Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fast Approaching...

The day is inching closer and closer. I’m not sure I’m quite ready for it yet, either, but I know that it has to happen. It’s non-negotiable, if I want to reach the ultimate goal next year, the year after, the year after that, and endless years into the future. I have begun to feel the anxiety creeping in slowly, twisting my stomach into knots, knowing that this is it.

Samantha will be starting in a full-day, “typical” pre-K class next Tuesday.

There, I said it. And there’s that pesky feeling of dread to accompany it. I know I’m just being silly, and it certainly makes for some dramatic effect, but I just worry. I worry that she’ll cry every day, like she did when Steve has dropped her off several times in the past two months for just an hour, to get acclimatized. I worry that she won’t be able to keep up with the other kids. I worry that the teacher will be frustrated with her stubborn inability to transition smoothly (what do you mean, we’re not going to draw with crayons anymore and are now going to sing songs? Waaaaaaaahhhhh!!!!!). I worry that the other kids will think she’s a baby (I think I’m permanently scarred by hearing that one of the other kids tattled on Sammi when she was in that class one day, saying she was drawing on the easel itself, rather than on the paper attached to it).

I have a few things to bear in mind about all of this, though:

I know I sell her short sometimes.

She’ll be in that class two days a week, for full-days, from which she will almost certainly benefit (and in the special ed. preschool the other 3 mornings a week). One hour, every once in a while, can not possibly build confidence in a child. No wonder she cried…

The kids that have been in that class when we’ve dropped her off are the rising Kindergarteners, and thus considerably older, and won’t be there by the time public schools start.

We’re talkin’ preschool, here, folks, not Kindergarten, and certainly not college!!

I’m thinking a lot of my trepidation comes from knowing how totally important this year is for her, in advance of her entry into Kindergarten. I’ve been reading so many stories on blogs and on Facebook lately about Kindergarten transition and the dilemma faced by many parents about where and how to place their child (Which school? Inclusion or self-contained? Set back a year, or moving forward?). Kindergarten, in our county, is ½ day. Actually, it isn’t even that. It’s 3 hours, an hour less than preschool. I hear so often from local parents of typical children how challenging Kindergarten is here, when the teacher is trying to cram so much grade-appropriate information into the kids in such a short period of time. If the typical children are feeling challenged in Kindergarten, what happens to our kids? I picture a harried, overworked teacher overseeing a class full of struggling children and one child with special needs frustrating her as they slow down the whole lesson plan. So does this mean that our kids are doomed from the beginning, being pulled out of their Kindergarten class to the resource room for everything except for lunch?

No thank you…

There’s a very, very remote chance we can get Samantha into a full-day Kindergarten program in the public school, but it’s miniscule at best (only 12 schools in the entire county have a full-day K class and you have to be chosen by lottery to get in). We’ll try, though. It’ll be worth it.

But what is the final outcome here? Am I worrying for nothing? Am I worrying too soon? Should I just take my own advice and attack each hurdle as it comes? Should I take it for granted and trust that Samantha, being Samantha, will continue to surprise us by her resilience?

Sheesh, do the parents of typical 4 year olds ever panic like this?


Anne and Whitney: Up, Down and All Around said...

i can't remember - what month is samantha's birthday? anne just turned four july 16th and we have decided not because she won't be ready for kindergarten next year to send her next year - but because i taught middle school spanish and had experience w/ middle school that we would rather, down the road, have her feel older, more confident, etc... rather than feeling like one of the youngest as she gets older and thigns get tougher, to wait until fall of 2012 to send her to kindergarten. maybe you could do the part pre-k part developmental preschool this year then do entirely pre-k next year and kindergarten the year after that?? just a thought. it is so stressful, isn't it? i think we are planning the same timeline for whitney (she turns 2 next week)... good luck!!!!

Cindy said...

I think you worry too much. :)

Samantha's a smart kid. I wonder about the child who 'tattled' on her. (I bet she's an A-type personality and probably tattles on everyone!) Samantha will, with out a doubt have bad days, as will every single child in the school. But she will also have amazing days full of learning new things and making new friends.

Dawn said...

I would love to tell you that the school transistions get easier as they get older, but honestly they don't. At least they never did for me.

That might have more to do with having a non-verbal child more than anything else.

This happened every time we had to change schools (elementary to middle to high school)

I think it's just the nature of things. I can absolutely tell you that I worried & Taylor had a blast and learned. She loved school & now I worry how to keep her engaged now that she graduated. Because of her constant seizures, we had to give up the idea of sending her to an adult program. They couldn't afford a 1 on 1 aide to help her & she isn't high functioning enough to be left to her own devices.

We as parents are constantly worrying about if we are making the right choices. Just know that no matter the worries, 99.9% you are making the right choice and the other .1% where you don't make the right choice, it's a learning experience that helps you make the right choices in the future.

Sorry, didn't meant to turn my comment into a blog. Just wanted to let you know that you will get through this & Sammi will thrive.

Lacey said...

Your not worrying for nothing! I would be worried too. You know it will be good for her, but you want to protect her from what you know people can say!
She'll probably do great. They always do better than momma!

Renee said...

Yes, mom of typical 4 y.o. have panics like this. One of my friends told me that she nearly gave herself an ulcer trying to figure out where to send her daughter to preschool. Another mom told me that she spent more time choosing and worrying about preschool for her child than she spent deciding where she went to college. I, too, have been filled with anxiety over preschool decisions. I find myself sometimes second guessing our choice for kindergarten. Over all I feel very good about it but sometimes that doubt creeps in. I can only imagine that all this is worse for parents whose kids have special needs.

I think every mom can name an incident, or multiple incidents, when our kids did something inappropriate like drawing directly on the easel, or worse, when they should have known better. The kids in Samantha's class probably don't even remember that incident.

JRS said...

I hear ya Mama. [hugs]

Amy Flege said...

i have already started this whole dilemma in my mind for kindergarten! mayson will do integrated preschool m- t- w full days this year. will she be ready for kindergarten the following year? ugh??? she is sooo tiny too.. i hate this....