Trouble with Kindergarten

Parent Q&A

Kindergarten - Trouble Making Friends Dec 12, 2019 (2 responses below)
6 year old hates kindergarten Jan 5, 2019 (20 responses below)
  • Kindergarten - Trouble Making Friends

    (2 replies)

    Our 5 year-old has been having a difficult time making friends during their first year in kindergarten. We suspect a big part of the reason is that they speak baby talk to their peers and make obnoxious baby noises frequently in their interactions. We have tried to address this kindly and directly multiple times, but haven't had much success and are concerned this will have longer lasting negative repercussions the longer it goes on. Is this just a phase? Has anybody else gone through this? Any suggestions or similar experiences and solutions would be very much appreciated.

    I too have been dismayed by my 5-year-old's persistent (though less frequent than before) use of baby talk and worried about it affecting social interactions in her new kindergarten, but have discovered that nearly all her peers use it from time to time - in fact, that's probably why the behavior is so persistent! I don't know if it's a comforting regression or a button-pusher or a form of dramatic play or what. That may be the case with your child as well.

    Does your child complain or act sad about other kids, or do you just not see evidence of group play and one-on-one friendships? If the former, then I agree that is a tough situation and you may want the teacher's input on what classroom interactions are like. If the latter, it may just be that the kids need to take time to get to know their new environment and one another (parent-initiated playdates can help with this). I have made sure that my child has regular playdates with her preschool friends (who all fanned out to different primary schools) so she feels grounded and "friended" as she navigates the new school. As far as I can tell the transition from preschool to kinder is a major upheaval and kids all deal with it differently and in their own time. Good luck.

    My child struggled socially in Kinder. She was sad and really missed her preschool friends. We reached out to her teacher and after school program staff for help and got a list of recommended friends to nurture friendship. We  worked hard to set up play dates and sign up for after school programs and camps with these kids. My kid in first grade is doing well socially now that she has a core group of friends at school. She still misses her preschool friends to whom she feels very connected. They are still her best friends but she is more anchored socially at school. We also try to go to the local library and playground where we often run into schoolmates. 

    the baby talk seems very common and normal. My now first grader is very articulate, has a huge vocabulary and reads 400+ page chapter books but still loves to pretend to be a baby and does baby talk. During kinder year, it was worse. This year, it’s better except now she pretends to be a cat and meows ...... During parent teacher conference, even the kinder teacher brought it up as apparently my kid was influencing the whole class to engage in baby talk which became annoying to the teacher!  It will likely pass.

  • 6 year old hates kindergarten

    (20 replies)

    Our child is a kindergartner at a well rated OUSD elementary school. 

    It is an exhausting battle to get her to go to school almost every morning. She says school is boring, she doesn’t have friends, etc. she tries to fake illness sometimes and lobbies really hard to be tardy. As a result, we were tardy 40 days in a semester. On some days, we literally strong arm her to put her in the car.

    The teacher says she is doing well at school. She is one of the older kids in class and is mature. Her academics are at grade level. She has had a bit of trouble finding good friends in class because most kids are so much younger than she is and there was a mean girl. We are working with the school about the bully. When we pick her up, we often see her happily playing with friends. The teacher has also moved her seating arrangement so she can sit with kids that are at a similar maturity level.

    I wonder if the school work is too easy or the school is too much crowd control and not much on fostering the love of learning.

    we both work full time, so we have to send her to after school and have a babysitter pick her up at 6 pm until we can get back home from SF by 7 pm. 

    8:30-6 is a heck of a long day for 6 year olds... we get it but many other kids are on the same schedule and our friends don’t report that their kids protest school as much as our kid.

    We make just enough not to qualify for any financial aid so private school is not possible for us. 

    We moved here for the neighborhood school.

    We don’t know what to do. Kid needs to go to school and after school so that we can work.we need both incomes to make a living in Oakland and job change is not possible.(We took out a 401k loan to buy a house so we are locked into our jobs.)

    When we hear other people saying their kid loves school, we are puzzled. How do we get our kid to like school? 

