Editor’s Note: This incidents in the post occurred between Sept 2010 – October 2010
Summer’s over, “summer camp” at daycare has just ended and we are starting to get ready to return to normal classes. This meant Pre-Kindergarden for PT.
The decision to put PT in Pre-K was hard. Every year at about December or January PT would “get” the curriculum. Oh, I see you there, Mr. “They Don’t Have Curriculum in Daycare”. Actually at PT’s center they do. He could count, started writing his name, could cut a straighter line that I could, and knew is basic colors by the time he was 4. He turned 4, 1 week after his transition to Pre-K, and THAT is what made it hard.
See, at daycare there is the Pre-School, also know as the 4-year old room. Then there is Pre-K, which also had 4-year olds along with a few 5-year olds. The decision was tough. We talked to his teachers… His ever-changing teachers.
See PT went through 4 teachers that year. One got married and moved away. One was pregnant and when on leave, one came and got moved to another room, then finally he for the last four month of the “school year” he had a stable teacher.
So we talked with all of his three-year old room teachers, and the Pre-K teacher. Mr. Pre-K was very excited to have PT. He, like the rest of us, thought that PT was just a very rambunctious boy, and that he could help get him ready for kindergarten.
Then, one week into the new school year, with no notice from the center management, I need a sign on the easel in the lobby that today is Mr. Pre-K’s last day. Now to say I was completely without notice wasn’t true. Thanks to my wonderful wife, who happens to work there, I had the inside scoop. But, the scoop was Mr. Pre-K didn’t know what he was doing. See, the local transit agency cut a huge amount bus routes, and parking in the office building the daycare is in is $22.00/day. Yes you heard me $22.00/day. That means monthly parking is as much as the principal on my mortgage. So Mr. Pre-K had to figure out what he was going to do. A position at a center with free parking, that was closer to his home, opened up so transferred. And, all the parents found out on his last day. So, yet again with another new teacher.
This new teacher, we will call her Ms. Pre-K #1, seemed nice enough. But we had some problems. From day one.
We started getting reports of “bad days”. Ranging from him hitting or aggressively grabbing other students around the shoulders, neck and head. We also had reports that he couldn’t sit still. He was always at a table, next to the teacher or getting yelled at.
This went on for a several weeks, then it was time for fall conferences. So of course, knowing that PT was having “bad days”, knowing that he didn’t want to go to school so he got yelled at by Ms. Pre-K #1, we went to his conference. We heard about every problem under the sun. We heard about behavior problems, academic problems, social problems… social problems? What the what, what?
See this one we had a hard time believing. Why? PT has been with the same group of kids since… oh… he was 8 weeks old. Yes, you heard 8 weeks old. He and his group were affectionately termed “lifers” by the assistant director of the center. We had not really heard of social issues in either the 2’s or 3’s so this was a bit of a shock. Come to think of it so were the academic issues. When we asked him to do the work at home, he had no problem. We couldn’t get him to sit for very long, but he did the work.
So we racked it up to too much teacher change. At about the end of October, we even had a chat with the center director to see if other teachers were having problems with Ms. Pre-K #1. Our conversations lead us to believe that while other parents were still toriked off about the last-minute switch, overall they liked her. The center director even though that PT’s problems might be related to too much teacher change over the last year. The only time he had a consistent teacher was in the two-year old room. We thought that was finally coming home to roost. So the center director agreed, but since I was recently diagnosed with ADHD (the in-attentive type), and we were seeing some of the same symptoms in him, the center director agreed to do some observation to see if it was Ms. Pre-K #1 or if something else was going on.
It is now Mid-November and the center director had done her observation, and we are having a meeting to discuss the results. I walk in her office and there is Ms. Pre-K #1 sitting down. I was a bit shocked. We had thought all along this was a teacher or “change” problem. What we heard astounded us. He couldn’t stop moving. He wanted desperately to pay attention, to take part, but he just couldn’t stop moving at all. Ms. Pre-K #1’s additional details backed it all up.
It would start small, with his hands, then grow from there, soon he was invading his neighbor’s space, or his hands turned into starships and he started blasting away and making noises. Then his neighbors would ask him to be quiet. At centers he was playing with a puzzle, literally bouncing all around trying to put the pieces together. He could get it together but he had to make a gross body movement after placing each piece. He couldn’t sit still like the other students and do it. They both qualified all this by saying, while he was exceedingly bright, he was still young.
I took one look at my wife, starred the center director in the eye, and said, “Am going to have to say the thing we are all thinking but no one wants to say?” They looked at me with a look of shock and horror and I said it, “he had ADHD doesn’t he?” I got the standard response, “well he has problems, but we don’t want to label him. Besides he is a little young and even if he did, I am not sure anyone would diagnose him.”
KJ and I knew. We had a problem an almost classic ADHD problem. The problem is we didn’t know what to do next….