Monday, May 16, 2011

Kindy Sneak Peek

Oy. Samantha grabbed the laptop the other day and hit Publish on this post when it was not anywhere near complete. If any of you saw it flash up in Networked Blogs or on other people's blog rolls, my apologies...

At our IEP meeting a few weeks ago, it was suggested that, due to Samantha's issues transitioning into new environments, we bring her over to her home school a few times before the end of the year to meet the office staff, the principals, and the two Kindergarten teachers. The hope is that if she feels comfortable enough with them and the new scenery (seriously, the scenery is hardly new, considering every single elementary school in the area has exactly. the. same. layout as her current school), the transition to the new class will be at least a little bit less traumatic.

Obviously, at the IEP meeting, only her current teachers/therapists/Vice Principal actually knew Samantha. The Kindergarten teacher from the home school (we won't know until much later which of the two Kindy teachers she'll actually have next year), as well as their Vice Principal and Special Education teacher, had never met Samantha, but got to hear everyone speak very highly of her. But through blogs and Facebook and all of the other Down syndrome resources out there, I have heard time and time again of schools and teachers who are considerably less than enthusiastic to have a child with Ds in their midst, for any number of reasons. The families immediately feel that the welcome wagon had passed them by, and that there was no red carpet to greet them. Worse, they often feel that their child may be neglected or left behind in the classes, or made to not feel a part of the class.

While the home school members of the IEP team never once seemed to be hesitant about Samantha's imminent entrance into Kindergarten there, I couldn't help remembering all of those stories. I was expecting them to be giving us the plastic smiles while inside thinking, crap, crap, crap. I knew that the visit would be very telling.

When Samantha got home from school on Friday afternoon, Steve walked over to the home school with her, taking them up on their offer, ready to let Samantha loose on the unsuspecting staff. Unsuspecting because we know she can pretty much charm the pants off just about anyone.

And she did.


They spent about 25 minutes there, visiting the office, visiting both Kindy classrooms, and got more oohs and ahhhhs than her rapidly-swelling ego can handle. Teachers from surrounding classes opened their doors to see who was causing such a stir. Samantha got a severe case of the sillies, though, and took a few too many liberties, allowing Steve a rare opportunity to show them how to deal with her to rein her in to focus and listen.

Speaking of which, the lesson of the week has been "Listen." Ever since we eliminated her afternoon naps, Samantha has gotten a little unfocused and obstinate on a slightly more frequent basis. Getting her to stop, look you in the eye, and hear you explain why it's so important to listen to daddy, mommy,teachers, M., etc. generally works pretty well. She wants to be a good girl, a big girl, and tries so hard to correct things when she starts to act up. It's really pretty amazing. Magical, actually.

All very important lessons for this rising Kindergartner. Ahhhh, I still can't say that word without feeling that little bit of panic and a whole lot of pride.


Anna said...

the nap. This is the reason that our little one will not be going to school this fall as is age appropriate. She sleeps from 1:30-5:00 each day. If she doesnt get her full nap she is difficult. I cannot imagine us being ready to either go without or her come home and go straight to bed this fall. Thankfully we have the ability to register for home schooling and keep doing what we are doing, then add other things in the school system as we are ready.(we will see how that works?!) So glad you found real, not plastic, smiles to greet you!

Chromosomally Enhanced said...

such a GREAT thing the visit of the Kinder class before the first day of school...Max was not going to go to Kinder last week...until he had his dry run at it...and then he asked if he could keep he is excited for summer to be over! naps are a rough...Max needs them..does not want them...but the listening is ERY trying at times...and staying on task for us...sometimes he jsut needs down time to re-focus...great rainy day pix! so pretty..smiles

RobMonroe said...

Pride first - panic later. :) Focusing is a skill that lots of folks need to work on, good to start her young!

my life: said...

It's like you write exactly what's in my head...just a few steps ahead of me! :0)
SO glad it has all been so positive!!!
Side note...we had a form sent home from school yesterday requesting info for Grace to be transported on the SN bus...this is something we want *but hadn't requuested yet, as it is typically covered in the IEP* we were told by those who have gone before us...that getting her on this bus would be nearly impossible. We didn't even have a chance to request it...and it is being extended to her! :0) I try SO hard NOT to listen to the "chatter" of peer parents who have had less than ideal experiences...but it seems to allow the *fear, anxiety* whatever to creep in.
Still holding out for the best case scenario. ;0) *one week from Friday...will be glad when it's OVER*

Melissa said...

I love hearing other people's school and IEP experiences. Some days they make me nervous, some days happy, but no matter the experience I feel slightly better prepared.

So glad to her Sammi enjoyed her visit to school!

Melissa said...

I love hearing other people's school and IEP experiences. Some days they make me nervous, some days happy, but no matter the experience I feel slightly better prepared.

So glad to her Sammi enjoyed her visit to school!