Friday, September 19, 2014

Getting to know our boy

I think Biscuit's teacher might have gotten more than she bargained for. She was crazy enough to ask me questions about my favorite boy!

We got these questionnaires called "Partnering with Families" that are supposed to help the teachers and assistants better understand the kids. But the form they sent home was a list of questions with room to write about a sentence underneath each one.

Well that just wouldn't do! I copied and pasted the questions into a document and set to typing!

I told Jeff that I felt a little bad writing so much, but at the same time, I figure the more they know about Biscuit, the better they can teach him and help him learn.

Plus, and this might be selfish on my part, I figured that it couldn't hurt that the teacher sees that Jeff and I are willing to put time and effort into helping our boy learn. And giving her more than she bargained for on the questionnaire was a good way to do that.

So here's what we came up with:

Partnering with Families

What is your child most excited about learning?

Griffin really wants to learn to read. He loves learning new words (the bigger the better!) and what they mean. He also loves rhyming words.

How does your child typically approach new things such as meeting new people or going to new places? 

Griffin is really outgoing and loves to meet new people. We have trouble getting out of Target because he introduces himself and strikes up conversations with the cashiers. 

He loves to talk with adults, but often struggles with kids his own age. He’s an only child and has more than once been shut down by groups of kids at the park. He asked to play with them, but they told him no. It’s made him a little hesitant to approach groups of kids who already seem to know each other.

Griffin loves going new places and always asks lots of questions of Jeff and me and others, such as employees at the science center.

How do you help your child prepare for new experiences?

When Griffin is going to try something he’s never done before, we try to walk him through what the situation will be like, what’s expected of him and what part he’ll need to play. 

He loves Peter Pan, so we took him to UNCG for a production of “Peter Pan.” We explained that he would need to be quiet and sit still during the show, but if he had questions, he could whisper to me or wait until intermission. When we give him instructions, we ask him to repeat them to us until we feel like he understands what’s expected.

What new things would you like your child to learn?  Why are these important to you?

Jeff and I are excited about him learning to read and write. Jeff is a writer, and I’m an editor, so words are important to us. But it’s also a good way to express yourself. Being able to write well and explain your thoughts can provide a great deal of confidence. 

And math is important, too. Griffin loves to create groups and patterns, so I think he’ll find certain aspects of math quite interesting.

How does your child show emotions (e.g. happiness, sadness, surprise, frustration, etc.)?  How do you respond (e.g. when they show happiness, frustration, etc.)? 

Luckily, we’ve seen way more happiness from Griffin than sadness. He’s just a happy-go-lucky kid. We often tease him by saying, “I wish you’d cheer up!” And he thinks it’s quite funny. 

Sadness and frustration are often expressed through tears. He doesn’t like to fail and can sometimes have a defeatist attitude. Like, if he doesn’t get something right the first time, he says, “I just can’t do it, Mom.” 

We try to encourage him and compare what he’s going through with things he’s dealt with before or with things Jeff and I have been through. For example, Griffin takes piano lessons, and he gets upset to the point of crying when he can’t get a song quite right. So I remind him of times he’s heard me mess up while I was playing and also how much practice it took for me to learn to play. 

Sometimes when Griffin is playing with other kids, he doesn’t know how to handle it when they don’t want to play what he wants to play. He will often say he doesn’t want to play anymore or will get upset. We encourage him to take turns. 

Griffin is also extremely routine-oriented. He forms habits quickly and likes things done a certain way. So we try to find the balance between allowing him to have some control over certain situations and learning to be flexible.

What does your child like to do at home or with family and friends (e.g. favorite games, books, toys, activities)?

Griffin loves books. We’re reading the Magic Treehouse Series right now. And he’s really enjoying bringing home library books. He also loves board games and card games. We have Go Fish, Cootie, Hi-Ho Cherrio, Left, Center, Right, etc. 

He also loves to play outside, including baseball and tag. 

He has three also-only-children friends that we meet at bounce houses, parks and other places. He also enjoys spending time with out-of-town cousins. 

Right now with his toys, he’s all about superheroes, pirates, Peter Pan, Ninja Turtles, magnets, Legos, firefighters, knights and cowboys.

What can we do to help your child learn his/her best?

Griffin responds well to praise. We don’t make a fuss over every little thing, but we do let him know when he does something especially well. 

He can depend too much on praise, though, so we’re talking with him about how being proud of himself is just as important, if not more so, than us or you being proud of him. 

He’s eager to learn new things and responds well to explanation about how things work and why things matter.

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