4 Year Old Wild Thing In Playschool - Suggestions?

Lounge By margaretb Updated 30 Sep 2009 , 8:04am by margaretb

margaretb Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 4:13am
post #1 of 20

I was the parent helper at playschool yesterday, and one child was just wild. This is a class of 15 four year olds. We are in the basement of the Elks' hall, so in the door, down the stairs and around the corner is our area. On day one, he spent the entire day trying to escape -- running up the stairs and trying to climb the gate that they had locked to keep him from running away. Yesterday was day 3. At the start, the teacher (she does not have formal teaching or early childhood education -- 4 older kids of her own and she was the teacher last year) had him sitting on a stool beside her (all the other kids were on the rug on the floor in front of her). He would not sit for more than a couple seconds, then he was either trying to get behind her chair or running away. After I had put away their books (they read quietly when they first get there), I was watching her struggle to do her beginning routine while hanging onto this boy, so when he ran away, I caught him and held onto him and made him sit with me with the other kids. He struggled and scratched, but I held on. I told him if he wanted to sit by Mrs. M, I would let him go. So I let go and he tried to run away. Again told him that he could sit with Mrs. M, but it was his last chance, and he tried to run away, so I just held him. Wasn't sure what else to do. I told him, "too bad you didn't want to sit with Mrs. M. I'm a lot meaner than she is, and now you have to sit with me." I figured even if I didn't do any good, maybe he would appreciate the teacher more later. He did not calm down at all, although I noticed that even when he was kicking, he did not once kick any of the kids who were beside us. After that, it was time to go to the tables and practice printing and colouring, so I brought him there. After the kids were settled, Mrs. M told me to let him go, and he ran off. She went and brought him back, but he fought and ran off again, so we let him go, since he couldn't escape. After those activities it was free play (I tihnk normally she would have done things in a different order, but dealing with this child was taking a lot of time). About half way into that, she coaxed him down the stairs and got him working on a puzzle. He was a little skittish, but after building the puzzle, he pretty much settled down and stopped running away, and we both made sure the praise him up and make sure he had things to do, e.g. I had built a lego tower and I got him to build the roof for me. Mrs. M said that was a breakthrough. Apparently he had settled down for only the last 15 minutes on day 2 (this is a 2 1/2 hour class). What I observed was that he seems to be an impulsive kind of kid -- e.g. when they were done with their books and needed to move to a different area, he just threw his at the bookshelf -- but he is not a bad kid -- when the teacher asked him to pick up his book, he came back and handed it to me, and then even though I told him he could join the others, he stayed and picked up the rest of the books for me too. Hopefully things will go even better tomorrow and soon it will be just a regular part of his life.

So how would the experienced teachers handle this? As I mentioned, our playschool teacher doesn't have any formal training, so I think she was at a bit of a loss. I actually do have an education degree, but I only taught for less than two years in early elementary, so not much experience, and I was at a loss too. I might be the parent helper again right away (I offered to trade with a lady who has a 4 month old -- I would do her days early in the year and she would do some of mine at the end of the year when her child is older and not exclusively breastfed), and I would really appreciate some suggestions in case this behaviour isn't under control yet.

Margaret

19 replies
Texas_Rose Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 4:21am
post #2 of 20

My daughter is 4 and in pre-kinder. They've got a discipline system that's color coded...they start the day on green, if they get a warning, their clothespin is moved to the yellow zone, and if they get in trouble again, it goes to red. Then they don't get a smiley face in their folder, plus the teacher will write what they did wrong in the folder and the parent has to sign it. It actually works pretty well...my daughter goes on about who had their clip on yellow and why.

I'm not sure it would help with someone that rowdy though...it almost sounds like his mom needs to keep him home another year until his brain catches up with his body (the reason my eldest did not go to pre-k). Either that or she needs to be the parent helper every day.

margaretb Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 4:56am
post #3 of 20

I believe the mom stayed the entire first day, and on the second day I was waiting in my van and saw her leave right before the end, which I thought was odd at the time, but now realize that she must have stayed until those last few minutes when he was settled. So I suspect Mrs. M told her to try leaving right away and see how he does.

