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.