    I think she needs more downtime at home. My kids liked/loved their OUSD elementary school, but no way, no how did they want to do after care, even with their friends, because they wanted and needed downtime at home, even if they couldn't articulate it very well. We were able to have a babysitter pick them up and bring them home. Some kids do fine with a long day at school and some do not. If she were at school for 6 hours instead of nearly 10 I think she would protest a lot less. My 5th grader's only complaint about school is that she has to wake up early. Otherwise she loves it, but still, no way, no how does she want to be in after care.

    My son was similar at that age. Several times the principal called me to pick him up from school, as he would crawl under the classroom table and refuse to come out. Most of his issues stemmed from anxiety and the chaos created by the lack of control that the teacher had over the class. What worked for us was taking him out of the after-care program which was also very chaotic. As you said, 8:30-6 is a very long day for a 6-year-old, or even for an adult! Can you arrange to have a sitter pick her up right after school and watch her at home? If she has more downtime, she might make it through the school day more easily. Also, if her resistance stems from boredom, perhaps the teacher can give her different work/activities that are of high interest to her? It may also help her to have one close friend, although I do notice at that age that friendships seem to come and go quickly and few have truly close friendships. But if there isn't anyone in her class who she bonds with, maybe there is an opportunity during recess for her to meet kids from the other K classes? At my son's school, one of the K teachers started a social skills club where certain kids (such as my son) who had challenges in making friends all came together once per week. Another option is a buddy bench where children who don't have anything to do or anyone to play with at recess can sit on the bench and be joined by others who are seeking friendships. 

    You might want to get your child tested to see if she's gifted. The work just might be too easy and maybe she is just incredibly bored. UC Berkeley Dept of Psy offers reduced fee IQ testing (and for different issues)

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OUSD kindergarten not a good fit--what to do now?!

Oct 2010

Our daughter is currently enrolled in kindergarten at a very ''desirable'' Oakland elementary school. It's been a month now and it's clear this program is not the best fit for our kid and our family. Long story short, we need to find a ''progressive school'' pronto. But what to do now--pull her from the program and homeschool for the year? Try to get her into a another Oakland school or a private kindergarten? Has anyone dealt with this issue before? What progressive schools should we be contacting? We could really use some advice. Thanks! Burned by OUSD school experience

Hello - Our daughter had a very bad experience in the beginning of her K year as well. We were in a private school, which made the decision to leave very difficult financially. We are SO GLAD we did it. We decided to move her mid-year and she has been happy ever since (6 years now). Yes, I think you should contact private schools if you know that is what you want to do. We asked around and found out that there was room to add a child in the K class of another private school - one that was a better fit. You will have to apply and your daughter will need to visit to be assessed. It is likely that there is a better school out there and it is worth making the move. If you feel that progressive education is likely to be a good fit, I strongly recommend that you check out Windrush School. Happy Windrush Parent

I am not sure which schools have openings, but I would definitely look quickly at Redwood Day School to see if they do. It is a WONDERFUL school and if they have space, I think they will add to Kindergarten classes until about Thanksgiving. Happy parent of 2

Before you make a big decision, I'd like to advise you to check and be sure that the problem is the whole school, and not just the teacher. We just about changed to a private school when my child had an exceptionally bad experience with a kindergarten teacher. We ended up staying, and I'm very glad we did. If I had known then what I know now, I'd have asked to have my child switched to a different teacher; it would have been a relatively simple solution to what seemed at the time to be an enormous problem. anonymous

I would like to recommend a small school located off Peidmont Avenue that offers exceptional hands on learning experiences from some of the best teachers in town. Archway School is more than a school, it's a community where kids go and LOVE to learn. The ''experiential learning'' that happens at the school provides children with opportunities to use their natural gifts and sense of exploration to master the basic subjects. The school is involved in service learning and community building as part of it cirriculum as well. The outstanding teachers all take a special interest in your child and are open and communicative on all levels, making themselves fully accessible to student and parent alike. Archway is a hidden gem in Oakland and we'd like you to check us out! lee