Monday, November 14, 2011

First Report Card

first school picture, fake grin and all!

Taking a little time to get back in the swing of things, but I promise, I'm trying to get back to regular blogging again!

Big milestone for us last week: we had Oliver's first Parent/Teacher conference! So exciting! I was so anxious to hear how he was doing in school. I know, it's preschool, and as my father-in-law joked, "What, are you worried he might fail Coloring?" No, but I was dying to know how he was getting along with the other kids, what his behavior was like, if he was listening to the teachers and participating and generally enjoying school. We get a sort of one sided viewpoint, which is very little. We know he loves it, but Oliver doesn't talk about school too much. I ask lots of questions on the way home from picking him up, but on most days he's too wiped out to answer. It usually goes something like this:
Me: How was school today.
O: Good.
Me: What was your favorite part of the day?
O: School
Me: What was your favorite thing that you did at school?
O: Centers
Me: Which centers did you like best?
O: marble tower
Me: What else did you do?
O: I can't know that.
Me: So what did you eat for breakfast?
O: I don't know.
Me: What did you have for lunch?
O: Do you know?

And that's about it. Apparently he has school amnesia or something. So obviously I was anxious to get another point of view on his days there. Warning: this post will include some shameless bragging from one proud parent. Hey, it's in my job description!

We met with his teacher, Mrs. T, who Oliver just loves, and I can see why. She's awesome. And not just because she loves Oliver too, but because you can just tell she's a great teacher and really cares. So here's the report (they give W for working on, and G for good progress)

Fine Motor Skills:
W on using crayons, painting, gluing, and using puzzles. Surprisingly, because he adores puzzles and painting at home. She said they often do things differently at school than at home. She said that while he loves crayons, he often still just scribbles, falling back on what he knows, rather than trying something new, like drawing a figure. Typical of his personality. But she did show us a great figure drawing she saved for us, and I've noticed him doing that a little more at home. He really needs to work on scissor skills, which is my fault, because we really just haven't done that at home at all. I really didn't realize he was at the right age for scissors yet. So the past few days I've had them out, and all he wants to do is cut stuff. He refuses to hold the scissors the right way even when we show him how. Stubborn. He comes by that naturally!! He also needs to work on zippers, buttons, and snaps. Again, something I haven't worked on at home much.
He got a G for "builds with blocks," no surprise there. She said if given the choice, he will always choose blocks or some other building type toy.

Gross Motor Skills:
G on almost everything: alternates feet on stairs, hops, balances on left and right foot, kicks a ball, throws a ball. W on catches a ball, which he's actually pretty good when we play ball at home, but not as good as throwing (or hitting it with a bat). She said he's somewhat intimidated by the more aggressive boys in the class, so he doesn't always play ball with them.

He knows his colors, shapes, and body parts (has for a long time).
Social & Emotional: He got G for respecting others, following adult directions, and sharing toys. I was surprised with the sharing toys, but she said he does great, especially in comparison to some of the other kids in the class. There are a few troublemakers. She said he does suffer from "only child syndrome," which made me bristle a little bit, but it wasn't meant as criticism, just as fact. He doesn't have to share toys at home, and especially he doesn't have to share our attention with another child. So he often doesn't want to wait for one of the teachers to help him with something, things like that. He's learning though, that's part of why he's in school. He is definitely a follower. She said for example if another child jumped up in the air, spun around 3 times and then fell on the ground, he'd do it too. So he sometimes follows the "naughty kids" behaviors, but that unlike them, he is easily brought back in line by just a look or calling his name. I've seen the follower behavior too. Every day he walks into the classroom and puts his hand in his mouth and sort of stands back and watches before deciding what to do first. And even kids who are strangers at the playground, he'll start following around and copying what they are doing. Eh, so he won't be president, I think that's actually pretty ok!

Art Skills: again, a W for working on it, but he doesn't always choose it first. But I see the opposite at home, so I think it's just an environment thing.
Music Skills: G for singing and keeping rhythm. She said he is very musical, loves it when they sing, and is also great at rhyming.  Yup, we knew that! He comes by that one naturally too, but a big thank you Music Together!! We really miss it!

Listening and speaking Skills: G's all around with extra stars next to them. She said this is where he really excels. She said he loves books and words, has a great vocabulary, speaks clearly, communicates very well in clear sentences, asks great questions, answers questions, and has great listening skills and attention span! They've "caught" him reading on various occasions. She said someone got out some flashcards that were meant for older kids, and he just started reading a bunch of them, so they kept going and they were shocked at how many words he knew. And other random times, they find him actually reading a word. He also likes to sound words out a lot. I'm finding when we read at home, he'll stop me and ask what a word is and sound it out. And sometimes read along. I do believe a lot of it is memorization. I think he has his father's amazing memorization skills. I mean, he has memorized the entire How the Grinch Stole Christmas book. He even repeats lines from tv shows like Marty does. But I guess memorization is a large part of reading anyway. Mrs. T said she knows that if she worked with him he'd be reading in no time, but there are pluses and minuses to that, and that it's probably better not to push it but just to let it develop naturally as it already has. That is definitely our point of view.

So there you have it, our genius child! I couldn't be prouder, but mostly, I'm just glad that he's having fun in school and getting the social interaction he needs.

Coming, I promise!


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