Monday, March 28, 2011

Parent Teacher Conference Update

Parent teacher conferences take place in November and in March. We met with Amor Chiquito’s teachers last Thursday. Here is what we learned, in no particular order:

At the beginning of the school year, Amor Chiquito mostly worked individually. Now she is exploring new areas and working in small groups with the handful of kids she enjoys hanging out with. This means that she is doing less of the reporting she was famous for and more exploring and trying new things. For example, she is not as drawn to numbers as she is to letters, but she does do some math activities because she likes to spend time with the infamous R, a very sweet 4-year-old boy!

Speaking of the kids she spends time with, the teachers say that she makes more eye contact and is more involved in conversations with the teachers and with her peers

It used to be that when it was circle time and it was time for the kids to participate, she often repeated the same story, something about her grandma and her cousin. She no longer does that. She actually talks about whatever they are discussing. For example, they are learning about bears, manatees, and other animals at the moment.

One of the teachers said he feels like she looks taller, her face looks different, she looks more like a little kid and not a baby and that it is easier to understand her.

We talked about her language delay. They said language delays are common among kids growing up in bilingual homes.

We talked about how the L is finally emerging! She used to say I ‘yite’ and now she says I ‘lite.’ We are still working on the K, but the L is coming along nicely!

Daddy and I were wondering what helped the L emerge. Is it that she was simply ready? Is it something we did? Something the teachers did? It turns out that each week they focus on one letter. Two weeks ago, they worked on the L and this week they were reviewing it. They learn how to write it, what it sounds like, where the sounds come from, etc. Two weeks ago is when I heard the L for the first time! It sounds like the Montessori teachers made more progress than I have following the early intervention suggestions! Or, perhaps, it was just the right time for her.

As for the activities that Amor Chiquito is drawn to, she does lots of art work. She loves cutting and gluing. One of the teachers said she kicked Ari out of the art station today because Ari would spend all day there if they let her!

Amor Chiquito loves to write and she is very interested in learning how to write her name. She often said she couldn’t do it. She felt frustrated and sad. The teachers kept reinforcing that she is learning and that writing an A can be her signature because she is the only one with an A name in the classroom. Apparently their tactic has worked. She now excitedly says “I can do that! I can write an A for Arianna!”

She spends a fair bit of time at the practical life table. Some of the activities in that area include washing, pealing and cutting a carrot, using a hand drill, using tweezers, poring fluids, mixing fluids, among others.

Amor Chiquito likes to play family with her friends. She also likes to play the “store game.” They pretend they sell things, usually ice cream! That’s my kid!

Speaking of playing the family game, I feel very happy that my child sees different family types as “normal,” for lack of a better word. If one of the kids is a boy, then they have a dad, a mom and a baby. If they are all girls, they have two mommies and a baby. My child doesn’t even think twice about that. That is how it should be! I am glad we are finally catching up!

The teachers said that she is very engaged, very happy, very easy going and that she has internalized all the classroom rules. Speaking of internalizing classroom rules, when she did more observing, she would tell the teachers when someone was “not using her walking feet”! One of the teachers described her as “the eyes of the classroom”!

Geeky Entrepreneur and I were, once again, very impressed with her teachers, all three of them. They know so much about child development and they teach in ways that are very different than anything we have ever experienced, but that are very intuitive at the same time. You can tell how much they love their job. They had notes on Ari, but they also remember tons of things about her, despite the fact that they have 24 kids ranging in ages from three to five. I love and respect teachers like my daughter’s. Teachers out there, you really do change lives! As for my daughter’s teachers, I feel very blessed and very grateful to the three people that spend 25% of the day, five days a week, teaching my daughter and treating her like she is a person who matters, not one more little kid.

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