This morning we, with toddler-terror in tow, sat in a small little conference room with Logan's lead teacher for our very first, real, honest-to-goodness, parent-teacher conference. The child up for discussion was working away diligently on today's sorting station back in his classroom with the assistant teacher.
We had no idea what to expect. Mrs Teacher is very good about bringing issues to her parents' attention as they arise. We know same day if there's been a problem or if it's been a great day of achievement. It's something I truly appreciate, and yet, it had me a little nervous. We knew he had struggled the first week at least with listening. He'd been a boy that tends to want to do his own thing when he wants and not be bothered with neat little things like rules and structure. In other words, he was a rather typical three-year-old with a summer birthday starting his first real experience in a classroom, albeit one focused on learn through fun play and creativity.
We knew he still struggled with sharing and taking turns. It was a big day when he didn't balk at one of the 'friends' joining him in the block station. We knew he had moments when he struggled to not melt down when he couldn't have his way. We knew he could be incredibly stubborn and a bit lazy at times. He'd rather have it done for him than do it.
These are things she knew too. In fact she mentioned them in not so many words at the start of our conversation today. She admitted that when the year had started they were wary. They had thought he might be one to have trouble throughout the year and they were ready to watch him closely and potentially suggest holding him back if he didn't improve or improve enough.
This admission came after she asked us if we'd noticed growth at home. I said we had. He'd become more independent - more willing to do for himself and to try to do for himself even if he didn't totally succeed. He's also handled Megan's knack for "forced sharing" much better than he used to. He wasn't happy about it. He'd balk. He'd complain but he'd not melt down.
She nodded and said that they had noticed a HUGE change in him. In fact, she'd even venture to say that he'd had the most dramatic growth so far this year in the class. That's when she told us where they were in September in their evaluation. But now, five months later, they've seen the sort of growth they had expected to see by June. No qualms.
He'd gone from leaving circle time early to hunt out his own thing, to staying and participating. He's sharing without upset. He's moving from parallel play to interactive play. He's following direction. He's responding to requests. He's willing to move past the "I can't" to the "I'll try."
She talked about his intelligence. She labeled him "very verbal" and said sometimes when he talks to her she almost wants to check the records again and make sure he's actually only 3. Apparently last week, in the midst of one shape lesson or another, he asked her when they were going to learn about the octagon. I'm not sure what she told him, but she told us she was taken back for a moment by the request. She said he has a scary good memory - which we knew. It gets us into trouble. Apparently she has the same issue. She commented that he clearly knew his letters, colors and shapes. We nodded but didn't elaborate on the other stuff he knew and did.
Going to preschool never had anything to do with the 'academics' of it. Instead it had everything to do with nuturing social maturity. She recognized this and agreed that to date it's served it's purpose.
We asked for input for next year, although my mind, at least if not B's too, had been made up already. This year Logan has done the 2 day a week program - it's all he could do with a birthday in June. Next year he'll go 3 days.
Our time was winding down. We were full of information and feedback - all of it reassuring. Megan was getting bored. She had started to remove tissues from a box on the table. She held it out and said simply "Dada? Ti-ou. Nose. Dada nose." ("Daddy? I've got this tissue and I want to wipe your nose with it.") She wiped Daddy's nose. Then she reached to wipe my nose. And then she pointed to Logan's teacher, made an attempt at her name and said "You nose." She wiped Mrs Teacher's nose too.
Mrs Teacher asked us when Meg's birthday was. September we said. "She'll be two?" she asked. We nodded.
"She's very verbal for her age also!" she said and commented that at least based on what they've seen of her so far, she didn't think Megan would have any problem starting preschool the same month she turned three. And this is a good thing because frankly, I think if Meg had her way, she'd be in that classroom now.