As mentioned in an earlier post, it was my intention to switch Gavin back to the half-day school program after this term is over until I spoke to the headmaster.
Gavin started pre-school last year in August – about three months before I delivered Gareth. I was initially planning to home school him until he was ready for kindergarten until I got pregnant and found that I could barely stay awake, let alone interact with him with an appropriate level of stimulation to facilitate his development. After that, I conceded the need for assistance and agreed to send him to school early.
When he started pre-school, he was two years and seven months old. Because he was talking so much more than his peers, the headmaster felt it would be more appropriate to send him to the three year old class rather than keep him in the two year old class. Gavin, on the other hand, had other plans. He decided he preferred the teacher of the two year old class, plus his god-brother was in the two year old class, so he switched classes on his own.
Feeling guilty for flaking out on him and sending him to school early in the first place, I didn’t want to force him to do anything he wasn’t happy with at school so I allowed him to stay in the two year old class. I figured that as long as he was enjoying school, I wasn’t about to complain. Unfortunately, the teacher had something to complain because he was disrupting class. Because he was already familiar with much of the content she was teaching the class, he would get bored and wander off on his own. And when he wandered off, the other children would follow him.
When it was recommended that Gavin enter the four year old class for this year, I consented. They felt that he was intellectually ready for the four year old class but needed more time to develop his social skills. For that, they recommended that I send him for the flexi-hour program which would allow him more time to interact with his peers. Unfortunately, Gavin and his god-brother had become the dynamic duo in school and Gavin wasn’t about to be parted. Again he decided to switch classes back to the three year old class.
Once again, I was content to let him be until the headmaster told me that he was too advanced for the three year old class and was getting bored in there. She felt he should be in the four year old class and wanted to move him there. The only problem was that he had not sufficiently developed the fine motor skills required for the four year old class since he spent last year in the two year old class. Had he remained in the three year old class, he would have spent more time developing his fine motor skills in readiness for the four year old class.
The recommendation was to place Gavin in the four year old class and keep him on the flexi-hour plan so he could attend a special class that would help him develop his fine motor skills. At home, we would work together to develop his skills with play dough and bead sorting. The aim is to help him practice his pincer grasp so he could hold a pencil well enough to start learning to write.
When Gavin was younger, I bought him Kumon books that were designed to train children to learn how to write numbers and the alphabets. We worked on them together but I eventually put them aside because Gavin would only practice if I held his hand. If I asked him to try it on his own, he would claim he couldn’t do it and refuse to put pen to paper. It seemed pointless to make him practice writing when it was really my hand that did the work.
So although I wanted to switch him back to the half-day program, it looks like he needs to take the additional class from the flexi-hour program to help him cope with the four year old class. It feels like I’m pushing him too hard with extra classes so he can cope in a class that is technically a year ahead of him. However, the headmaster reckons because he was born at the start of the year, he is better suited for the four year old class.
The last thing I want to do is to make him hate school, but then again, I don’t want him to lose interest because he’s bored of the material being taught because it doesn’t stimulate him. According to the headmaster, he is enjoying the extra class in the flexi-hour program and since he’s learning something that I seem incapable of teaching him, perhaps I ought to keep him in the program. That class ends at 2pm so I figured I could take him home straight after rather than leave him at school until 3pm which is when the flexi-hour program officially ends.
What’s my dilemma? I don’t want to be an aggressive, pushy mother wanting her child to be ahead of the pack, however, neither do I want him to be underwhelmed by school so much so that he has to find his own activities to keep himself occupied. That would defeat the purpose of having him there in the first place.
So what do you think? Stay in the three year old class and cut back to half day or move him to the four year old class with the additional class to help him catch up on his fine motor skills?