-Tubbs Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 2:12pm
post #4 of 20

It sounds to me like that kid has ADHD and needs specialized help. Not even a 'regular' teacher could manage a child like that, plus 14 other 4 year-olds. Hopefully he may 'settle down', but to me that's not normal behaviour for a 4 year old.

margaretb Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 2:42pm
post #5 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by TubbsCookies

It sounds to me like that kid has ADHD and needs specialized help.




Maybe, except once he settled down, he behaved normally. It will be interesting to see if he settles right in today. I think he came to playgroup a few times last year, now that I tihnk about it, and there wasn't anything that stood out about his behaviour, except his grandmother always kept close to him.

-Tubbs Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 2:50pm
post #6 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by margaretb

Quote:
Originally Posted by TubbsCookies

It sounds to me like that kid has ADHD and needs specialized help.



Maybe, except once he settled down, he behaved normally. It will be interesting to see if he settles right in today. I think he came to playgroup a few times last year, now that I tihnk about it, and there wasn't anything that stood out about his behaviour, except his grandmother always kept close to him.



Yeah, maybe too early to make judgements like that. Perhaps he's just been over-excited and had too much sugar before arriving. Time will tell.

Shelle_75 Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 4:01pm
post #7 of 20

It sounds to me like he's a normal 4-year-old boy. While I agree that there are legitimate cases of ADHD that need addressed, I hate how it seems that any time a young child, particularly boys, act like children, have "too much" energy, etc., they are immediately labeled as ADHD and drugged so that the grown-ups in their lives can handle them easier.


I agree, though, it does not sound like he is ready to be in a school setting.

sadsmile Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 4:25pm
post #8 of 20

Sounds like he needs to be disciplined better and told he needs to behave in class and listen to the teacher and do what he is told. I wouldn't label him anything but unruly. Watch a few episodes of Super Nanny and take on JoJo's loving authority and put your foot down. Kids will get away with what they are allowed. Kids have to be taught the rules of acceptable behavior. I am going through this with my two year old. Sounds like mom and dad really need to step it up at home too. There should be some standard of what is allowable and what will not be tollerated.

JodieF Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 4:58pm
post #9 of 20

I would be very VERY careful about physically restraining the child. I understand he was trying to run up the stairs. But, I do work in an elementary school, and restraining any child is a huge no no. We actually have to be specially trained in how a child may be restrained. It's a fireable offense.
I realize you're not in that setting, but there is still liability. If he has to be physically restrained then his parent needs to be there or he shouldn't be in the program.

Jodie

7yyrt Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 5:14pm
post #10 of 20

I am speaking as a long time preschool teacher, here.

Frankly it is not normal human behavior to sit for long periods of time, it needs to be trained into us. He may come from a more relaxed atmosphere, and this may all be new to him.

You must also keep in mind that to this child YOU ARE STRANGERS. He has most likely been taught not to trust strangers. He may be trying to get home where he feels comfortable and safe.

mbelgard Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 5:43pm
post #11 of 20

Does the teacher have a system in place to reward good behavior? I know that my kids have never been in a classroom where they don't have some form of disipline and treats for those who are good. Treats can be cheap toys, pencils, stickers or whatever. From what I've observed they are passed out in front of others so the kids who didn't behave are aware that other people are getting stuff. I know some kids just don't care but it might help.


He might still just be adjusting or not be ready for school yet.



Quote:
Originally Posted by JodieF

I would be very VERY careful about physically restraining the child. I understand he was trying to run up the stairs. But, I do work in an elementary school, and restraining any child is a huge no no. We actually have to be specially trained in how a child may be restrained. It's a fireable offense.
I realize you're not in that setting, but there is still liability. If he has to be physically restrained then his parent needs to be there or he shouldn't be in the program.

