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