Preschool wants to separate

Discussion in 'The Toddler Years(1-3)' started by JuliaS82, May 20, 2014.

  1. JuliaS82

    JuliaS82 Active Member

    My two have attended the same daycare since they were infants. When they were younger (toddlers) the teachers would gently suggest that I separate them, because they had a tendency to pick on each other. I would ignore the suggestions because that's kind of a ridiculous reason... they were toddlers, come on!
    A couple of weeks before they turned 3 (Late February) they were moved up to the preschool class. At this age the fights are few and far between (yay!) and the two play great together. This is, in our preschool teacher's eyes.. a bad thing...
    Add to this that my son is generally more reserved than my daughter. When Charlie is uncomfortable saying or doing something, Catie sees it. And since she knows and cares about him she will help him out. Again, to the teacher.. a bad thing...
    In our parent/teacher conference yesterday I was informed that Charlie doesn't want to ask for help, hug or otherwise talk to the teacher. It is at the point where if he gets upset he will curl up in a ball rather than have to interact with the teacher. This has never happened in previous classrooms. He has always loved his previous teachers. There has always been an acclimation period, but that has previously only lasted 2-4 weeks.. it's now been 3 months!
    So the teacher "strongly suggested" separating my twins. She thinks that they play together too much, and Catie helps him too much. She wants Charlie to be on his own to "force him out of his shell".
    Am I crazy to think that its the teacher that's the problem?? I've been having issues at dropoff ever since moving to this classroom and I've been going down the list of possible reasons (getting used to new environment, growing, hungry, tired, constipated, etc) and yesterday it dawned on me that I never considered that he just didnt want to be with the teacher.
    I'm actually upset with myself at this point for not noticing what the problem was before. I sat my son down and brought up one of her examples. She said he won't ask for help when he's in the bathroom. I talked to him about yelling for the teacher if he needs help and he said "No.. I can't do that. The teacher would tell me no yelling in the classroom". The way he said it broke my heart.. I'm fairly certain he's afraid of the teacher.
    Has anyone here experienced similar?
    What would you do? Ask to switch teachers?
  2. gina_leigh

    gina_leigh Well-Known Member

    Have you thought about meeting with the director to discuss your concerns regarding the teacher?
    That said, I think it does should like it might really benefit Charlie to be separated from Catie. I don't think it's bad that she wants to help her brother, it's really sweet. But he does need to learn and be comfortable doing things on his own. 
    If Catie is happy with this teacher and classroom, maybe moving Charlie to another class/teacher would be a good thing for both of them. And it might put him with someone he is more comfortable with. (I don't think it's all the teacher though, honestly. And most teachers would correct yelling in class.)
    2 people like this.
  3. Rollergiraffe

    Rollergiraffe Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    It may be the teacher; I feel like you have to trust your gut when it comes to things like this. We've had a problem with our teacher at daycare and I felt off about her from day 1 and she's done a lot of things we disagree with and feel have had a negative effect on one of our sons. That being said, there are some areas where we've had a difference of opinion on what should go on in the classroom and she has sometimes been right. I think it's important not to let your feelings about the teacher cloud your judgment about whether a certain action or practice might benefit your child. I would probably let her try separating them for a few weeks and re-evaluate after that. Does separating mean he'd have a different teacher? Maybe that would help alleviate the situation.
  4. ECUBitzy

    ECUBitzy Well-Known Member

    I agree with the fine ladies before me. Bad teacher situations are just bad all around, but sometimes it helps to try to control as many other obstacles to determine that the teacher really is the problem (we've also had some issues this year, so I relate).

    Is there a reason you don't want them separated? I wrote about our experience on the main page and I totally understand how tough the decision can be.
  5. sharongl

    sharongl Well-Known Member

    I have to agree with the others here.  What you are seeing as cute--your daughter helping your son, isn't normal 3 year old behavior.  It isn't the responsibility of your daughter to have to be the go between for your son, and as long as she is there, he will continue to rely on her.  Many of the thoughts I have about separation are from my MIL--she is an ID twin who was the dependent one.  She is always looking after to make sure my boys stay independent.  She has a lot of psychological issues that she feels are the result of being the dependent twin--especially when her sister died in their twenties.
    Try a separation, you may find that he will start to really shine!
  6. rrodman

    rrodman Well-Known Member

    I think you are confusing the two issues. This teacher may be an issue, and you need to explore and consider that. But it also sounds like you should separate them. It's not good for your son or your daughter for him to lean on her all the time. Even the picking on each other would be reason to separate. It's not normal behavior for one toddler to consistently pick on another, and it's not a great situation for either.
  7. jjzollman

    jjzollman Well-Known Member

    I agree. The dependency is one of the biggest reasons I'd choose to separate. My boys are together in kindergarten, but every year in preschool and now KDG, I've checked in periodically regarding how they are together and if the teachers have felt they need to be separated. It isn't healthy for either of your children - your daughter deserves to not be "needed" every day during school and your son deserves to gain confidence.

