It was my first parent-teacher interview on Friday. I kind of get the feeling I failed.

We met with my daughter’s pre-school teachers on Friday. It was scheduled to be a ten minute interview, ours went for forty minutes. They said that there is absolutely nothing “wrong” with her, but they are “wondering” about her. She is behind in most of the developmental milestones except her fine motor skills and painting where they said she was extremely advanced. They recommended we look into specialized schools. Not as in special needs, but as in art-focused. They said she would benefit from smaller class sizes; because she is so well-behaved and not a problem child at all, it would be easy for her to “slip through the cracks” and get overlooked. Now my head is spinning from researching schools—public, separate, private, charter—all of which seem to have comparable class sizes and all the specialized schools have high academic entrance requirements. It seems far too early to be worrying about her grades and yet that is exactly where I am. But I’ll think about that tomorrow when I’ll need to start calling around to the numbers they gave us. For now back to her being extremely advanced in art; I could have told them that and I wanted to give them a whole presentation on her artwork, had I only taken my laptop with me to the interview… Her teachers had thought that it was a rapid new development because for the first while all her pre-school paintings looked like this: Just big fields of colour. We thought it might be down to the gigantic brushes and paint cakes that they used. Or maybe she was stressed or didn’t like to paint with the other kids. She would come home from pre-school and be right back to doing her intricate paintings.

Poppy’s home painting 1, Oct. 2011.
Poppy’s home painting 2, Oct. 2011

So they were surprised to hear that she had been doing these for a while and told us it was very advanced for four years old. I wanted to talk more about her painting because not only does she have incredible concentration and focus while she paints, and talk about exactly what it is that she is painting, and she has started to draw whole figures as well as faces, but I think she is also starting to pick up on what I am painting beside her and copy it. She seemed to be doing it a bit in the summer but I wasn’t sure if it was a fluke or not.

My June 1st painting.
Poppy’s June 1st painting.

Here are the June 1st paintings that we did when I really started to wonder if she was picking up on what I was doing. Then last Saturday we had studio painting time together and again she seemed to pick up on similar colours and compositional elements  (my November 19th one is still in progress, I’ll post more on it once I finish…). I do feel very excited that my suspicions about her artistic ability have been somewhat validated and I guess we’ll just take the rest one day at a time. I do believe that it will all work out. And that I will stress and worry far more than I need to throughout the entire process.

My November 19th painting.
Poppy’s November 19th painting.

7 thoughts on “It was my first parent-teacher interview on Friday. I kind of get the feeling I failed.

  1. I am so glad to hear that they recognize her artistic ability because she has oodles of it…just like her mom. I am wondering if maybe they see a different Poppy at school, just like they were seeing very different art from her for a long time. Maybe she is shy, nervous around other kids so she doesn’t seem to be at the same developmental level. Maybe she is slightly behind, but many kids do catch up. Lots of maybes…your head must be spinning. Dayna, you are a wonderful mother. In no way have you failed. You have nurtured your artistic child and guess what? She is turning out to be quite the artist.

    1. Thank you Laura :) There are lots of maybes and lots of things to worry about and I am an excessive worrier anyway. It does sound like they see a very different Poppy at school. I think it will be fine, but not without a lot of worrying first.

  2. You seem to have been doing a good job of parenting so far! She’s an awesome kid! (Also, liking the look of that November painting :) )

    1. Thanks Pick :) I am so excited that she (so far) loves to paint with me in the studio–I never expected to have an artistic child. Dreamed about it, but did not expect it.

  3. Your not a bad parent!
    I imagine it was hard to hear but koodoos on your pre school taking the time to sit and chat about what they could forsee as issues, that does not happen anymore in our education system unless you are in private/charter, small class size school. Teachers know what to watch for and really in Poppys case maybe it is just as simple as another year of pre school for socialization – no biggie. Looking at her art from school makes me think she was a little intimidated and just maybe was copying what the other un-artistic kids were doing and at home she is in her comfort zone. Cherishs boys go to a charter school. It is great! They go to Suzuki here in Edmonton and love it. One of the awesome things about it is if youre a slight weirdo/gifted (I mean that in the nicest /greastest way possible) kid you fit in. Its full of gifted weirdo children, who excel and dont get lost in the shuffle. Its alot of work on the teachers and the parents side, but I am telling you my moms dayhome kids who go to Suzuki are honestly at least a year ahead of the kids who are in same grade non-charter public school. But i think most of those schools have wating list so not to stress you out start looking into them sooner or later. And worse case scenario you move back here for Miss Poppy to go to school :) Andlet me repeat not a bad parent!

    1. Ah, thank you Coral! There is a charter school here that I was looking at that is Art focused; It’s called the Calgary Arts Academy . How cool would that be?! But they don’t take very many students so I guess it is good that we are looking now.

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