My son is in 1st grade at Montessori school. He does his morning work at school until 2:30 p.m. He is reluctant to do it. After two weeks, his teacher let me know he has not had a single recess because he doesn't do his work when required. She suspended him "at least for a week," she said, because she is fed up with him.
He wet his pants two days in a row at school. The teacher said he smells like urine and can't be around other children because of it. When I asked him why he did not go to pee in the bathroom he said, "because there are monsters in the bathroom." At home, he always asks me to go to the bathroom with him because he is scared.
I am a single parent going to school. His father is not in his life much. Sometimes he calls him but that's all. How can I help him do his job willingly? I think his self esteem has been hurt because the teacher asked me to take him home.
From: Zabata, Stockton, CA
This doesn't sound like a toileting issue or a learning issue, and it isn't about Montessori or its philosophy. It's about this teacher. Even private schools can have duds for teachers.
Talk to the head of the school. I'm not an expert on Montessori but I don't think any head of any school would be happy to hear a teacher is "fed up" with a child. What's more, if I'm reading your letter correctly, she sent him home for a week? In first grade?
(For those readers unfamiliar with Montessori schools, they are private schools based on the teachings of Maria Montessori. There are more than 8,000 Montessori schools in the US and they aren't cheap, so they are popular and obviously successful.)
In the meantime, of course, there's your son, who needs support and empathy and maybe some pocket-sized monster spray to carry in his back pocket that he can take into any bathroom before he uses it. You also need to get a better handle on the work itself to figure out why he doesn't like it. Is it too easy or too hard? Is there a learning issue or is it the teacher and the structure of the work period? You need answers. Don't be afraid to ask the questions, including, "Is this school the right fit for my son?"
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