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broad broad is offline
 
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screaming boy on first day of Kindergarten
Old 08-13-2019, 03:29 AM
 
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I know there are some experienced and helpful teachers out there who can give me some input.

I'm retired teacher/counselor, substitute and volunteer. Yesterday I helped in Kindergarten on the first day. There was a boy who screamed and cried non stop. The AP and Prince tried to help then I volunteered! When I sat next to him he calmed down and he was glued to me for the rest of the day. He kept putting his hand over one ear and replied no to all my questions, repeating mami/papi (hispanic with some English I think). He wouldn't go to the lunchroom and did not eat any lunch brought to him while we sat outside on the bench. My sense is that he's on the autism spectrum. At one point when the classroom nextdoor was empty I let him wander around and he seemed quite happy bouncing around the carpet singing abc. At dismissal which was so hectic and crazy - we all go to different rooms depending on pick up, He fell asleep on my lap. I came home totally exhausted.
The teacher was verbally and obviously very grateful which makes up for a time when we were colleagues and she said something really critical and mean to me! (ha-ha) Bygones.

I'm not there yet today but he's probably arriving and screaming. I plan to go soon.
How does one handle a child like this and will he settle in eventually?
Thoughts appreciated!


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Older kid who speaks Spanish-
Old 08-13-2019, 07:41 AM
 
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We had one of those screamers/refusers. If the child is a recent immigrant, the whole world is different. We had an older Spanish speaker get the child to class. Eventually, the need for the older kid's help diminished.
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Screaming kinder
Old 08-13-2019, 07:43 AM
 
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It sounds like he has had no prior school-like experiences and might be overwhelmed. Also, you mentioned he has limited English? Highly likely he is scared and confused. Teacher needs to keep him close to her, scaffold everything, and maybe assign a partner for a few minutes every hour.
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Old 08-13-2019, 08:50 AM
 
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Can you get a couple of other Spanish speaking kinders to join him at play or choice time? Look to see if he plays and converses with them in Spanish. Let him know it's okay to ask for what he needs in Spanish. His classmates will help.

With just one day under his belt, it's hard to say what's going on here. Low English skills, first time separated from parents, or something more. Try speaking to him in very short sentences with gestures (Eat? Bathroom? Play?) as he may be overwhelmed by all the English jibberish surrounding him.

A little picture schedule may work too.
Circle Time > Table Time > Lunch > Playtime > Mami & Papi

Good luck. When I taught Kinders, very few went to pre-school. There was always at least one who had a complete meltdown on the first day. He will adjust in time.
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Old 08-14-2019, 03:17 AM
 
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We had a child who spoke very limited English. We made him a book with pictures of things like the bathroom, the water fountain, etc. so he could point to what he wanted. I'm sure if you are there again, it will help him because he saw that you were kind to him yesterday. That should help!


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Esl
Old 08-14-2019, 09:29 PM
 
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I have limited experience with ESL, but I have learned not to make early judgments about possible learning & behavior issues since these take a LOT longer to assess accurately when language barriers are present. All of my previous ESL students have managed to surprise me in one way or another with amazing abilities and skills that were not evident during the first few months.

As others have said, buddying him up with an older Spanish speaking child during play breaks and transitions may help in the meantime.
I once had a ten year old who spoke only German. Luckily I have a little German, as on his second or third day he just wouldn't stop crying. He finally managed to communicate that he was terrified about the excursion (field trip) we were planning to take, as he was worried we wouldn't bring him home Poor kid!

Being 5 and in a new environment with no language must be terrifying. I'm so glad you volunteered to help him
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Update on screamer
Old 08-15-2019, 01:26 PM
 
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Thanks for all your responses! There has been progress! Student really bonded with me on first two days and stayed by my side calling me "Grandma". I was not there the next day (subbing at another school) but when I returned today he greeted me warmly - "Grandma!" smiling!! He has progressed to sitting at his table, going into the lunch room and eating some lunch. I am no longer with him all the time but peep through the door to check on him. He seems to be getting used to the routine, the other students and all the others who help him. I think he's going to make more progress. Mom is taking him to a neurologist so we'll see.
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