Your preschooler shouts he is never going back to preschool or the teacher hates him. While you might be tempted to talk him down, you might wonder what’s going on in class. Observing and volunteering in his preschool class might help you and the teacher find ways to make preschool a happier place for him. His teacher knows you care about his experience and that you are willing to help.
Setting It Up
Your child’s preschool has rules about parent interaction in the classroom, so call the school and explain the problem to the teacher or the director. You might ask the teacher if she knows what set your child off. The problem could be very simple, such as your child or the teacher just had a bad day. The school might suggest you observe as a classroom volunteer so you get a feel for what really happens in the classroom. Otherwise, the school can place strict limits on how long you will be there and how you observe.
Your child may behave differently with you in the classroom, so you might ask about options that allow you to observe discretely, such as via a webcam or through a window. If you can’t observe out of sight, your best option is volunteering in the classroom. As a volunteer, you will have responsibilities beyond observing. The teacher might ask you to read to the kids, help pass out supplies and supervise kids on the playground or interact with the kids during playtime. Your activity in the classroom may help your child forget to perform for you.
Time in Class
Lots of things go on in a preschool classroom. One thing to watch is how well organized the class is and the ratio of kids to adults. This one factor determines a lot about how the students interact with each other and with the teacher. You might gain new appreciation for your child’s teacher after you’ve walked a mile in her shoes. As a volunteer, she will probably welcome your help and suggest things for you to watch. Your interaction in the classroom can help your child find ways to respond positively.
After your time in the classroom, you can talk to the teacher about your child and anything you didn’t understand or found disturbing. You could also talk to your child and make suggestions, such as “If Johnny doesn’t want to play with you, find another kid to play with or you could find something you both like to do together.” Your experience helps you understand the challenges in preschool and may encourage you to become a faithful volunteer.