Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Little Kindergartener

I think I may say this every year, but why does the first day of school always feel like the first day of school?  It's like suddenly the humidity breaks, and you feel a slight crispness to the air.  Long sleeves aren't a silly concept, and those new back-to-school clothes get their first test of the school fashion-parade.  I am sitting here writing this at 6am, freezing in my dining room, with open windows behind me and an outside temperature of...wait for it...54 degrees!  This is just bizarre to me.  Granted, today will be the 2nd day of school, but you get the picture.

You are now gazing upon a brand. new. Kindergartener.  I never knew how hard and how exciting and how rewarding this moment could possibly be.  It's not like Samantha hasn't been in school for, like, forever already, but we have now said goodbye to special education preschool, and hello to the Big Time.  We're grateful for this opportunity, and so proud of how hard Samantha has worked these last 5 years to get to this point.  Sounds like I'm giving a graduation speech already, and I'm sure that, itself, will sound very similar (...we are so proud of how hard Samantha has worked these last 18 years to get to this point...), but really, she has debunked so many myths for so many people, already changed so many minds, exceeded so many expectations.  This, my friends, is what it's all about.  The teachers, the therapists, the advocacy in blogging, in talking to others, in just being Samantha.  She doesn't know it yet, but it's only just beginning...this girl will move mountains.  (No pressure, right?)



The first day started off with a walk to school.  Samantha was ready and willing to wear her backpack, and quite happy to be going.  I was chastised by the teachers for walking on that yellow line you see on the curb in the photo below - apparently it's a bus danger zone, and they teach all of the children to stay away from it.  Good advice, a little twinge of shame that I hadn't followed the rules (okay, so I didn't know the rules, but hearing a teacher tell you not to do something still brings back those feelings).  And we were also instructed not to walk along that side of the school, as it crosses over the bus driveway or something (there's that twinge again...), so today we'll be heading around the other side of the school (heck, we live directly behind it, so either way is equidistant for us to the entrance).

So now we know.

As soon as we walked into the cafeteria, where they were lining up and organizing the children by class, we were greeted by a woman who spotted us immediately and asked, "Oh, is this Samanantha?"  She introduced herself as the Resource Teacher who would be with Samantha in the classroom every day and working with her afterwards.  We had to leave the cafeteria, as it was too noisy and chaotic (in an orderly way...) for Samantha, so we took a little walk to kill time and went directly to the classroom as the rest of the children began to file in.  That's when the lip went, and the tears began to flow (Sammi's).  I have to hand it to the teacher, everything was so organized, a real change from our usual 1st day experiences.  The children all sat down at the tables and began to color some pages that had been printed and set out for them, bringing nearly instant order and calm.  Wow

And that's when we made our hasty exit.

And that's when the lip went, and the tears began to flow (mine).

But we knew she'd be okay.  Actually, she was better than okay!  The report from the Resource teacher was glowing - she said she'd had a quiet start, just crying a little bit, then began to follow the teacher's directions for the most part.  She was surprised by her academic knowledge, and with the extra hour of resource time after class ended (devoted to reinforcing the day's lessons) she would be working on writing her name, since she already knows the stuff they're learning in class each day.

Day 2 Update:  We just dropped her off at school again this morning, and it was a completely different experience!  Samantha was happy and smiling, all the way into the classroom, and settled down to color with the others as soon as her backpack was off.  Wow!!  Honestly, I'm not sure how long she's going to need to have the 1:1 aide during class time - as soon as she gets into the routine and learns to listen and participate, she'll be ready to do it on her own!  It's only Day 2, but I can see that she's got a truly amazing support team there.  We are so fortunate...


20 comments:

Cate said...

oh, that is awesome. what a great post. So glad it's going well.

doozee said...

*swipe eyes* - I'm totally crying over here~! She's growing up so fast! What a precious shot of her and her Daddy with the buses behind.
I"m SO HAPPY it's unfolding SO WELL! xo

Alicia said...

yay!! congrats Sammi!!
i knew she could handdle it and more than that! she is super smart and she will show everyone :)

hugs

Krista said...

How incredibly exciting. Sammi with do Awesome! I send Jakob to school next thursday for the first time. Eek! they get so big so fast!

Wren said...

Hurray!!! I loved reading this..Samantha is such a smart girl I know she's going to do amazing!!!

Than4Keeps said...

AMAZING! What an incredible journey that we are taking in reading your blog ~ thank you, again :~)

The 1st day of school caused a spike in my blood pressure. Anxiety for parents as well as for our children...it's over and now onto the 2nd day, things seem a little more brighter & sweeter.

Anonymous said...

Yea sammi!

JRS said...

That is quite possibly the best back to school photo ever (with Sammi holding her dad's hand). Sophie starts preschool on Thursday. I'm a bawl baby already even though it's her 2nd year.
---Jen

Anna said...

Im crying..... really I am.

Jenny said...

Reading Sammi cried, made me cry...But I am glad once she got into it she had a great day!! I love the pictures!! She looks so ready for kindergarten! She's going to have a fantastic year :)

Chromosomally Enhanced said...

so my lip went out and the tears are flowing..such a HUGE day! yeah for Sammi...and yeah for the school! Happy new school year! smiles

kecia said...

I am totally crying here! I am already anxious about doing this next year with my girls! So many questions and worries as the mom! She looks adorable as usual! So is she in a typical room all day with the aide or back and forth or how does her day work? just curious what options people have.

Zoey's mom, Heather said...

Doing just as I knew she would, in the truly amazing Samantha fashion!

Becca said...

Kecia (hope you see this!) - here's the run-down:

*our county has 1/2 day Kindy only

*she's in the typical Kindy class of her home school with a 1:1 aide for as long as is necessary

*she has an extra hour after class with the resource teacher to reinforce the lessons learned in the brief 3 hour period that day (3 hours just isn't nearly enough in my opinion!!!)

There are a few options, though, for kids. I know some that are in the typical Kindy class for part of the day and in a special ed class for part of the day, thus extending their day. However, that program isn't available in all schools, and we really wanted Samantha to be in her home school. I think other options can be configured in numerous different ways - just remember, think of your BEST case scenario to present to your IEP team, then negotiate from there. :-)

Rochelle said...

She is amazing! Have so missed my Sammi fixes while our internet has been down. Thankful school is suiting her well! Move those mountains girl!

RobMonroe said...

Congratulations Mama! :)

Michelle said...

What sweet pictures! I'm sure she's going to charm everyone in that school and have an amazing year!

kecia said...

thanks for answering my questions!

Anonymous said...

Love it! I was in transgression of the "traffic rules" on Beth's first day of Kindergarten too.

Renee said...

I'm so happy for all of you and proud of all three of you!