Thursday, February 28, 2008

Pre-kindergarten parent teacher conference

Today was my first parent teacher conference, with Tessa's preschool teacher.

The great news:
The teacher classifies Tessa as a "bright, empathetic, compassionate child who is absolutely ready for kindergarten." Tessa has the fine motor skills, the basic knowledge (letters, numbers, etc.) with very few exceptions. (For some reason she didn't identify a rectangle or the number 10, both of which we can correct with little work.) We'll work on writing her last name, and on lower case letters, but overall, she's ahead of the curve. Her artwork is "near the top of the class" as well. Tessa follows instruction well, is a great helper in the classroom, takes responsibility, learns her academic lessons well, and picks up new knowledge and skills well. When there is a structured activity, she excels; she participates well and raises her hand to answer questions and volunteer information at carpet time.

The thing that caught me a bit off guard (though when I think about it, it isn't too surprising) is that Tessa does not engage with the other kids at school, and is mostly an observer, especially at recess. She doesn't jump in to play with the other kids, appears shy, and really holds back. She doesn't appear to be making friends on her own, and this can be really tough for kids in kindergarten. I think that Tessa has so many friends from babyhood that she's never had to work at making a friend, and for this reason, she hasn't developed the skill. The teacher said that it's a developmental thing, and that I couldn't really help Tessa with it, other than to talk to her about it. The one thing we CAN do is invite school kids for playdates, etc. Tessa particularly likes Kate at her school, and they have some things in common, so that is an obvious choice, and we'll invite Kate to play soon. It's not that Tessa doesn't play well with others, or appears unhappy at school, or is snubbed by other's that she just holds back and doesn't engage, and she does this enough that she's quiet and the kids don't even notice after a while.

The idea of Tessa standing around at recess, simply observing, not engaging or playing, gives me a bit of a stomachache. The teacher isn't worried, and I know from observing Tessa with her friends at home that she's capable of interacting extremely well with other kids, but obviously this is something we need to work on. We will! The teacher pointed out that everything can change in a year, and I suspect that will be the case.

No comments: