Before my 5-year-old son even has a chance to cross the street after he exits the school bus, he gets the question:
“What did you get?”
He knows exactly what I am referring to. No more explanation needed.
If he’s had a fantastic, well-behaved day at school he gives me the thumbs up (while trying to balance his back pack, lunch bag and jacket) and yells “GREEN!”
Green is the best thing in the world. Green means no worries and lots of treats. He gets to choose a sweet snack like ice cream. He gets to play on the computer or Wii some during the afternoon. It also means he gets a lot of praise!
If he’s had a bad day and gotten into trouble, he drops his head, pouts his mouth and says softly “I’m sorry. I got a red.”
Red used to mean no sweet treat and no computers. Since he’s gotten so many reds, now red means he also has to go to his room for at least 30 minutes before he can play.
And what if it’s a yellow? That’s when my little lawyer begins his negotiations. “Well it wasn’t red. I should at least get some computer time.” I generally don’t give in, unless I feel extra sorry for him. (A yellow means you just received one warning.)
To his kindergarten class and too many classes across the state, the stoplight colors are the most important signals in the world. The colors immediately indicate to parents how their child’s conduct was at school that day and also let the child know how happy his afternoon will be when he gets home from school.
Walsh isn’t beating anyone up or throwing things in class. He’s reading second-grade books and can add and subtract with ease, but he’s just can’t stop talking. It should come as no surprise to anyone who’s read this column that my child would be loquacious. You can’t shut me up for anything.
We are lucky that Walsh has a loving and understanding kindergarten teacher. She doesn’t think his talking is acceptable, and she lets him know that. But she also understands that he is a young 5 (birthday not until late spring) and is still immature. I appreciate that she doesn’t think he’s a “bad” child. She knows he’s just still growing.
Every year, we fill out a questionnaire to help the school select our child’s next teacher. It asks on the form what type of environment does your child learn best in and do you have any special concerns about his education?
This year I wrote on the form that this is a little boy who likes to talk a lot and he needs a teacher with a plan. I don’t want his little personality squashed but we need someone firm who can give him scary enough consequences that he controls himself. I wrote he’s charming and outgoing. He will probably be a governor or president later in life, but for now his friendliness is going to make the next few years hard.
I hope he matures some this summer and will be able to control his talking more in the first grade. I also hope he gets to go to that darn treasure box more often.
How does your school let your know your child’s conduct for the day? Do you like the green, yellow, red system? Are there any behavior issues you’re hoping your child will mature out of?
You can reach Theresa at firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments, questions and issues for the community are welcome.