Posts Tagged ‘preschool bully’

I wonder.

May 2, 2008

Who is reading me locally?  I have linked to MomsMichiana.com, so I imagine I have some local folks reading.  I ask because the front page of the family section of the South Bend Tribune (SBT) tackled the local angle of a topic I wrote about back in February, and while I’ve been remiss in fulfilling my promise to write about executive function and inhibitory control, I still promise to do so. 

Until then, in the SBT article, Howard Dukes discovered local preschool programs working on executive function development, but the title of the program’s different from Tools of the Mind.  I don’t know how related they are or what adaptations have been made, and maybe they’re exactly the same, but “plan, do, review” looks awfully similar.  Dukes cites Adele Diamond, an important child development researcher today, who was cited in the Tools of the Mind story featured in February on National Public Radio. 

“Plan, do, review” comes from High Scope Educational Research Foundation.  You now have two similar curriculums and you know them by name, so when you’re looking for preschools with effective conflict resolution programs and they cite “plan, do, review” or Tools of the Mind, then you can be confident the curriculum is attempting to address a child’s executive function and inhibitory control development. 

Whether you be local or international, I hope I’m helping you out here.  Don’t be shy.  Leave a comment, and if you’ve got some advice, we’d love to hear it.

 

Another preschool bully resource

April 2, 2008

            This entry has now been added to the “Accredited Preschools” entry. 

If you know where to look, there are often resources available in your community to help with day care/preschool problems.  I indicated in an earlier entry that I only discovered the National Association for the Education of Young Children when I picked up a pamphlet at Boy’s preschool.  The same day I grabbed that pamphlet, in search of answers to his problem with bullies in preschool, I grabbed another that looked promising:  “Promoting Educational Achievement for Children Early (P.E.A.C.E.):  A Child Care Expulsion Prevention Program.”  They are affiliated with Riverwood Center, a county specific organization, and the United Way. 

           

            Boy has not been in danger of expulsion, but his bully has, and P.E.A.C.E. shares why my community, and any community really, has reason to be concerned about Yale’s studies regarding the alarming rates of preschool expulsions.  Beyond recognizing that “social and emotional competence of young children predicts their academic performance in 1st grade, over and above their cognitive skills and family background,” and that “young children who act in anti-social ways are provided with less instruction and less positive feedback [leads them] to like school less, learn less and attend less,” P.E.A.C.E. suggests a link between poverty, inadequate prenatal care, child abuse, and participation in childcare 40-60 hours a week as risk factors for children.

           Because of these risk factors, P.E.A.C.E. “provides consultation for parents and child care providers” for preschool aged children who exhibit “behavioral or emotional challenges that put them at risk of expulsion for childcare.”  In other words, even day care centers, including “anyone who directs or works in a day care setting” is eligible for services through this program, and services include training for providers and families.  P.E.A.C.E. is only available in my county, but as indicated above, the program is associated with the United Way, so if you are struggling with the kinds of problems we’ve faced as a family, you might consider contacting your local United Way to see what programs are available to you. 

          For me, I plan to contact the name on the pamphlet and share our story.  I will be sure to share what comes of that conversation here.    

Bedtime Story

February 21, 2008

Sunday night, I decided to break out Just a Bully by Gina and Mercer Mayer for bedtime. I wanted to gauge the response from Boy. I hoped to mine his still developing brain for more specific information about his experiences in preschool. I’ve had better ideas.

When the bigger kid (crocodile) picks on Little Critter’s little sister, I stopped reading and asked, “Does anybody at school pick on other kids?”

“Yeah.”

“What happens?”

“That crocodile bein’ mean.”

“Yeah, that crocodile’s not very nice, but let’s see what happens.”

When we got to the sequence where Little Critter is bothered on four distinct occasions by the crocodile, I stopped again and asked, “That crocodile isn’t very nice, what should Little Critter do?”

“That crocodile bein’ mean.”

“Is anybody mean to you at school?”

“O – – – .”

“What does he do?”

Pointing to his forearm, Boy says, “He bite me on the armpit — like this.”

On the very next page, Little Critter tells the teacher about his bully. I said, “That’s good to tell the teacher when somebody’s bothering you. Do you know who else you can tell?”

“Um.”

Big sister chimed in: “You can tell Mommy and Daddy.”

Unfortunately, Little Critter doesn’t tell his Mom. In fact, Little Critter suspects Mom knows he’s pretending to be sick, “but she let me stay home anyway.”

Little Critter’s little sister advises her brother to give the bully a punch. Having had his project destroyed by the bully, the bully warns Little Critter he’ll get him later. And at the end of the day, Little Critter and his bully fight in front of the school as the buses are loading.

In 1999, at the advent of zero tolerance policies toward violence in schools, Just a Bully has a faculty member break up the fight, scold both fighters, and the fighters are free to get on the same bus.

After Little Critter’s little sister humiliates the bully on the bus, Little Critter and his sister ride home together on the bus, and as I close the book, I see Boy make a fist with his right hand and start hitting his open left palm.

“What are you doing?”

“I punchin’ the crocodiles.”

“Why are you punchin’ the crocodiles?”

“Them pickin’ on him.”

“What are you going to do if someone picks on you at school?”

“I going to punch them.”

“Son, I don’t want you punching anybody. What else can you do?”

