Nursery and a row over ‘pants’!

I was optimistic that my son would do well in nursery and after we gradually eased him into nursery life he appeared to settle well and cope with going 5 mornings a week.   I was now looking forward to more time with my baby daughter as well as some rest from my son.
Anyhow, not before long the issue of pull ups came up.  The nursery teacher had asked me why he was still in pull-ups and I answered something along the lines that he was becoming dry but he absolutely refuses to wear pants.  In part, I felt that he clung to his pull-ups because he felt comfortable and secure, certainly while toilet training was becoming established.  But the nursery teacher did not want her children in pull-ups, the school policy was that children had to be dry, so I was told.  I was perplexed by this rigid attitude; could she not see that children were individuals that developed at different rates?   This was my second child; I did have some idea of what I was doing and in any case I believed in following my child’s cues though, I admit, for my son, his readiness was clearly delayed in comparison to most children.  I wasn’t duly worried about this delay as we had made some progress; it was just very protracted and required adults around him to be patient and encouraging.  I ignored the nursery teacher and continued to send my son in pull-ups.  I was not happy with the teacher’s rigidity and her unwillingness to work with me and I decided to respect my sons development rather than the policy set by the LEA (Local Education Authority). 
Going behind my back

Things went quiet for a bit until one teatime in the autumn when I received an unexpected telephone call from a health visitor from one of the health clinics in town.    This was not the clinic that my children were under and nor was the health visitor someone I was familiar with.  Through the conversation that followed, it transpired that the nursery teacher had called the health clinic expressing concerns about my ability to handle my son’s toileting issues.  The words of the health visitor were, “I understand from the school that you have problems toilet training your son”.   “No” I replied “I don’t” and added that I was happy that my son was making progress, albeit slowly, and that the real problem was with the attitude of the school, not me.  What upset me about this telephone call was the emphasis on my parenting, rather than my child’s development.  Such accusatory tones are a barrier to any practitioner-parent working together for it can encourage a parent to become defensive, as I became at that point.  So I ended the telephone call feeling angry and upset that the teacher had gone behind my back to other services thus undermining my parenting. 

The following morning I mentioned this incident to various other parents who were equally aghast, but not unsurprised, at this teachers behaviour and suggested that I should make a complaint.  I was reassured by those ‘in the know’ that I was “not the first” to be confronted by the dictatorial attitude of the nursery teacher.  Apparently this teacher had upset other parents in the past with her controlling attitude that had even extended to her micro-managing packed lunches sent from home!  So I arranged a meeting with the headmaster during which I complained that I did not think it right that the school approach outside services without consulting parents and that the policy about being dry as a requirement for nursery was unfair to children who did encounter a delay.  I am not sure what impact this made to be honest, except to say that following this incident the teacher did seem to be more cautious about properly involving parents.  With regards to my son, it is ironic that for all the fuss we encountered with the school, my son never had any accidents while he was there; he always waited till he got home.  And with encouragement and a lot of patience on our part, he did eventually ‘grow’ out of pull-ups so that by the time he started school he wore pants like all the other children.  Now for a 4-year old, I don’t think that’s bad going, do you?

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