4th May was Asher first day in this new preschool. Probably the first time in 1.5years without punishment, exclusion, scolding, labelling and complaint. He told me he felt the difference, not the setting or structures but the people in the school. Look at the children, they were not treated as robot, of course I understand during lesson time, kids must be seated. In this school, I see less people/children picking on him, kids were not shouted at to “behave”. To me, it is perfectly fine to be carefree, it is ok to be children. Stop talking about training them to be resilient, the ex preschool environment and teachers are worse than some mean students in primary school.
To be honest, I know it is not easy to handle him but to know that the teachers actually sit down with his new classmates to talk about him and they are all willing to help him, I’m speechless, truly grateful. The kids are sensible, of course they can’t really understand at time when he acts up but with the help from teachers, it makes such a big different. It is very important to facilitate when comes to play and learn in groups, the teachers in ex school told me frankly that my son was being excluded* for some activities in school, just for safety issues. Safety? It is not safe and never safe ONLY when you let the children play on their own in groups without supervision and facilitation, enough said. *for more than 3 semesters, he was not allowed to be in the garden but mixed with the N2 children in the foyer because they couldn’t talkback. So sorry that I do not respect the discipline methods used in this school, every child is different and when one method doesn’t work for all, they have to change. Sadly, it is not going to happen.
My last conversation with the ex P, I said to her in pretty harsh tone, “He has to know that not all schools and teachers are like that. He needs to learn that he doesn’t have to be angry all the time to express his dismay, not everyone ignores him all the time. ”
Actually, me too. For most of the children I mingled with in his ex preschool, at one point, I was pretty disappointed with my own child. Why is my son like that? Why can’t he behave? Why is he angry again? Why is he not respecting his teachers? Why is he not able to mix well with friends? Why are the N2 complaining about him?
Now that “we are in a new school”, kids here are less bossy (even teachers claimed that they are), they are not picking on him, so he doesn’t really get the attention from his inappropriate behaviour, which is helpful in managing his behaviour. I’m exceptionally touched by this k2 boy called Marvin, who seems to understand better and he guides Asher in every ways he can. Also a preschooler, but a soft spoken one with big and kind heart. So, yes, not all the schools and teachers are like that.
On the other hand, I’m glad there is actually 2 ways communication between me and the new teachers. As I walked him to school daily, at least I know his mood remains positive as he enters the school, without anyone triggering the button. How about the communication between me and the ex school? I received calls from school frequently and each time I saw the caller’s number, I started shaking because I knew it was definitely, 100% a complaint call from teacher. In the conversation, I left with nothing to reply, she used words like deliberately, no one provoke him. So, was she trying to say I was the one who taught him all these and sent him to school to drive everyone mad? Really, I did not know how was I suppose to say or what to say before hanging up.
In the new school, I shared many things including my worries with the teachers, they are full of empathy, I am very grateful for that, now we just want to help him and get him back on the right path, teach him the right way to express his emotions and not left feeling bullied and helpless. In the past, I guess things all went wrong the moment he got onto the bus. The Aunty labelled him and complained about him to the teacher right in front of him. Tell me if this consider bully? Words are hurtful, is this the way to build rapport? Why only one driver was manage to be his friend but not others? It’s funny to see people 6-10x of his age fighting with him. Why can’t step back a little and see if you can change him? Try recalling how well/bad were you when you’re 5/6yo? Was everyone so harsh on you?
Now I walk him to school daily and the teachers take turn to speak to me, we try different ways and share what works the best. Imagine my joy when I picked him up yesterday, the teacher was all smiley and told me,” we have not heard any screaming for today.” For the first time after so long, I heard something “good” about my child. Back home, Asher told me he did not use his Calming Jar for days too. I thank the teacher for their efforts, to talk to him and discipline him, almost the same way I do. They accept the use of Calming Jar, Timer and Rewards Book to help him to regulate and encourage him, make a big great deal in every single thing he did good. (This is extremely important when telling kids what is appropriate behaviour) On some days, they even brought him to the garden to help him to regulate his mood. It is very easy to give up on him, for those who have experienced with him will understand what I mean. I remember clearly after school excursion in Feb, I sent a long thank you email with some ways/solutions on handling him in school to his ex teacher, all I got in the reply was “Noted your email. I will convey your thanks to Ms Elly and Zhang Loashi.” The teacher completely missed out whatever things I shared with her, she didn’t even bother to mention if she is going to try the method. I told the ex P about it and she wasn’t surprised at all, saying that this particular teacher treats everyone “the same way”, well I guess that includes her. Some people said the worst feeling is knowing you did the best you could and it still wasn’t best enough. (Don’t get me started with the spelling results or this post will be my longest ever.) Kids at such young age know where is your “stardard” and “benchmark”? When you stop praising a kid and all he gets are scolding and punishments, can you still expect him to think that he is good kid? He has negative thought, who is the culprit?!
From my understanding, the teachers in the ex schools are not working closely to one another, too much of conflicts to even put the children’s welfare as first priority. Some good teachers are leaving, some untamed teachers stay, one teacher (from the school) told me someone is responsible for what had happened to my son and I should seek legal advice from a lawyer. I didn’t and not intend to do so, for those who had emailed me regarding the ex preschool, our experience was bad, real bad. It may not be nice for me to share the report from the doc after her visit to his school in my blog, but I can tell you, those who have read it were shock that such preschool do exist in Singapore. (Including the doc and HOD who is in charge of Asher’s case, she even asked me how did I find this school and what’s the philosophy of the school.)
This was done by Asher on the 5th day about his new school. He was on half day school for first week so we had some time at home in the afternoon, he drew the school and wrote a few words about the school. From can’t remember the school name to tell me he wants to go back to school and stay overnight there, it is so obvious that he loves this new school, where the teachers make efforts to know him. On the 7th day of school, he came home with names and told me he wanted to marry this girl.
Teachers, never ever forget what is the purpose of you becoming an educator, you may not know how powerful you are in shaping the children especially the very young one in the school but let me remind you, these young children are innocent and pure, some of them may turn you into a monster or bring out the worst in you but the remarkably rare one will bring out the most of everything in you, including the best!
Side note: school name is not enclosed for safety reason and I’m not affiliate to this school. I can’t share much on their academic structure or syllabus as enrolling my son with this school is mainly for social emotional support.