Jodie




At our school the only person who can physically handle kids who aren't cooperating is the security guard, he's a trained cop. I know that he gets called on often to carry kids from the lunch room and he has "regulars" that he goes deals with at least once a week.

prterrell Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 6:18pm
post #12 of 20

So basically he's trying to get out? It sounds to me like he's scared, maybe feels abandoned by his mom? Did he behave this same way when his mother was there? Honestly, if he wants to spend his entire time sitting in the stairs, I would let him. He will eventually get bored of that and come join in with the other activities of his own accord.

funcakes Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 8:51pm
post #13 of 20

Screech (sound of my soapbox coming out)

I have had several decades of early childhood teaching. I can not for the life of me understand why the government lets people without a degree in Early Childhood (not just teaching) be in charge of preschool. There are no written curriculums or teacher's guides. The teacher needs to KNOW all the developmental stages, appropriate developmentally correct practice, behavior modification and child psychology.
I have had many children with these behaviors and worse. I do not think I can help you with the complexity of what needs to be done in a post!
Since you asked, I would strongly urge you to change your choice of preschools to one that has a certified, experienced teacher. I have seen some loving people run preschools and they didn't do anything "wrong" but they missed hundreds of teachable moments. How sad.
Do NOT physically restrain the child. Teachers are taught specific ways to restrain a child and a teacher helper should never be encouraged to do it. The physical set up of the school itself, by your description, would be closed down in a stone cold minute if it was in our state.
I am sorry that this post sounds so negative and cruel, but once you witness a little child injured either physically or emotionally because the person in charge thought "anyone can be a teacher of young children, I know as much as the teachers who spent YEARS learning their craft-you might just understand my point.
If you want to explore wonderful ways to develop a classroom environment check out the website: www.responsiveclassroom.org
and read the materials and information from Society for Developmental Education-Jim Grant and Chip Wood have pearls of wisdom. I think you will then understand why I am horrified with the colored cards and the visible evaluation of each child's behavior. Come on guys-praise in public, correct in private.
OOOO-thank goodness my husband doesn't have the old colored card turning chart at home for me! It would just be my personal challenge to see how fast I could get him to flip those cards over-you want to see bad, well buddy here it is. And don't think some of those little preschoolers don't take that attitude too.
Okay-that was harsh, but I feel better now.

And to make an analogy Wallmart cake vs. Sugarshack's cake-Yes, knowledge and experience makes a difference in cakes and teaching.

Okay-you can flame me. I can take it. Go on, tell me you or someone you know is much better at teaching than I am and they don't have a degree or experience, they raised several of the most perfect human beings in the universe and they can fix your children too. I've actually heard it all before, and the one about how our education in EC warped us and people without teaching ed. can do it better. Yeah, that one never gets old. Thank goodness even though I have lost my memory, I've kept my sense of humor!

JodieF Posted 24 Sep 2009 , 11:39pm
post #14 of 20

I did want to add that in 11 years of working, I have seen a child physically restrained once and we have almost 500 kids, from preschool (age 3) thru 4th grade at our school. He was so out of control there was fear he was going to injure himself or another child. He was only restrained after everything else was tried and only long enough so he could calm enough to move to a quieter space.

Once thing I would try is to talk to the mom and find out what he truly loves (matchbox cars? bubbles? stickers?). Most children respond beautifully to positive reinforcements. You just need to find out what would entice him the most. A four year old is old enough to understand a simple plan of how to "earn" his rewards.

Good luck!

Jodie

prterrell Posted 25 Sep 2009 , 2:35am
post #15 of 20

funcakes makes some valid points, but from the OP's description, this sounds more like a mother's day out kind of program than an education preschool program.

Mike1394 Posted 25 Sep 2009 , 11:31am
post #16 of 20

Duct tape him to a rail.
icon_biggrin.gif
Mike

margaretb Posted 25 Sep 2009 , 2:14pm
post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike1394

Duct tape him to a rail.
icon_biggrin.gif
Mike




That would probably work, and in my town, would probably not cause too much grief!

