There’s a storm ahead!

Published October 1, 2012 by thefamilyof5

My little baby girl, or should I say whirlwind is kicking up a storm in school.

Since back when she was in reception I’ve had concerns about how she was handling school. She’d come out of school ‘high’ and looking frazzled, she’d cause chaos at tea time and end up falling soundly asleep into her bed at a time too early for most! I often asked her teachers if they had any problems, if they were finding her difficult, if she was manic all day. ‘Don’t worry she’s fine’ they all told me. ‘She did try and mess with a plug one day, and we do have to sit her on the mat besides the teacher because she’s disruptive, and she has been swearing, but she’s fine’ they said. ‘being disruptive, swearing, messing about’!!! this is not fine and I told them that, and they brushed my concerns aside.

Now we’re in to year 1 and I’m seeing the same pattern again, she’s coming out of school exhausted, looking frazzled and that huge chip on her shoulder is back.

We had a CAF meeting friday morning to go over big girls needs, I entered the meeting and immediately said I wanted baby girl’s needs to be included in all future CAF meetings as I’m worried about her at school.
Seems I was right to worry, I collected a guilty looking baby girl after school friday. I asked her if she’d been good, her face told me she hadn’t. I took her with me to see her teacher and then stood listening to her informing me they’d had a very difficult week with. They told me of not listening, not doing, being rude, chatting, fidgeting, messing about and generally being disruptive. It had been so bad that the teacher was sending baby girl to see the deputy head Monday! I was shocked, but more so because this was the first I was hearing of it and even then it was only because I’d asked!

Aside from all of this, its clear to me that baby girl isn’t coping with school very well and school don’t seem to understand that she needs support with this. She isn’t your typical 5yr old that can rationalise and choose and cope. She’s a 5yr old that’s been trapped in a whirlwind of a life. She can’t regulate her own behaviour, so once she becomes over hyper aroused she loose’s control and perspective, she can’t see why chatting to her friends would be a bad thing, she can’t sit still, she doesn’t hear what’s going on, she can’t hold her pencil properly because her hands are so jittery let alone write with it, she just can’t focus. They need to calm the storm within her and help her to regain control so that she can focus, so that she can see what’s happening and understand what’s going on around her.

I do this for her at home. We have a calm predictable, strict routine, there are boundaries, they’re firm and inflexible and she knows this. I make sure she stood still when I’m talking to her, I remind her to look at me and to open her ears and listen, I prompt her to remain focused, I re-engage with her regularly, I remind her of what she’s supposed to be doing, I remind her that she’s a good girl and that she is loved. I prevent her from failing rather than allowing her to fail because I know she can’t cope with failure.

School is a scary place for her, there’s too much going on around her, she has too much freedom, too much choice, too much expectation to cope with (same principle as why sticker charts don’t work, they have an opposite effect. She thinks she’s going to fail anyway, she can’t bare the pressure/expectation, so she fails as quickly as possible). She just can’t cope.

Every time her teacher tell’s her off she’s just reinforcing her belief that she’s bad and will fail. They need to catch her before she falls, not expect her to be able make the right choice. Eventually she’ll learn she can trust them to take care of her and that school is a safe place. When she no longer feels anxious in school, she’ll see that the world is a good place and that she IS good!

I thought I’d show her teacher today how to calm baby girl, how to connect with her and get her to focus. I took her in to her class this morning rather than leaving her at the playground like we’re supposed to. I helped settle her in, she calmly hung up her bag and coat and got her lunch box to where it needed to be and settled to her desk ready for the day ahead.
However, her teacher was away today so instead of the calm I’d prepared her for, she was hurried through a corridor full of hyper kids and into the class next door with more hyper kids for registration, before returning to her class to be left for the rest of the day with a teacher she didn’t know and who doesn’t know her. And I’m not even going to talk about the fire drill that took place a few hours later. I felt stressed out after only being in school for 10 minutes, how do they expect any 5 year old to cope with that mayhem all day let alone a scared one!

Now how do I get school to understand all of this………………….*sighs


7 comments on “There’s a storm ahead!

  • You probably read my post last week about my 5 yr old and school. So, so frustrating. They do not understand a child who is different. And even worse, it seems they can’t be bothered to care. Have you considered a homeschool or private school option? I hope you can figure something out soon for her sake and yours.

    • I did read it yes, it so hard on our little kids isn’t it.
      I have considered home schooling but I’d worry she’d suffer socially, she’s a very sociable little girl. Private schooling just isn’t financially possible though.
      Thanks for your kind words again 🙂

      • I know what you mean about private school – it’s definitely not cheap. Don’t throw out the homeschool idea just yet. There are homeschool associations where homeschooled kids get together to socialize, go on field trips, and more. Also you could just do it for one year or so to help her settle, then go back. I don’t know how homeschooling is accepted in your area – some places in the states even let the kids join a regular class one day a week, or just for art and music or other arrangements like that. It may be worth exploring anyway. Blessings!

  • Have you talked to the head teacher at all? We had to do this a couple of weeks ago as we didn’t want a repeat of last year. Mini is also in year 1, although his behaviour is totally opposite in that he is considered a perfect pupil (but is anxious about school at home, and his behaviour is uncontrollable). We spoke to his reception teacher but she just never got it, so we’ve gone straight to the top this time.
    They’ve set up a home/school book – different to his homework diary, where school and I can communicate i.e there was a firedrill today, Ms H offered to hold Mini’s hand so he felt safe, but he was happy with his friend, Mini has done x,y and z today – he was really good at number bonds.
    All this is so I know what’s going on – otherwise he doesn’t tell me. It then means I can talk to him about it, praise him, and also work out what might have been a trigger for any behaviour I subsequently get at home.
    They have also allocated a teaching assistant to keep an eye on him specifically. He can go to her if anxious or worried. She is the one who writes in the book, and she informs me in advance of anything that she thinks might worry him or affect him.
    The book also contains a visual timetable with photos of all the staff who work with Mini – teachers, teaching assistants, dinner ladies etc so he always knows who he’s going to have in advance. They amend it when they know there will be a change.
    It’s been sooo helpful.
    School also use a tiered system for praise – the sad side, happy side and super happy side. School are under strict instruction to never ever put Mini on the sad side, and we are working with them on how to improve the star charts they use for learning new words – he gets so upset if he ‘fails’ or doesn’t get a star when the other kids do…

    • Thank you for your comment. School have implemented a home/school diary this week, it doesnt sound anywhere near as ‘nice’ as yours though, ours is just an empty text book with her name written on the front, must have taken lots of effort for them to produce eh 😉

    • Oh man, yours sounds like mine! Perfect little cherub at school…but at home it’s a whole different story. So awesome that your school is understanding and offering that support – mine is just clueless and thinks that because she is “well-behaved” that they’re doing a great job there. Oh the joys…

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