As you know the twins are in different classes for grade 1 and both seemed very happy with this when they left with their new classes, and from my last post you would know it was me that was the most seemed upset about this. I have been questioning why and I believe that I thought the girls would be more emotional by being apart than they were. In reality they were fine.
I was not opposed to separating the kids and believe that this will help in their development and confidence. However due to past behaviour and of course asking the kids what they wanted to do regarding school, I thought being together was the way to go. The girls both told me together and separately that they wished to be in the same class. So I thought that this would be the best way to go.
Last Thursday was the girls second day of school and one kid was very clingy and upset. She did not want me to leave. I stayed for a little bit and tried to remove myself from the classroom with little disruption to my girl and of course the classroom and teacher. My attempts did not work and she was hanging onto me very tightly and like her life depended on it. I was not sure if she was just a little sensitive that day or if she was missing her sister. She seemed okay to be in a class without her twin so I did not bring it up. I did not want to allow her to think that she cannot be in a classroom and develop by herself.
When I left the teachers aide said that she could be the class helper. She sat near the teacher and was promised to help. I thought this was great as this was my queue to exit the room and when I looked back she had a smile on her face. My little one does love helping and doing things for the teacher and others.
My other little girl, was busy with her work in her class and did not look bothered. I waved her goodbye and she gave me a wave and a smile. All good I thought.
The girls are in a composite class of kids who are grade 1 and grade 2 students. The teachers and students are all learning about each other and understanding what level each child is at for work and learning names and so on.
The kid who was clingy was very upset on Thursday night and told me that she was not allowed to help in the class, that the older kids got different work and that she was doing Kindy work and it was boring! She told me she wanted to learn everything and do more and that the teacher was not allowing her to look at the bigger kids worksheets.
I sat down and listened to what she was saying and explained the following:
- The class is made up of kids who are at different levels for work – she is in grade 1 while the other kids are in grade 2. The teacher gave each child different work due to their ability and year. It is not that she might not be able to do it, just due to getting to know students and finding out what kids can and cannot do. I also said that it is only day 2 of school and I am sure things will be harder soon and that she will be challenged by the grade 1 work as well.
- The teacher is trying to get to know all the kids with some fun games and just because it is easy and similar things that they did last year does not mean that she will not learn new things. From what I understand the teacher is easing the kids into the week to then settle them and then coordinate the work in the weeks to come.
- I asked her what she was not allowed to help with and she did not say, but said everything. I said maybe there was a valid reason for this. I said, that I am sorry that she did not help and that she was upset.
- I also learnt that the older kids counted to 100 unassisted and by themselves and the grade 1’s did not. She and her sister can do it and she wanted to show the teacher how clever she was with counting and numbers, but was not given the chance.
I don’t know if I got a straight story about the day but I know the following things, she was upset, she was told she would help and then did not and could not show that she could do higher work like the grade 2’s.
Friday came and this was day 3 of the first week of school. I felt uneasy as I had to go and have a chat with one of my child’s teacher’s and it was only day 3 of the first week. I did not want to be seen as a problem parent or fussy mother, but I thought I should address some of the issues early on. If I left it and it got overlooked due to me not saying anything I would hate myself. I don’t want me not speaking up to be the reason that a child gets frustrated and does not try at school.
- I told the teacher that I do understand that it is early days and just the first couple of days of school. I know that she is dealing with different levels in the classroom, I do understand that grade 1 kids might not get the grade 2 work and that is fine. However if a grade 1 child is clever and can attempt the grade 2 work why not let them.
- I asked about the fact that she got upset that she could not help out in class after she was told she could. The teacher did not realise and said that she will make sure she can help next time.
- I mentioned that my girls are the same age as some of the grade 2 kids due to the fact that they had their birthday at the end of the year so therefore were 5 before they started school. The twins will be turning 7 this year when a majority of grade 1’s are turning 6. Some are like the girls and are turning 7 but they are a year older than their year.
- Due the kids not being able to be at school when they were 5, both had 2 years at pre-school and now kindy so they are bursting at the seams to learn and do more.
- I just wanted to address the fact that she is bright, wants to do more and is getting upset that she is seen as a little kid who cannot. The teacher understood and I am hoping that if she does grade 1 work she might get the chance to do grade 2 or at least see it.
- It is a new class, new teacher, and kids. I told the teacher that I do understand it is early days and it is a big change for the girls.
My immediate thought with the composite class was that they will learn so much. My fear now is that they will be stuck with grade 1 work even if they do well, above and beyond. I hope that they get exposed to more being in a class with grade 2 kids and with more things to learn.
I am worried it will be an impediment and they will get angry if they cannot learn more in this class (If they excel at grade 1 work that is; I would just be happy if they do well with what is offered in grade 1) Has this happened to you?
Our school is great and the teachers are amazing. I have done my part and mentioned how my little girl was feeling and what she is capable of. Let’s just see what happens in term 1. It is all new and a learning curve for the girls. Grade 1 is a big step compared to Kindy.
I must say that the start of grade 1 was more stressful for me than the start of Kindergarten. I was concerned about the kids being split up, the issue with one of the kids being worried and upset, and there is another issue; The school has had more enrollments and there will be another class of kids for grade 1. Gosh, will they split up the kids again?????
I had a word to the principal and mentioned that we are fine with the twins being in different classes, but thought that it might be a drama if they get moved again. I mentioned that if we can, can the kids stay where they are? I do understand if we have to move due to numbers and was told I will be consulted if this would happen (Not sure if it will happen but I have not received a phone call with any updates, so think all is well). I think due to the big change of different classes, and all different ways of doing things, moving kids again might not be a good idea. Have your kids been moved after settling into a classroom and a teacher?
Today is the start of week 2 for school and the kids have now been told of the new class for grade 1. Both kids are telling me they want to move to the new classroom…. oh the joys of grade 1 currently. I believe that it might take a while to adjust to the new way of doing things but all will be fine! It might take a good month to do this but it will happen.
How have your twins handled the start to school? Are they in Kindy, Grade 1 or another grade. Maybe in high school? Do they share a classroom or have they been separated for a while now. Let us know.
JanelleFebruary 11, 2015
I started grade one already knowing how to read and count, so I was placed in a composite class of grade ones and twos. Though I found it frustrating as well at the beginning, being lumped together with all the other grade ones, it was absolutely the best place for me and I’m so thankful for the experience I was given.
In the composite class, I was allowed to do the grade two work upon the completion of my grade one work, so I spent much of my time there doing double the coursework. By the end of the year, I’d learned twice as many spelling words, I’d read every single book we had in the classroom (and many in the library), and I’d had a grade two buddy for an introduction to writing our own stories. When the grade twos started learning about the multiplication tables, I was able to hear and eventually got to try them out myself. And because I made friends with the grade twos, they told me about many of the fun things they were learning, which got me excited enough to ask my teacher if I could, too. I definitely excelled in that setting, and when I got up to grade four and another composite class of fours and fives occurred, I was placed in the mix again. Those two years in composite classes were by far my favourite years of elementary.
Fear not, your smart little girls will settle in and absorb much more than you can even imagine in grade one. It might be scary now, but once the teacher knows your little one and what she is capable of, there’ll be no holding her back from what she wants to do. I was incredibly shy and I still managed to speak up about what I wanted to learn.
SuzanneFebruary 11, 2015
Hi Janelle, Thanks for this. I hope this is what happens with the girls. I’m off to an info session about grade 1. I hope to learn more about how they are structuring things this year. I do think it is good for the girls to mix in a class with older kids at different levels, as I feel they will learn more. I just hope that it happens the way I thought. Will keep you informed of what happens. Thanks Suzanne.