allowed to stay.

(Last week during the "progressive entry" most of the parents who walk their kids stayed til they went in, but Tuesday and yesterday I was the only one.)

I ignored the teacher long enough to take Liam over to one of the boys in his class and ask for him (in french) if Liam could play with them. Then I had to say a quick goodbye before the teacher kicked me out. I talked to her a bit as we were walking out, but could hardly speak cause I was afraid I'd start crying in front of her. I already get a really critical vibe from her, like she thinks I coddle or baby Liam... but cmon! He's only five! And can't speak the language!

So after having promised him I'd stay with him, I just left him there. I've been crying about it all morning (I'm not discounting the fact that I didn't sleep much last night and am clearly hormonal) and really don't know if I'll be able to make him go back this afternoon if he doesn't want to go.

There are four or five Kindergarten classes there, so about 80 kids all together... not one of which he can speak to. I've heard there are two other boys who don't speak french, but they're in another class (together, nice for them) so I don't know who they are.

Normally Liam is the type of boy to walk up to a group of kids he doesn't know and start playing, with very little encouragement or help. Well on the playground (even with me and Simon there), he'd just walk around by himself watching the other kids play together. I realize that some kids prefer to play by themselves, but I know that Liam really wants to be playing with the other boys. He's had several small meltdowns at home in the last week and I know he's just overwhelmed by school. He still insists that he likes it though (although not being gone "all day").

I just really don't know what to do about the teacher. I really wanted Liam to be at a school that encourages parents to be involved, not one that makes you feel looked down on for wanting to be there with your child. Liam is normally very independant, so the fact that he's having a hard time being left at school shows me just how difficult it is for him. So I really don't care what the teacher thinks about my parenting. It's Liam's needs that concern me... not hers.

So prayers for Liam would be great. And for me to be able to talk to the teacher calmly (maybe I should just write a note!) and let her understand that he's not being silly or clingy or anything else - his behaviour is really out of the ordinary and I'm not just going to ignore it.

I'm very anxious to pick him up and talk to him about it... 45 mins to go.


  1. Oh no.. poor guy! I don't understand how anyone could think that a kid wouldn't need some extra encouragement from parents in situations like that. Going from spending all day with mom to being gone all day right away is a big change! You'd think a kindergarden teacher would be able to understand that... plus language barriers. Is there any way to get Liam switched into the other class with the other two boys? How did lunch go? We'll be praying for him!

  2. Liam is such a brave little guy. I can't imagine having to spend "all day" with new people that I couldn't talk to! And I can understand why it would be heart wrenching for you. I know from Toby's preschool that teachers seem to have the philosophy of "short goodbyes, long hellos" to make is easier to make the break in the mornings. I'll be praying that Liam will make a friend! It will be cool to look back at the end of the school year and see how much he has grown in his French and in his friendships!


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