I have a 4 year old student in my class that has been acting out. She climbs on furniture and refuses to get down. She will not follow directions, and instead continues to climb on things or tries to destroy classroom materials. I have to physically hold her to protect her from herself. This last for long periods of time, or until some one else comes to hold her. While I hold her she kicks me and bites me. She refuses to answer any questions or talk what so ever. She is an extremely intelligent child and can be a real joy sometimes, but the minute she you give your attention to another child she lashes out. She has told us that her step dad would beat her, but that he is in jail. We have talked to the mother about all of this. She promises us that it will never happen again or that she is "cured." At school she will tell us that her mom was mad this weekend and she "whooped everybody." I have a feeling that her mother is giving her overly stern punishment. I can tell that she has had some traumatic experiences just by the way she acts in class. Sometimes she shows absolutely no emotion. Her eyes are empty and hardly ever blink. She just runs away and tries to destroy things. Other times she calls everyone stupid idiots, says that she hates everyone and herself. Recently she told me that she was going to kill herself with a knife. We have had to call someone to pick her up 3 times this week because now she is threatening the other students, and they are afraid to be around her. I have talked to her mother multiple times, but it is clear that that punishment she receives at home is the reason she is acting out. If this keeps up she is going to get kicked out of school. What is the best way to help this child? (also we are a non for profit school for low income families, so we do not have a lot of resources, and parents aren't always cooperative.)
Not sure where you are located, but Family and Childrens Services in your State should be contacted about htis immediately, that is you are in US. A case woorker will be designated and can see that this child receives the help she needs. Its so hard to imagine she is only 4 years old and having this type of behaviour. On another sad note, her acting out is disrupting time and lessons for the other children. This child is not only a threat to herself but to others, therefore needs therapy.............ASAP. If she is being abused at home, then she needs to be placed where she can grow and have a chance at a healthy and happy chance at life. As for a parent cooperating, this is totally out of her hands at this point. Its your civil duty to call in someone who can protect and help this child. Seems like the Mother has had ample opportunities, but nothing is changing.
We have a social worker at our school and she has been notified. I have also filed a report. The problem is that in the meantime she is still in my classroom causing a lot of problems. The only way that we can get her to stop is to make her a special helper in a situation where she is away from the other children. The problem is that it has turned into us rewarding her for being bad, and we can tell that she acts out now so that she can be a special helper. What else could we do?
As I said before, if you contact Family and Childrens Services in the county you are in, they have more "pull" leadway into getting something legally done and probably quicker. This child has learned that if she acts out, she will get her way. It may just be you have to ask the Mother to find another facility, that her daughter is disrutpting class so bad and that behaviour is NOT acceptable. If you find you are stuck with her, then you will have to try to change hte learned behaviour yourself................teaching her what and what is NOT accepted on your terms. Insdie voices, there will be no screaming or kicking or fighting. If that is what is allwod, thats what will continue. She has to know you mean business. If yo uahve a time out chair..........she has to go there for 5 minutes....children do not know 5 minutes from 10.......if she does not go there willingly, then someone may bneed ot "help her" stay in that time out chair....Physically holding her in a position is not hurting her, nor allowing her to hurt herself or others. I would put this if possible in another area away from the other children, why should they suffer because of one?
i know you said she was only 4 so this might work.. have her help with a board activitie something that she can feel she is accomplishing with the others. like make a story into a story board like the very hungry catapiller and have her help with tell the story. it gets her active in the class and she is doing something to bid her time so she is not being destuctive.