Preschool Pressure: When Your Child Scores Below Expectations

I was a nerdy, book-loving, honor roll student, and I always imagined if I had kids, they would be too. So the day my son’s first preschool assessment arrived in the mail and that crummy little chart revealed he scored “Below Expectations” in Every Single Area, it came as such a crushing blow that I just sat down and cried.

I cried because I was sure he was the smartest kid ever, and now I had this paper telling me my son wasn’t meeting the minimum expectations of a preschooler.

I quickly tried to wipe away my tears when my son came into the room and asked what was wrong. I wanted to shout that these tests were obviously wrong! The school is wrong! And I was ready to shove that assessment right up the butt of whoever did this so-called “assessing.”

Instead I threw the offending paper in the trash and decided to take my son to the library so we could get a few new ABC books. I wasn’t going to let him fall behind. I know he’s smart and clever, and everything will eventually click.

childhood-development-not-a-race

So today when I dropped my son off at school, I stayed to watch him through the window, to see how he did on his sign-in sheet. He smiled and waved and blew me a kiss as he walked toward the paper. There was a big T at the top of the sheet and a lot of T’s all over the page from other kids signing in.

So then my son very carefully drew a big “K” and then what I think might be a circle with legs.

He turned around with a big smile and looked so proud that I gave him a big thumbs up.

We’ve been working on this sign-in sheet thing for a little while. Working on letters and spelling. For example, I’ll ask him to spell CAT, C-A-T, CAT. He’ll then answer, “B-5-7-A.”

That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works! Some of those aren’t even letters!

I don’t know if he is just being silly, not good at following directions, or really can’t comprehend what it means to use letters to spell. It’s frustrating, but I don’t want him to know I’m frustrated about this whole scoring below expectations thing.

And then sometimes I suspect he’s just messing with me.

spelling kid funny
He was supposed to be spelling C-A-T

I am going to be interested in seeing his second assessment results and hoping he does better. I didn’t know we’d already be feeling school pressure in preschool! It’s ridiculous really. Anyone else go through the dreaded “Below Expectations” assessment experience?

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8 thoughts on “Preschool Pressure: When Your Child Scores Below Expectations

  1. Dont and I mean dont get crazy about these things…marathon not a sprint…end results matter…I’d write more but om on phone at gym

  2. Yes! Absolutely same experience with us! I felt like the teachers didn’t see what I knew- that Zoe was so smart and creative in our interactions. It try working with her and was convinced she was playing around with me when she kept getting things wrong or claiming she forgot what we just talked about. I did end up holding her back after talking with teachers and don’t know what happened but something really clicked this year. I agree- everyone advances at their own pace! I’m trying to not stress it anymore and just do the best we can ❤️ I’m sorry you are going through it! I hope it gets easier

    1. That’s what I keep hearing too…that it will suddenly click. And I don’t want to get pushy and have him not like school stuff! So I’ve just been trying to keep it light but add a little more learning type activities. Or try and turn things he likes into a learning experience. But not enough so he suspects something lol.

  3. Don’t stress you are doing all of the right things and he’s gonna get it – who knows maybe the numbers he uses are something more than what the teacher wants ? Maybe he’s gifted –

    1. I think he’s come a long way from the first assessment. I’ll be interested to see what the second says and if improvement is shown.
      He just does these things that surprise me all the time how smart he can be. But he’d rather stomp on a book and than open it up and read it 🙄. I think it’s a case of just being a typical boy as well.

  4. I haven’t had this experience with Maeve but my brother’s oldest daughter was similar. She was talking in 5 word sentences before 2, has always been an incredible little artist, memorized books after one read – wow! she’s can read already!? – was super goofy to the point of driving you mad but it was soooooo cute. She was, and still is, so smart. It’s just on a different level than 123, ABC. But now in grade 3 she’s really struggling to read. They practice all the time and it’s not clicking. She’s not grasping maths for her age. She’s using that fun toddler goofiness that she learned to use to mask her anxiety. I don’t want to make you worry but it’s just a different view point from the other comments. I would say keep an eye on it. It doesn’t hurt to start some strategies now. My brother didn’t and now she’s 8 now and it’s a struggle because she understands and she’s embarrassed.

    1. I am definitely keeping an eye on it but trying not to stress over it. We are still practicing and trying to build on what he learns at school but sometimes it seems to make him so mad and upset. Like he’s angry about learning, or angry that he’s not learning. I try to be so patient but sometimes it’s like, I know you know this! Why can’t you just answer the question?? I fear that if I try too hard to help him, it will push him away from wanting to learn at all. It’s going to be a looooong process. And a learning process for both of us.

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