24
Class Distinction

As I walked R&C to their classroom Tuesday, the preschool director motioned for me to come see her on my way back. A familiar knot in my stomach start to take shape. Like that time I got caught in 5th grade playing “pencil break” in the hallway instead of going to the bathroom like I had asked.

 

Is this about the boo boo incident I had to sign last week when dancing turned into a scrappy UFC fight?

Are they having too many accidents? Am I going to have to pull them out until they can come back fully potty trained, of course still paying tuition to hold their spots?

Crap, my tuition check bounced, didn’t it?

Am I going to get scolded for not participating in the damn Scholastic book order this month?

My GOD what IS it???

 

I started to sweat. Surely we were being threatened with expulsion. This was to be only the beginning of a lifetime of misbehavior notes sent home, negative parent/teacher conferences, and guilty obligations to order mountains of books at rock bottom prices.

She spoke in a low voice. Here it comes, I thought….

“I wanted to talk to you about moving The Twins {insert mental cringe here} to the younger class,” she said. “I think they would do better there…”

Her voice trailed off in my head and my mommy defenses sprang to life. My arms instinctively crossed in front of me as she detailed her reasons for thinking they would thrive better in the younger class — a class that revolves more heavily around playtime, where the kids are all still trying to learn the concept of sitting in a circle and not running around like complete imbeciles.

We’re being demoted? In preschool???

Apparently the kids in our current class already graduated from Imbecile Antic Avoidance 101 and sit patiently while my kids continually break the circle to go play with dinosaurs or host their own version of the Ultimate Preschool Fighting Champion.

Swirling in my head, the words “disruption,” “misbehavior,” and “immature.” Words, I might add, that never even came out of the director’s mouth. I told her I’d think about it, talk it over with my husband, and I left with a heavy heart, my confidence in my and my children’s abilities shaken.

In those few minutes, how quickly I turned from a confident grown woman to a crestfallen, miniature version of myself. I radiated failure and inadequacy. Meandering aimlessly around the store, I was unable to concentrate on the 3 items I needed to pick up. I did not, however, forget the M&Ms {for potty training. Right}.

I don’t want to move them. They love their teacher, Miss Jennifer. I love Miss Jennifer. I love breaking up the week with Tuesday/Thursday classes. But they have never been in a program before. All of their classmates have.

The others gather for circle time without incident and sit for longer projects, while R&C’s shorter attention spans have them ready to move on to the next activity after 5 minutes. In the younger class, they’ll be around other first timers. And probably others who are also questionably potty trained.

And to be completely fair, the kids in the younger class are closer to their age. R&C’s March birthday falls months after the kids in their current class. Six months makes a huge difference when you’re dealing with little ones.

I thought long and hard about it, spoke to some close friends. I got over myself. Kids are resilient. They’ll adapt to the change. They’ll love their new teacher. I’m the one having a hard time letting go of Miss Jennifer and the fun projects they do and the cute little bears on the walls where they hang their bags.

I want them to shine. I want everyone else to see the beautiful, sweet, spunky, smart, polite, and wonderful children that I know. I don’t want any of that to be overshadowed by the fact that they are having trouble following directions and participating in group activities. With the kids closer to their age and who share in this new experience with them, they will thrive and possibly feel more at home. And Miss Jennifer emphasized that we could always come back if we weren’t satisfied with the new class.

So we’re going to try it. I know that the school only has their best interests at heart. I could see that Miss Jennifer was torn between knowing what is good for them and the growing mutual affection they share. Although she admitted to seeing great improvement in them in just the 2 weeks they had attended, she felt they would do better in the younger class where they could be around other kids closer in age who are also adapting to being in preschool. I know she’ll miss them too.

But still I’m sad. Uncertain. I never anticipated these feelings. Preschool is a whole new world for all of us, and we’re all kind of fumbling and making our way as best we can. We’ll get there. Together.

Did this new school year bring about any changes for you and your kids?

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Leigh Ann Torres
Writer, artist, wife, cook, maid, bookkeeper, mom to twins plus one...all around genie in a bottle, except you only get one wish, and it has to be reasonable.
21 Comments
  1. It’s so hard, isn’t it? My son is in the younger class (July birthday) too. But we started there. I have to say I like it. I want him to feel confident and love school. And I think that’s easier if he’s on the more mature/verbal end of the spectrum. But maybe I’m just justifying it….

    Good luck!

    • I feel dumb for not really realizing the different classes, or maybe the director didn’t explain it that well. I think we decided to try it because their bday was kind of on the border, and I didn’t realize how much of a difference a few months would make, plus not having been in a program before. I hope we all adapt well. :)

  2. What an uncomfortable place to be put in, I am so sorry that you kind of got slapped across the face with that information. I know for me it definitely would have taken a while to let it sink in and think about it indifferently. I hope that you are all happy with the decision and the outcome
    It will bring!

