Tag: school

The Star Chart

I’m just back from attending Kayla’s first school open evening. I got to witness where she sits, the colourful art work surrounding the room and learn more about the curriculum she will be absorbing throughout the year. Her teacher advised on some activities we could do at home to help with pencil grip and motor skills, literacy and maths. There was also a parenting talk by expert Sheila O’ Malley that was very interesting. I’m now rethinking my approach to discipline and how I speak to Kayla when she is upset or angry.

Her school have a star chart system, where a child gets rewarded for good behaviour, manner and overall performance throughout the day. When a child gets ten stars they get a small prize, great incentive for good behaviour, don’t you think? Kayla told me she has loads of stars, so I scoured through looking for the kid with the most stars, obviously and I couldn’t find her name anywhere.

So now we will call it the poxy star chart!

I see it, Kayla, two stars, two measly stars. Surely it’s wrong? She has the least amount stars in her class of twenty something kids. Some of her classmates are on the way to their third prize. I know it shouldn’t but I almost feel like it’s an attack on my parenting skills. Why isn’t she achieving what her friends are? Why is she lying about how many stars she is getting?

I thought she would be top of the class, teaching the new friends their abc’s in sign language, performing her ballet routine with an audience in yard, I assumed she would be top of the class, student of the month, highest achiever. It’s very upsetting; she’s clearly not settling how I envisaged. Maybe my expectations are too high, she’s four in a whole new environment where she is not centre of attention anymore. I only hope she starts to settle soon and her real personality shines through because she is a good kid, a really good kid.

If she gets a star tomorrow we can have chocolate ice-cream for dinner, it won’t change the fact she is struggling to adjust in school but it will make me feel better haha.

The iPad is on the Naughty Step

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Kayla has been playing with my phone since she was about one, swiping through photos, taking selfies and now at four she can navigate through passwords, buys apps and understands the purpose of the internet.

Kayla could spend hours, and I mean hours on end playing dress the fairy, feed the doggie and doing some Barbie’s make-up. She become totally unresponsive when on the iPad, she gets sucked in and loses control of the real world.

Children develop and learn through social interaction. Whilst playing with touch screen devices, PlayStations and the likes young children are struggling to learn basic motor skills. Electronic play is hurting kid’s brain development and stunting their social skills. A friend recently told me she heard a child had to be re-educated on how to hold a pencil as he had weak hand muscles due to overexposure to an iPad. Imagine a junior infant been taught to hold a pencil again so he could write his abc’s, it’s crazy.

I found Kayla on YouTube last week, not in her account with videos I think is suitable for her to watch. She was on the iPad without my permission, flicking through recommended clips that I did not think were appropriate for her age. Not only did she spend four-minutes on the naughty step, but I banned the iPad for a week, myself included. I made the iPad available to her, leaving it lying around the house, I left the internet on and it took me long enough to realise the house was very quiet.

Kayla became ratty and irritable as she suffered withdrawals from the iPad. It’s not the first time either, so now I have now limited her usage. I’m trying to show by example, I’m constantly on my phone. She doesn’t understand why it’s okay for me, but not for her. So I’m limited access by switching off the internet and not leaving devices at arm’s reach. I’m going to started making her earn time with the iPad too. I introduced more educational games and story apps. Playtime can be more productive and I have now specified what apps she can use.

It’s so different for our generation of children, Wi-Fi is available almost everywhere, the modern day playground is almost virtual. Social media is crucial to our generation of children but it’s our job as parents to make sure that technology is being used wisely. Digital technology can be an excellent educational tool if used appropriately. We don’t need to deprive them of technological intelligence but I refuse to allow screen based technology erode her little brain.

So There Goes Student Of The Month

It’s week four in big school and Kayla has settled considerably well, or so I thought. Today while collecting Kayla, the teacher called me aside and asked for a ‘chat’. Like that I was sent to the bold corner, standing aside while all the other mummies and daddies collected their children.

Obviously thinking is everything okay? Did she fall? Was she upset today for some reason? Now as the next class of twenty something children get called name by name, the teacher approaches me ‘we had an incident today, didn’t we Kayla’. Teacher then proceeds to tell me my ‘little angel’ had hit not one but two other children in her class today.

So my darling as if butter wouldn’t melt daughter was a bully today. As someone who was bullied for years through small and secondary school, one thing I cannot stand is a bully. Teacher witnessed Kayla hit another pupil, unprovoked. I’m very disappointed and shocked to say the least.

Her school have a very strict anti-bullying policy; it was something I read through with a fine tooth comb. The schools I attended had awful approaches to bullies, almost leaving me more vulnerable for speaking up through my childhood. I’m happy it was dealt with abruptly, it proves bullying is totally unacceptable within her school. Fortunately for her she will get away with it this time, as both incidents happened in the one day, next time there will be consequences.

Maybe she was a little frustrated, maybe the other kid done something when the teacher wasn’t watching, we will never know. Anyways she has only got her iPad back after watching videos on YouTube without my permission, looks like it’s going to be gathering lots of dust again. She seems very embarrassed with her behaviour and genuinely sorry, only time will tell, so hopefully there will be no more incidents like this in the future.

                                                                          

First Day of Big School

You would think after co-writing a blog on preparing your child for big school, I’d have bells on a week in advance. No, I found myself panicking at 9pm the eve of her first day with a permanent marker scribbling her name on ever stitch of school clothing. Kayla awoke the next day questioning who had been doodling on her uniform, then proceeded to protest her hatred for it. She detested the colour, the skirt was to short (I’ll remind her of that one in a few years) and the tie, she despised the tie. Unfortunately for her she had to wear it.

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After about what felt like an hour helping her get dressed she lost a bloody butterfly charm off one of her shoes; FML. I now spent the next half hour searching the whole house for this stupid butterfly, damn you Dunnes Stores!! Eventually I found it, but this was no good, she want it fixed five minutes ago. I somehow calmly reassured her, nobody would notice, nana’s magic kit would sew it back on that evening, she soon overcame her fear of a fashion fail on the first day. It is day five and we are still waiting on nana and her magic kit.

Her daddy and his family came over for some photos. Poor Frankie was dumped with the neighbour; after all it was her big day. We both walked her to school. It was a picturesque moment; she skipped holding both mammy’s and daddy’s hand. It actually brought a tear to my eye. Two years ago we couldn’t bear to be in the same room. Both putting aside our difference for our little princess, she smiled, giggled and I enjoyed every moment of it. Then she realized she was walking for longer than three minutes. She had now endured the longest walk of her life.

Kayla is loud, very loud. She really likes the sound of her own voice. The fear of the unknown shut her up for just a tiny second as she sat down in her classroom. Teacher had announced it was time for parents to leave, my throat dried, the horrible lump appeared, trying to hold back the tears as she waved, then completely ignored us as she concentrated so hard a putting her build-a-blocks together. I did however notice that the blinds were shut, a pointless manoeuvre I had planned, to peak through to see if she was settling ok; again, not taking any of my own advice. I did cry, for just a minute. I soon realized how peaceful it was at home, an hour in school was just not long enough. It was bliss. 

Upon collection she declared that she wouldn’t be going back to school the next day and would be found watching movies, in her pajamas and eat ice-cream all day. Somewhat of a routine we had encountered through the summer. 

I spent the hour on her first day wondering if she missed me, if she needed help, if she needed a hug. Reality is my baby isn’t a baby anymore; my independent, energetic, beautiful little girl is growing up.