This is an actual preschool. By the end, kids should be kindergarten ready (know their colours, shapes, letters, numbers, and some beginning printing skills). We do have to follow provincial guidelines (safety, supervision, cleanliness), and our playschool is inspected. We used to have a room in the elementary school, but last year we had to move, and there were only two places where the playschool could get space -- a small room available from a business for 8 times our previous rent, or the basement of the Elks Hall for 5 times our previous rent, although they are donating back about a quarter of the rent we pay. Our teacher gets paid under $15 an hour. When my oldest was in the preschool, we gave the teacher a raise to $14 an hour as it was her third year, she was WONDERFUL, and as one mother pointed out, she could get paid more if she walking into a Tim Horton's and asked for a job. I suspect our teacher this year is getting around 12 or 13. For reference, minimum wage here is around 8.50. The teacher (I know, not a "real" teacher) was the only one who applied in either of the last two years, and the position was advertised both times for about 2 months. She is doing the work now to get her level 3 early childhood certification (this has become a requirement in our province, but because so many teachers did not have it, it is being phased in, so year one, everyone had to have or be currently doing the work for level one certification, etc, so you could do it at the same time you were teaching). Our town has a population of 1500. The next town, pop 5000, also has a preschool, but I believe only one, and it is 35 km away (about 20 miles, although from my house it is 35 miles). I understand they have the same problems we do. So there is no other playschool available. Personally, I am not worried about my kids. They have brains, they are more or less nice kids (sometimes more, sometimes less), and they are the kind of kids who will do well with pretty much any teacher. I don't think that academically, my kids are going to get much more out of playschool than I could give them at home, BUT to me it is more about getting used to being in a classroom setting and meeting the kids they will be going to school with for the next 13 years (we only have 2 classes at each grade level in our schools).

I acknowledge the comments about restraining the kid, and if I were to go back in time, I would have just let him go. I don't think any harm was done, but I don't think it particularly helped either.

As for rewards, we heaped tons of praise on him whenever he was even momentarily good.

When I dropped off my son at playschool yesterday, the boy was sitting at the top of the stairs again refusing to go in. I tried to do my little part and said hello to him, and asked him if he'd told his mom about his picture and helping me pick up books and helping me build a lego tower, just trying to remind him of the fun stuff and also to let the mom know that he had done some good things. When I picked up my son at the end, the teacher was telling the mom that he was fine once playtime started, but he won't sit down for the work part, which comes first (they sit on a mat and practice days and months of the week, then they stand up and do a song about a letter of the alphabet, then they go to the tables and practice printing a letter -- two capitals and two lowercase, then they colour the picture that goes with the letter/song or else do some other letter related craft, eg painting a letter A using apples).

Guess we'll see how things progress.

funcakes Posted 25 Sep 2009 , 5:29pm
post #18 of 20

I would like to clarify that I did not want to sound like I was scolding you for restraining the child. I was trying to advise you that it may be something that you do not want to do in the future.
I believe that kids can learn what they need in readiness in the home, I think this little guy may need a classification and an early intervention. It may or may not impact your own children in the future. Sometimes witnessing inappropriate behavior has a negative affect on the other kids, sometimes not.
Teaching your own kids at home is entirely different than meeting the needs of a large group of kids interacting together. I realize that the situation where you are is very different from here in the states.
I would encourage you to observe carefully your own child's reactions and behaviors to see if this situation is benefitting him/her and is worth the money you are investing in the tuition.
JMHO

frostingfairy Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 6:11pm
post #19 of 20

You might consider changing up the timing of when things are done.

Quote:
Quote:

the work part which comes first (they sit on a mat and practice days and months of the week, then they stand up and do a song about a letter of the alphabet, then they go to the tables and practice printing a letter -- two capitals and two lowercase, then they colour the picture that goes with the letter/song or else do some other letter related craft, eg painting a letter A using apples).




Maybe this child needs physical activity first and once he gets some of his excess energy out, he might be ready to sit and work. Education studies have shown that people retain more information AFTER about 20 minutes of physical activity; granted this study pertains to older students, but could apply to younger children as well.

margaretb Posted 30 Sep 2009 , 8:04am
post #20 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by funcakes

I would like to clarify that I did not want to sound like I was scolding you for restraining the child. I was trying to advise you that it may be something that you do not want to do in the future.




No problem. I wouldn't have posted if I wasn't interested in feedback. Apparently things are getting better little by little, and hopefully it will all be resolved by my next parent helper day. We had a playschool meeting tonight, and the teacher mentioned that one child had a lot going on in his life and was having a hard time adjusting. I don't know what else there is, but his mom came with a newborn, so I imagine that's part of it.

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