I was the director of my preschool for over 17 years. I don’t claim to know it all, but there are a few things you learn from experience. I could walk into a classroom and within 2 minutes spot the hot spots and the red flags.
So what is a red flag?
It’s a behavior that would cause concern. It doesn’t necessarily mean a child who’s acting out, but it does include behavior that’s not typical. A good example would be a child that’s constantly repeating the same behavior over and over again. Lining up blocks in the same order over and over and exhibiting a lack of flexibility to change the activity. If a child doesn’t make eye contact when you speak to him or doesn’t respond to his name being called, these are also red flags.
Teachers in a preschool environment should never diagnose a child’s behavior. However, I do believe that it is the administrations obligation to bring a concern to your attention. Through the years this scenario played out in my office many times. Some parents were grateful; other parents were irate. If your child’s teacher asks you in for a similar meeting, just remember—it’s only a red flag, not a diagnosis.
I strongly suggest that you have your child evaluated if the school has concerns. It may be just a developmental hiccup, or it could be something more serious. The one thing that I do know is that early intervention is crucial in keeping your child on track.
Here are a few wonderful guides to childhood red flag that you can review on your own:
- Red Flags: Birth to Six Years
- Mental Health Guide for Toddlers & Preschoolers
- Red Flags that Warrant Early Intervention