“I going to point at him and say ‘I don’t like that.’”

Well, that’s something.

Yesterday, my wife had a parent-teacher conference at Boy’s school. She met with his last teacher, as Boy’s only been in his new classroom for a month. The teacher asked how things are going for him now, and my wife said, “We ask him every day how school was, and he says, ‘Good O – – – wasn’t there.’”

The teacher said, “Yes, for some reason they just seemed to butt heads.”

They just seemed to butt heads.

What a fanciful world we try to live in sometimes. Maybe by imagining these children are merely butting heads, one can imagine there are no problems at home. If children are butting heads, they just have a personality conflict and there aren’t deeper issues that need to be resolved. Regardless, I’m happy we got Boy out of that classroom.

Yesterday, my wife sent me a link, and I’ve seen it in my research, but I don’t know why I’ve not referenced it before. Boys Town sponsors http://www.parenting.org. A search for bully provides a number of articles — updated since the new year: “How to help the victim.” “The Bully, The ‘Bullied’ and The Bystander.” And “How To Deal With a Bully.” Much of the advice is directed to teens as they have the communication skills necessary to be able to make clear the problem. So when bullying is happening in preschool, I think the onus is on the parents and the school. The specific article my wife sent was “Biting, Bullies and Other Bad Behavior at Preschool.” The most important advice is directed at the teachers: Children who are bullying others should be closely monitored.” I’m glad we moved Boy from that classroom, but are there other kids still suffering?

 

A bully update

February 11, 2008

It’s a bad weather day.  No school for Boy, Big Sister, or me. 

I do, however, have an update on Boy’s plight.  He’s in a new classroom, with a new teacher, and he’s making new friends.  Same school though, so that means Boy and O (his friend that bites and hits even though “friends don’t hit”) have lunch together.  I figure there can be safety at lunch, because all the adults are present watching over the little table. 

Then again, just last week, according to my wife (who I trust not to fabricate stories of this nature), O grabbed a beater from the counter (yes, the kind you would find attached to a mixer) and hit a younger kid’s arm with it as she and Boy were hanging up his coat.  O is evidently still not suspended or expelled.  But if he is, what happens to him? 

Some folks probably wonder why I should care.  A lot of folks have wondered what the deal is with the preschool itself, but I keep coming back to this other kid’s parents. 

I recognize that one solution is communication.  But for a lot of preschoolers I keep hearing parents and teachers demanding that these children – bully and victim — “use their words.”  Clearly they don’t have these words that we want them to use.  And have you tried holding a conversation with one of these kids?  Do you recognize how easily persuaded they are?  How easily you can get them to say what you want, or how easily an idea can be put into their heads?

Until the kids are old enough, you’ve got to work on educating the parents and continue teaching the kids as best you can until they’ve reached the developmental milestone that helps them control their own behavior. 

There have to be programs out there, and I imagine there’s funding through grants that would support bringing programs in, but how do you make parents attend?

Though how hard would it be, really?  If you’re a private school, make it a condition of enrollment.  If you want your kid to go to our preschool, you — the parent — have to participate in our sessions.  At http://amy34.livejournal.com, there’s the tale of a co-op preschool that requires its participating parents to attend various seminars.  One such seminar she attended was on anger and bullies, I’d love to have all parents where Boy goes attend that one.  But the ultimate solution the seminar had for bullies saddens me as much as it does the author.  Sometimes you just have to hit back.  Amy’s not the only one to make such a suggestion either — not that she makes the suggestion as it came from the presenter of the seminar.  A famous children’s book author’s suggested the same, and at one time I was appalled, but I’m not as strong in that conviction anymore.               

Riddle

February 4, 2008

Here’s a riddle for you:  How does a preschool child handle a bully?

He doesn’t. 

A preschool child doesn’t know what a bully is. 

Case in point is the story out of Fargo about the Frohliche Kinder Preschool, “Troupe busts up school bullying”.  Children in the article suggested ways to counter bullies:  “Don’t let the bullies hit” suggested one.  Or as my son has learned in preschool:  “Gentle touches.” 

The story discusses one way to address bullying in schools, and that’s educating children early through drama (or in this case a puppet show). 

The script has one puppet warding off his bullies with pillow and helmet according to author Mila Koumpilova, and his puppet friends suggest telling an authority figure instead.  The show is followed by discussion between actors and students about ways to handle bullies, and sharing information with an adult is urged.  As I’ve indicated before though, getting any information, let alone accurate, out of a child about his day at preschool can be daunting:  “‘At this age, you can’t just sit and talk to the kids,’ says Kimberly Larson, owner of Brighter Beginnings Preschool in Fargo, where the ‘Safe at School’ group performed to riveted crowds in January. ‘When you have the puppets and the music, they can comprehend it a bit more easily.'”   

But preschool bullies are a problem according to the article, so I’m not necessarily overreacting.  “Wendy Troop-Gordon, a North Dakota State University child development professor and expert on bullying, says full-blown bullies occasionally crop up as early as preschool. Generally, though, kids at that age act out as a way to communicate or test the limits of appropriate behavior, not to intimidate and terrorize. Still, she thinks, preschool would be a great time to start an age-appropriate discussion.”

 Children this age tend to assume bullies all use physical violence, according to the article, but what happens when a young child threatens physical violence, and how does the other young child tell the difference?


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 42 other followers