Saturday, October 20, 2007

More School Moments

Now that we have Jamie settled in preschool and he is thriving, it is time to think about what to do for him and kindergarten. Unbelievable that we already have to think about this two months into the preschool year. We have many dilemmas facing us, especially with Clare going to school as well. Time issues, half days versus full days, private versus public, bus options, conflicting drop-off and pick-up schedules. So we have a lot on our plate to figure out right now.

Clare's transition process into preschool has officially started. We had our first meeting with the special education team for the school district last week. Clare's case manager with Early Intervention came with us to the meeting to meet the new people in our life who are helping to decide Clare's next phase of the journey. I was happy that the woman who runs the show in the school district transition process was not as grumpy, mean, or evil as we had heard. She was pleasant to us, took us on a tour of the preschool classrooms, and answered numerous questions. Those questions she could not answer, she pointed us in the right direction to find those answers.

Shawn and I were both admittedly surprised by what we saw. The preschool classrooms seemed very crowded (not with kids, but with stuff everywhere) and I was going into sensory overload myself. The teachers we briefly met were happy and smiling and cheery (as you expect preschool teachers to be), but all the children seemed so big and old to me. Clare was a very tiny little girl next to them! These children were running, climbing easily in and out of small chairs, doing glittery art projects, even having gym class! Clare cannot sit in a regular chair because she cannot climb onto one herself and has no concept of her space in the chair. She does not understand that there is an edge and that she will go right over the side. She does not run, climb, or do art projects. I was so overwhelmed that I could feel my eyes filling with tears as I held Clare in my arms. Clare was overwhelmed, too, and was content to perch on my hip staring solemnly at this new environment. Both the director and teachers assured us that the majority of children are eager to get into the classroom the first day and that the parents have a harder time than the child. I can certainly believe that about Jamie's peer group, but I am not so sure about Clare.

I keep reminding myself that Clare will be six months older when she actually starts preschool. I look back to where Clare was six months ago (not walking independently, not transitioning in and out of sitting) and am amazed at how far she has come. Yet she is still so young to me. We understand her for the most part, but will she be able to communicate her needs to others? How will she keep up with her classmates? I don't want Clare sitting on the sidelines. I thought it was hard walking Jamie into school for the first time. Now I know that it will be almost impossible to let go of Clare.

8 comments:

Aspen said...

This made me tear up. I know exactly what you mean. We are smack dab in the middle of the transition process ourselves. We have decided to wait and send Daven in August 2008. I am hoping that he is much more advanced by that time!

Julie said...

I feel for you. I wish I could just keep Noah at home forever.

Anonymous said...

I felt the same exact way sending Ari. I even put her on the bus which I couldn't believe I did but I didn't want to set a precident of driving her and then have to make a transition to putting her on the bus. I almost threw up when the bus pulled away. It seems scary now, but in 6 months it will seem at least a little better. I bet Clare will love school. You will be shocked at her growth and how much she will pick up from the other kids (good and bad). I am sick about sending her to Kindergarten next year and then the big bus....oh my....I can't even think about it without my stomache doing flips.
Michelle

Every minute counts.... said...

I too understand were you are coming from. It was hard to event hink about sending Abi to the public school but I walked into the private school and it was a totally different feeling. I felt like that was the answer and I am sure it is. Abi really has grown and learned so much! I am sure you will figure out what is best for Clare and the rest of your family. It is hard to deciede to hand over your child and trust that these "new" people will understand. I know that you have more on your mind than just placement...I'm sure the medical stuff creeps in for you as for me. You will know when it is right and if your gut says run...listen to it!!

Noel

Katie said...

I remember the first time i left Jaiden at the EIU preschool...
He does LOVE it and has come SO far this year, he will be at EIU again mon & tues from Jan next year and then ~gulp~ 'regular' Pre-school wed, thur and fri. Im terrified about the longer hours of the 'regular'pre-school 4 instead of 2 and EVERYDAY. Its taxing on him now 2hrs 2days. Sigh...

Laura said...

I remember the first day all too well. I was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.
Every new step is an emotional challenge for us moms.

Kerry said...

I know they will thrive being there... but I also know it will be so much harder for me to have Brady go than it did Michael, who was like, "See ya mom!"

She WILL be older and that will be the difference~ and you can always change your mind if you want her to wait. Your gut will let you know :)

Kim, Grandma to Ava,ws said...

I think I know how you feel. I can't even imagine Ava going to school with all those large children who can do so many things so effortlessly. It scares me so much. My instinct is to hold her close and protect her from the big, bad world.

God bless you for having the courage to do what's best for Clare. You're an awesome mommy!