    I know the thought of it is hard! :hug:
  8. kingeomer

    kingeomer Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I have to agree with all the ladies who have posted.  Not to discount that there could be an issue with the teacher but I would not think separation would be a bad thing for them.  Like others have said, I'd at least give a trial period (one month to two months) and see how it goes.  I would also ask how is Charlie with his peers outside of his twin?  Does he interact with them? 
    Being without her would force him to speak up for himself and interact with the teacher without her as a buffer.  The same might be true for peers. 
  9. KCMichigan

    KCMichigan Well-Known Member

    I will be the lone dissenter based on what you shared.
    I would FIRST see if a teacher change impacted the anxiety your DS has and/or his withdrawal from school enjoyment. That alone may make all the difference and enable them to function better instead of as a protector/dependent.
    If they picked on each other as toddlers, I would set that aside and look at now. Do they play independently (outside of school?)? Do they play well together? Do they have different activities that they enjoy on their own?
    If they have matured a bit and do well outside of school--- with school being the only time that one twin 'mothers' the other, than I would try to adjust the school setting. THEN, If that does not help, separation may be beneficial.
    I love this infographic for data=based information on twins. Some of it supports together and some supports apart.

    We also consulted a psychologist, the girls pediatrician, and did  A LOT of reading on studies of twins (what is out there). I wanted to make sure that I was not splitting/keeping together based on my own emotional response, but rather based on data based research and my own twins personalities/situations.
    Maybe consulting an outside source would be helpful?
    This is also from someone that has their DDs together in class since PreK (they are in 3rd). Mine are not co-dependent, I but I have one twin that would easily slip into that role if she had a teacher that she did not have a good match with. She would be anxious with a stricter/firm teacher no matter what-- if she was alone in a classroom I think it would be 10x worse anxiety-wise. Luckily, we have had great fits in school so far. My DDs have a blend of shared friends, interests, and activities. They play together a lot at home, but only occasionally at school (and it has always been that way). They are fraternal.
  10. w101ttd

    w101ttd Well-Known Member

    Personally, I would separate them. Being together at school is actually not the best option. However, I do understand your feeling. I felt the same when the principal chased me to the parking lot and begged me to keep them in separated classes just for couple months. But I have to tell you that was the best advice!

    They need to learn to be independent. And the most importance is they need to feel they are 2 different people, not " I'm 1 of 1 and my sis/bro is 2 of 1." And they need to break the separation anxiety like "I'm lost without my twin." Beginning of the school yr, my kids never wanted to play with anybody. When I asked "who are your friends?" They always answered "Nolan" or "Michelle." Now, they do have their own friends. They do like different things, projects at school. And they recognize themselves as "I'm Nolan." And "I'm Michelle" not "Nolan and Michelle." They are 2 individuals. And they are developing beautifully and happily and very differently :)

    To be successful requires many factors! Besides smart, hard working, aggressive,...Independent is one of them!

    Now in our house, the "twins" term never comes up. It only comes up when somebody ask how old are they? Then "oh they're twins." Before at schools and YMCA, ppl always said "the twins." Now they say "Nolan and Michelle" which I prefer :)

    Good luck! And don't feel bad. Change is a good thing and they need it. :)
    1 person likes this.
  11. JuliaS82

    JuliaS82 Active Member

    Thank you everyone for your responses. Allow me to clarify a few things...
    In their previous classroom (as well as all other previous classrooms) they played independently without issue. Sure, when they were younger they would occassionally pick on each other but that was just them testing social boundaries with each other. Who better to experiment with than your twin? In the previous classrooms we NEVER had issue with them being dependent on each other, never had issue with Charlie not wanting to speak, answer questions, or ask for help.
    This morning I went to their old room and spoke with the previous teacher. She was saddened by the description of how Charlie is doing in his new class and her thought is that Charlie has only become dependent on Catie because the teacher just isn't the right personality fit.
    I then took all of that info and met with the school's director. She was not at all surprised that I was there and told me that she had been worried that the teacher's personality was too harsh for my kids. She told me that this teacher has a tendency to be very "by-the-book" and if a child isn't acting the way she thinks they should be, she will immediately try to force that child to adhere to her standards. This type of strong personality might work for some kids, but the director knows that my husband and I are the complete opposite personality. She said sometimes its just a matter of kids adjusting to that type of personality, but after 3 months its clear that it is just not working out. She suggested another teacher in a room down the hall that more closely matches the personality type that my children need. I got lucky that there were openings in the room and we're going to start moving them over (together) next week.
    If the two were still fighting - or affecting each other's development - I would separate them in a heartbeat. But what I see of Charlie at home is completely opposite of how he was described by his teacher. They play well together, but they also play well on their own. They like different things and used to have different sets of friends. It seems that this teacher that made Charlie collapse inward and turn to Catie for comfort. My kids are introverts, like me and my husband. Splitting them apart at this age would only make the situation worse. I see a lot of myself in my kids (especially Charlie) and consider them lucky to have each other. When I was in preschool I didn't have a twin to turn to. I didn't "shine" by being alone. I completely collapsed inward and didn't say a single word to the teachers throughout my time at preschool. It was a nightmare. I realize the majority of people are extroverts so maybe you all won't understand what that's like. I just plan to be a better parent to my introverts than my own extroverted mother was to me (always trying unsuccessfully to force me out of my "shell").
    Again, thanks for all of the different perspectives. I always appreciate the support of this forum. :)
  12. jjzollman

    jjzollman Well-Known Member

    Sounds like an awesome plan!!
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