Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The next step..

I am still angry at myself. Angry that I trusted my youngest in the care of the preschool she was in. I need to work through my feelings, but every session with a psychologist, more and more comes out about how incompetently everything was handled. So if you read this, take from my experience and if you see any of these signs in a preschool, RUN. Find another placement as soon as possible.

I am not saying my child is easy. She is my tough one. She is clever but emotional. She in strong willed and very active. If she can control a situation, she will. Her behaviors were not appropriate, but should have been easily controlled.

Every Preschool should have a behavior plan. It should lay out what the steps are for unwanted behaviors. For example, hitting or biting the first time will be a time out, second a time out and all home, third a suspention. This lets parents know there is a clear policy. If not, it is at the whim of the director on who will be worked with and who will be dismissed outright. It also gives teachers a tool on how to redirect negative behaviors and correct the situation. Some teachers, especially in a state where you do not need more than a high school education to work in a preschool classroom, do not have the tools in their toolbox to work with all children. A competent director should be able to help them find the tools they need.

Never, ever, ever let a teacher or director  try to hand you a diagnosis. If anything like Aspergers, Autsim, etc comes out of their mouths to describe your child, know that what they are doing is unethical, and if in a public school it is illegal. If they do push testing on you, tell them nicely that you need them, as a professional, to observe your child in the classroom and fill out a Connor or Brief-P. If they say they are unwilling or do not have the time, they are unwilling to do their job. Well, I am hoping that what happened to us was because the director was lazy. Anyway, no one is qualified to diagnosis your child who is not a psychologist. Some people will attend a seminar and automatically start taking it upon themselves to start labeling people. You know your child better than anyone else. Instead of trying to figure out what the catalyst of the behaviors were, I was told I needed to start testing for Serena THE FIRST WEEK OF SCHOOL. I made a behavior analysis for them to use in the classroom, because as a teacher I was taught that everything needs to be documented, and you, as the adult, can modify and control the behavior if you understand what the catalyst is. If you do not get to the base of a problematic behavior, it will get worse. Our job as adults is to guide children, at home and in the classroom. Not all kids are easy. If you don't feel up to the job, maybe you are in the wrong profession. Trust me, I was a teacher, I know that you sometimes get really difficult kids. Sometimes it is hard to find out what is the catalyst for a behavior, but hey, that's part of teaching.

When the teachers went to the director for help, she, as the educated professional in the building, should have been able to guide them.

If your child does not like going to school, try to find out why. For us, we found out that Serena felt her teachers hated her. She overheard the director and a teacher discussing her (yup, how professional is that, talking about a child in front of that child) sometime in the first 2 weeks of school. This and the reactions to her behaviors led to a lot of frustration, and she took that frustration out in the classroom. This explains why her behaviors were limited to that environment. Children need an environment where they not only feel safe, but also liked as a person. At 4, what would you do if you felt the adults hated you as a person?

Also, make sure the staff is willing to put things in writing. In a public school,we have to document everything. It makes it easier for everyone involved.

Now we are dealing with other moms, who I really don't know but went to the school, asking about Rena because the director told them what happened. It sucks having to explain yes, we were expelled but no, Serena does not have any of the issues she is telling people she has. This is the most unprofessional aspect of the whole situation.

We were there this year for barely 5 weeks. 5 weeks. That amazes me. To help us all heal, we also left the church. I don't care if it is almost an hour drive, we are now attending the nearest Orthodox Church. I am Orthodox, the girls are Orthodox. My husband is Lutheran, and we thouht the church was a nice compromise. But I can not keep going into that building. The pastor, who was at the meeting and knew we were hurt, never bothered to call or ask if we were OK after the fact. The expultion meeting was unnessasary anyway. If the director was competent, she would have had a behavior plan. Barring that, she could have written us a letter, handed it to me that day and not involved the pastor. In the meeting, she said she talked to "professionals" who told her she was not equipped to handle a special needs child like Serena. She was the one who decided to diagnosis Serena as special needs. We had barely started testing when she threw her out.

Unfortunately, doing what is right is not always what is easy, and when you work with children, especially young children, the damage done can have a lifelong effect on that youth. A good preschool is willing to work with parents. A good preschool has a plan in place that outlines for parents what will happen when there are behavior issues. A good preschool keeps high ethical standards. A competent director can guide their staff to handle most any situation. A competent director does not recommend testing for children without thorough observation. A competent director keeps good paperwork.  A competent director can handle situations within the preschool.

As a teacher, I kept Matthew 18:12-14 in mind.

“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.”

It feels like in the case though, the sheppardess decided to kick the sheep over the cliff to lighten her own load because it was the easiest way to deal with a situation from her perspective.


  1. I am so sorry that you've had to deal with this. It's unfair and it stinks. Healing prayers!

  2. Ugh, that sucks. How unprofessional of them. Prayers and hugs for you all.... especially Serena.

  3. You are SO right. This is just horrific treatment and poor professional conduct. Confidentiality is paramount! She should not have said a word to any one about anything. I feel for you and will keep you and Serena in my prayers.

  4. My heart goes out to your whole family, especially Serena. What an awful thing to experience at four. You will be in my prayers that this new school will work with you, not against you and have the confidentiality that professionals should have.