Slice of Life: Witnessing Pre-school Fits

While going to the post office this morning, I witnessed something I wish I hadn’t. There is a childcare and pre-school across the street from our post office. It was 11:15 a.m. when I came up the street and saw the school bus stop in front of the preschool. Since it is not very nice out today, and the roads have not been plowed yet, I stayed well back of the bus.

Pixabay, free for use images by 7089643.

Soon a woman came out of the building. Then, a little girl got off the bus and proceeded to the door where she dutifully waited to go in. Several minutes later, a little boy – I’m guessing three – got off the bus and then tried to get back on. His progress was stymied by the subsequent flow of other children disembarking. But, he kept trying. Finally, the childcare worker had to hold him back from trying to re-enter the bus.

Then, the hitting ensued. No, the adult did not hit the child. The child hit the child-care worker! Over and over, she was hit by this three-year-old. He continued to try and get around his peers without success. She had him by the sleeve. More hitting. Finally, as the bus emptied, the rest of the children were lined up at the door of the building to go in.

The little boy started to scream. I couldn’t hear what he was screaming. I imagined something like let me go or let me down or I want to go home. By this time the woman, who was quite strong by the look of her, had hoisted him up over her shoulder and proceeded to the doorway.

During all of this, I kept close watch, determined not to move my vehicle until the children, especially the one that was obviously unhappy about being at pre-school or daycare as the case might be, were well away from the road. I could actually envision him breaking away from the adult in charge and into the icy, snow-covered street

Several things went through my mind when I saw this. 1) I felt bad for the childcare worker who had to deal with this behavior the minute the child was off the bus. 2) I felt bad for the rest of the children who had obviously followed directions and lined up at the building’s door, waiting patiently. 3) And, yes, I even felt bad for the little boy causing such a stir. He is either very anxious or fearful or maybe, just used to misbehaving and getting his own way. But at that age, he is the product of how he has been parented or what consequences his misbehavior has brought to him. Maybe, none. Maybe, he’s allowed to have fits. Maybe, he’s just unhappy about being at daycare or preschool. I don’t know.

But, what I do know is that both he and his teacher or childcare worker are probably having a very stressful start to their day. I hope that his behavior is discussed with his parents if it hasn’t been already. While I do understand school phobia and separation anxiety from a child development stand point, hitting your elders or caretakers should never be acceptable and addressed immediately.

Today is Slice of Life: Tuesday. TwoWritingTeachers.org founded this forum years ago. They faithfully run a daily writing challenge in the month of March each year. I have participated in that for the past five years. This year, I will just be jumping in on Tuesdays. Thank you to them for hosting a supportive forum and challenge.

11 thoughts

  1. I remember those preschool drop off fits and the sound of panicked or trying-to-hold-off-the-inevitable children. I sometimes wondered if my own children who eagerly went to school often forgetting the hug I needed loved me less because they didn’t seem to need me as much….but in retrospect, I know I was just one of those lucky parents. The scene you paint is painful!

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    1. I only recall one of mine who clung. But, it was short lived. The preschool teacher was great. There were no buses involved, so the drop off was inside the building with us (as parents) dropping off and picking up. I do think that some education on how to handle some of the outbursts is necessary from either the school or a primary care provider such as a pediatrician or nurse practitioner. It’s similar to allowing your infant to fall asleep on their own – AKA – Ferberizing, named after the doctor that developed the process. I believe his name was Richard Ferber.

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  2. I came to the same thought, who knows what caused the fit but hitting is absolutely unacceptable. This makes me want to send that teacher some flowers of which I can’t, so I’ll send her a prayer. 🙂

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    1. Yes, Lisa. I just commented to another blogger that some education is needed in these situations for the parents on how to handle these situations if they occur. That can come from the the school/teacher or a primary care provider such as a pediatrician or nurse practitioner.

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  3. This is a HARD scene to watch. My heart hurts for the childcare worker who had to take it – because what are you going to do with a young child? And the other children, who are watching this unfold and perceiving it in their own child-minds, and yes. The child who is misbehaving, who has no other way to express himself in this moment. So hard. Like you, I’m hoping there can be some conversation for and about this lovey.

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  4. When we witness something we never know what is the hidden story. Over the past years I have seen an increase of children with mistaken behaviour and difficulty with managing emotions. Our preschool teacher says that teaching the kids is easy, it’s the parents with whom it takes time to teach them how to set boundaries to their children, how to address the tantrums. Sometimes they feel so helpless. This is why I admire the early years teachers – they seem to have an amazing patience and a large pool of knowledge to support both the children and parents.

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    1. As a former pediatric nurse practitioner (extended provider), I often had to educate parents on limit setting. If is extremely difficult to have them understand that they need to follow through on the limits they set. It does not take long for chidren to respond if there is consistency at home. I also envy those that have the patience to work with the very young.

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