Starting first grade
K started first grade and its been quite a ride by our third week in. The first week was wonderful. She was excited, wanted to do her homework immediately, and told me she had a great day each time I picked her up at 4 from her after school daycare (which is actually in the school and staffed with teachers). She has a full schedule of classes from 8 am until 1:30 pm. After that the school’s daycare takes over and serves the kids who stay a hot lunch and then sits them down to do their homework. Daycare gets me off the hook for lunch and most of the homework, although she never does everything assigned there, so we usually have a couple of rows of letters or numbers to write once we get home.
After a wonderful first week, Karen became less enthralled and has had several violent outbursts. She has hit, pushed and scratched several different children. Mostly boys, as opposed to Kindergarten where she seemed to only have problems with girls. We took the issue to K’s therapist who immediately suggested we move her to a different class because the teacher didn’t seem to be dealing with it as well as the psychologist thought she should. We declined that bit of advice and have decided to work with the teach and the psychologist. Both seem to feel that part of her acting out is just the difficulty of starting first grade. Unlike when I was a child in the US, Israel schools begin giving children daily homework assignments during the first week. The goal is to get the children accustomed to doing work at home on a daily basis. From personal experience, I know how hard it is to start to get homework only when your much older. Then it becomes more of a challenge. Our first graders are being taught to budget their time.
K has athletics 3 times a week, after I pick her up at 4pm. She has tennis twice a week and gymnastics once. I wanted to make sure she had a chance to work out her frustrations from sitting still all day in class. She really loves both and I’ve told her that we can continue with them so long as she stops the aggression at school. I mind less if she is difficult at home. I almost want her to be able to keep the lid on her anger at school, and then let it loose at home. At least then I can deal with it directly and not via a teacher, psychologist or school principal.