After feeling a bit of disappointment about last Thursday's meeting with Iris's teacher we had a much, much better one today. Today was our parent-teacher conference and although our intention was to talk about kindergarten, we mostly ended up talking about Iris and her interactions with these other two little girls at school. Actually, it DID play right in with kindergarten, as my absolute biggest worry is that Iris would go to kindergarten and not be able to handle conflict resolution. She would be hitting kids and hurling insults and get herself in a whole heap of trouble over it.
Today her teacher was explaining it can be a very subtle dynamic between Iris and the girls at school, one that often only the teacher understands. For instance, if the other girls are subtely excluding her, Iris has a monster reaction-- to the outsider it may look totally unprovoked and out of nowhere, but the teacher is seeing what is setting her off. Not that it makes Iris's reaction okay, but it does explain it. What worries me is if Iris goes to kindergarten and this type of thing happens it will look to people like Iris is being totally unruly, and will likely be disciplined accordingly. UNLESS she has a good teacher who understands this kind of dynamic and understands what is setting her off.
Iris's teacher was also explaining that Iris is very sensitive and that if someone hurts her feelings, all she can think to do is hurt them right back, and often times the things that hurt her feelings seem to be fairly minor. To an adult they feel minor, and maybe even to the other kids they feel minor, but not to her. In addition she explained that we could help Iris process her feelings about being excluded by doing things like writing letters, drawing pictures, playing with puppets/dolls and acting it out in imaginary play.
We also talked about kindergarten and how even though Iris does have a few things we're working on, that there are many qualities she has that show she is very ready for kindergarten. For instance, she can focus for long periods, she can follow directions, she is writing words and can write her name easily.
All in all we're much more confident about things regarding kingergarten and about how to handle Iris's hurt feelings and resulting anger. The teacher agreed that a school where Iris had the opportunity to do many creative things sounded like a good fit for her and so I'm even more excited about some of the schools we're looking in to. Now here's to hoping that the schools that look good on paper will actually end up being a good fit!