    • I think we will be happy with it once we get used to it. I talked to a few good friends who are teachers and or have kids my age in MDO for the 1st time and they really helped put my mind at ease. :)

  3. It is amazing how this moments of transition can so quickly knock off from our feet. I feel for you, but think you’ve handled it all amazingly well. We have to be advocates for our children. And ultimately we only want what’s best for them. Sometimes, though, as you noted, it is hard to separate our own feelings from theirs. Kids are amazingly resilient. They will not skip a beat. And if they ultimately have more fun, and thus, love “school” even more, well then, win-win!

    P.S. I’m also a “twin mom” and totally laughed at your mental cringe!!! ; )

    • How did I now know you were a twin mom? :) Thanks for the kind words. I know they’ll bounce back just fine. It just breaks my heart every time they ask about Miss Jennifer!

  4. I’m redshirting my kid for kindergarten when we get to that point because I want him to be on the older/more mature (hopefully) side of things. So great that your girls go to a school that’s focused on providing the best education even at this age!

    • A friend of mine is having the same dilemma. Her girls just turned 3 and she can’t decide whether to wait and let them be the older kids or let them go ahead and go with us and their other friends, even tho we won’t go to the same school. She’s also a former teacher (and one of the friends that helped me get over myself) and knows the problems that can occur when kids start too early.

  5. Well proud that you handled that well…I probably would have been on the defensive. But I hope things work out for your girls. They are so cute!

    • I was a little defensive but everything they said made perfect sense. Now if they wanted to move them to a 2 year old class…then we would have had some words. :)

  6. Leigh Ann…I feel that whenever I visit here, I end up nodding my head and sighing, “Yep, girlfriend…I’ve been there.”

    Because I have. And I think you were supremely wise to trust the girls’ teacher. You’re right…she does have their best interests at heart. She has no agenda. She wants to give them a meaningful, appropriate education. I applaud you for your course of action. Keep us posted, ok?

  7. I think the Rachel and Claire will do just fine in their new class. They are not being demoted…just moved to a class with children closer to their age and abilities. I think it is a very smart move to move them to the other class so that they can learn to be in preschool with other kids, rules and schedules. That way they won’t feel singled out in the other class when they could be the only ones being corrected. They won’t have the problems of feeling different…because they aren’t different, they just don’t have the experience. Rachel and Claire are smart and wonderful little girls and they will thrive wherever they are. Good luck and don’t feel bad…you should be grateful that the preschool staff cared enough to notice and mention to you an option that would be in Rachel & Claire’s best interests. Don’t doubt yourself or your girls. You have done wonderfully with them and they will grow up to be just as smart, independent and loving as you are.

  8. OH my friend!
    I can feel your worry, apprehension, and anxiety in this post.
    I feel this way every time I think about whether we should keep S in her current daycare or if we should switch.
    There are so many emotions involved.
    You are a great mom with their best interests at heart!
    They will do great because you’re thinking of them.

    • Thanks! I think they’ll do well. It’ll only benefit them in the long run. But I do love their old teacher so. Watching the girls hug her on Tuesday almost broke my heart.

  9. That’s so hard. School’s hard for the parents, just as much as the kids sometimes! I’m glad you thought it through and kept your composure. It will only benefit them. Good for you, mama!

  10. I think you are doing great! It’s hard to “get over ourselves,” but you considered all the angles and made what you believe is the best decision. Although i initially felt very lucky that B has a July birthday and we would avoid an additional year of preschool costs, I’ve become nearly convinced we will “redshirt” him. Also, this may be an unpopular or incorrect view, but I can’t help thinking I would be relieved that they both legitimately had the same need and you didn’t have to decide whether or not to switch one while keeping one in the same place. When I envision such decisions in our future, that is my ultimate nightmare!
    Hang in there!

    • Kimberly, that’s what I’ve been hearing about the summer birthdays. A friend of mine is having the same problem with her twins. Although they’ve been in MDO since last year, she’s still afraid they’ll be to oyoung to go to kinder when we do. And as a former kinder teacher, she would know!

  11. You’re kids will thrive with a little extra time! All three of my boys are late spring and summer birthdays. 2 out of the 3 so far have taken an extra year in preschool. Big T went into Kindergarten when he was 6 and Sweet Pea will do the same. It has been the best thing for both of them. If it needed to happen, I really wanted to do it in preschool rather than in elementary school!

    They’re going to do great! And can’t they have Miss Jennifer next year?

    • Not unless she moves to the 4s class. They break up the 3s into older and younger, but next year they will all be in the 4s together. But I’m sure that their new teacher will be just as loving, and we’ll still get to see Miss Jennifer from time to time. :)

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