Cassie doesn’t like her new teacher at preschool. I guess I should have seen this coming. My first born has always been a bit resistant to change, unless of course it’s her idea. She was having so much fun with her previous teachers, Miss Dorothy and Miss Erica, but now she’s in the four-year-old room with Miss Diane and Miss Judy and she says they’re mean. I think it would be more correct to say that they’re strict, or maybe that they have higher expectations of her. After all, the four-year-old room is all about preparing kids for the high-pressure world of kindergarten, and we all know how intense that can be, right? Not that Cassie will be attending kindergarten for another year and a half…

I completely understand where Cass is coming from on this. I felt a bit pressured myself the first day I picked her up from the four-year-old room. Miss Judy, the teaching assistant, stopped me cold as I was helping Cassie put her coat on.

“You need to let Cassie do that by herself,” she said. “We expect the children in this class to put on their own coats and mittens because when they get to kindergarten, no one is going to do it for them.”

“Ah, okay. Well Cass, I think Miss Judy is right. You can put your own coat on.” And she did, with only a little bit of struggle.

“By the way, Mrs. Madden,” Miss Judy said as we gathered Cassie’s papers from her box. “Cassie also needs to learn how to hold a pencil properly. This…” she mimed holding a pencil in a clenched fist, “is not appropriate. It leads to scribbling, and we don’t do scribbling in the four-year-old room.”

“Uh, okay. Well, we’ll work on that at home.”

Cassie started showing me her class work for the day. As I was looking at it, I noticed someone had written her name on one page and Cass had traced over it. “Oh sweetie, did you trace your name? It’s very good.”

“She traced it?” Miss Judy said with a frown. “You mean Cassie doesn’t know how to write her name yet?”

I wanted to say, “Lady, give me a break. She’s not even four yet!” But I kept my mouth shut and just smiled. “We’ll work on that too.”

Ah, no pressure here. Cassie is a bright kid and I’m sure she’ll pick things up pretty quickly. After all, she made some pretty astonishing advances during her first four months of preschool. The kid who never wanted to color is suddenly obsessed with it and now draws the world’s best smiley face pictures. She’s also learned her ABC’s to the point where she can identify all the capital letters and some of the lower case ones too. Plus she can associate the correct sound with most of those letters. She can count to twenty with no problem. And she can even dress herself in the morning, with a generous amount of prodding. I think it’s amazing. I’m sure by this time next year she’ll be a wiz at holding pencils and writing her own name. I just hope she has fun along the way.

About Cynical Woman

Cartoonist, Artist, Geek, Evil Crafter, Girl Scout Troop Leader and Writer. Also, a zombie. I haven't slept in I don't know how long.
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  1. Which is why we homeschool. My eldest is graduating in the spring (a year early) and the younger has another two maybe three to go. I couldn’t stand the “teacher” telling me what my child should or shouldn’t be doing…at three and four! GRRRR!

  2. What?! Cassie can’t figure out algebra yet? Shoot you better get her a tutor and start cramming advanced math and science into her mind ASAP. Don’t neglect the foreign language lessons, get on that right away, she shouldn’t be behind. You don’t want your 3 year old to actually enjoy childhood; That could result in her becoming a creative, balanced and confident woman.

    I heard the same crap with both of my girls. Oliva (4) did the pencil thing too…umm all kids do, it works itself out rather quickly. Yet Olivia’s letters are still wobbly and crooked. I believe it’s called classwork and practice in the Pre-K program.

    After nearly completing her first year of 1st grade Leah at 6 (who is very similar in temperament as your eldest) is in the top of her class. So, I’m sure that having a smart Mommy & Daddy, Cassie too will be in the same position. Having a child who enjoys school and is measuring up fine is the key. If I had forced Leah to learn all that junk I was told she’d hate school by now.

  3. Please remember that even in quality childcare situation, the majority of staff need not have any early childhood education background – only program directors and leaders are required to do so, so PLEASE do not accept what Ms. Judy, the teacher’s assistant, said without questioning her knowledge and experience. When did she last observe a public kindergarten class? What are her teaching qualifications?

    They decided Cas was ready to move up – so if she is lacking skills they feel are necessary they need to be working on them – either back in the 3yr old room or now in the 4yr old room. You are your child’s advocate – speak up for her if you disagree – a qualified and experienced educator will welcome your insight.

    Rick M.A.Ed. Elem. Ed.
    & Cyn M.A. Ed. Sec. Ed.

  4. Ms. Judy needs to get laid.

  5. Now that I think about it. Yes, I agree with Robyn. Disregard my previous comment.

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