The reason for this blog is to help answer questions that parents are wanting answered. At times parents are not sure how to go about asking their child's teacher or school certain things. There are many reasons for this be it they don't want to be "one of those parents" that look like they are being difficult. They don't want to make things more difficult for their child in the classroom. Whatever the reason may be this blog will attempt to guide parents in how and what they need to do to not be "one of those parents"!
I will start with a conversation I had recently. One of my good friends rang me one Friday afternoon in regards to her son who has just started kindergarten this year. We had had a lot of conversations up to the lead up of him going to school as he is a little immature for his age and doesn't speak much. He is however a big kid so there would be no point keeping him back for a year otherwise he would stand out even more the following year. Anyway setting the picture my friend who I will refer to as Barb was already quite worried about how little Stan would do at school.
When I recieved the call Barb seemed quite upset as she told me how Stan had gone missing at school. At the particular school that he goes to they have floating classes for the first few weeks. All the students are split into groups and given a colour. As Barb waited outside his classroom on the Friday afternoon she peered into the classroom to take a sticky beak. She couldn't however see Stan. That was OK he may just be somewhere she couldn't see him in the room. The next thing along came a teacher with Finn from another classroom. Oh she thought he must of needed to go to the toilet or something. When he got to his classroom door the teacher he had for the day went "Oh Stan where did you get to?"
The disturbing things about this were:
a) The teacher hadn't realised she had a missing child
b) The other class he had been in didn't realise she had an extra child....who's name tag had a different colour on it??
The teachers then that afternoon called her into the classroom for a meeting. AAt the meeting they didn't attempt to explain how long he had been missing or say how it had happened. Instead they laughed it off and began to say they thought he should be assessed because he doesn't listen. Now that may well be true however he is only 4 and he had been at that time at school for a day and a half. Pretty quick assessment I think!
Barb wanted to know what she should do. So this was my advice.
She needed to contact the principal and voice her concerns about Stan going missing and an explanation of how long he had been gone for and that she needs reassurance that it wont happen again. Barb also needed to make sure that she said that she was happy for him to be assessed as she is happy for teachers to do what they believe is best for her son. She needed to emphasis that she would do anything for her sons.
I told her to make sure she took all emotion out of what she said (which is not an easy thing to do!) and keep to the facts. In doing this Stan would instantly be on the radar of the school.
The outcome of all this was good. Barb decided instead of making a meeting with the principal she would instead send an email. In doing this she was able to take the emotion out and didn't miss out on anything she wanted to say. She sent the email on Saturday afternoon and the principal promptly replied easing all her concerns.
The good thing about Barb voicing her concerns was that even though Stan had not left the school another child may have not been as sensible. Apparently what had happened was that the kinder kids were in classes being taken for a tour around the school. One teacher who wasn't Stans but has a very big voice said "Ok kindergarten lets go". Stan therefore wanting to do the right thing and not get into trouble stood up and followed her. This was an hour or so before the end of school....Anyway it all worked out Ok in the end.