Aggression toward other children might get your preschooler kicked out.

Can a Private Preschool Board Kick Out a Disruptive Child?

by Shala Munroe

When you drop your sweet child off at preschool, you trust he'll be cared for with love while being taught how to interact in a classroom setting. A child that doesn't behave properly in preschool risks expulsion -- it's three times more likely than your child getting kicked out later, in grades kindergarten through 12, according to a 2005 Yale University study entitled, "Pre-kindergartners Left Behind: Expulsion Rates in State Pre-kindergarten Systems." Although you pay tuition for your child to attend a private preschool, you don't reduce his chances of getting expelled over attending a publicly funded preschool.

1. Reasons for Expulsion

The main reason preschools expel children is for aggression. When a child is consistently aggressive toward other children or adults, he's likely to be kicked out. This includes hitting, biting, kicking, spitting and throwing items at other people. Self-control is still being learned when your child is 2 and 3, but by age 4, he should be able to regulate his behavior appropriately enough to resist aggressive urges. When a 2 year old bites another student, he might not be expelled immediately; biting is common in 2 year olds, and many teachers can help parents work on eliminating the behavior. When a 4 year old bites, however, it can signal a bigger problem with aggressiveness. Teachers experiencing larger class sizes aren't able to handle aggressive preschoolers with personal attention like those with smaller classes, which can lead to increased expulsions.

2. Private Versus Public

Schools that receive public funds are more likely to have larger classrooms, but that doesn't mean that public preschools kick out more children than private ones. The Yale study found that private preschools are more likely to expel children than public schools. Some have zero-tolerance policies for aggression instead of trying to work with aggressive children, while publicly funded programs are more likely to have access to county or state behavioral consultants, such as school psychologists.

3. Parental Involvement

Being involved in open communication with the preschool can help avoid expulsion. You're paying the private school to teach and care for your preschooler, but it has the right to kick your child out for bad behavior. Learning what types of developmental behavior are normal for your child's age -- such as biting at age 2 -- can help you discuss any bad or aggressive behaviors and work with the preschool administrators to create a disciplinary plan. This doesn't mean your child won't be expelled if the behavior continues, but it gives you the opportunity to be part of the learning process, rather than being surprised when your child is kicked out suddenly. It also might give you time to seek a different preschool environment if you believe the current situation isn't helping your child.

4. What Happens After Expulsion

Getting kicked out of preschool can sometimes encourage bad behaviors rather than stopping them. Children are smart, and they might figure out that the best way to get out of preschool and get more time with you is to misbehave at preschool -- which is an extremely bad habit that you don't want to continue into kindergarten. Talking with a behavioral consultant about your child can help you find the right preschool environment for him. For example, he might need a small class, lots of interaction or plenty of quiet time. Not every preschool is right for every child, so finding the right fit for your preschooler means you can worry less about another expulsion.

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