Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Preschool

I can't believe that we have started the preschool process for our babies!

Anna automatically qualified for Early Intervention because of her spina bifida. Early Intervention services will end with her third birthday and we will then pick up services with the public school system. I met with two of the special needs teachers and Anna's EI therapist this week at the school for a pre-qualification discussion. Keep in mind that we were already told by the principal that if Anna was accepted, an offer would be extended to her sisters as well. Although, no one wants to put that in writing.

I should back up and explain how the preschool in our town (and most of the state) works. They have classrooms filled with 15 students. Half of the students have special needs while the other half are considered to be peer models. The cost is approximately $120 a month per student for the two days a week session and approximately $175 a month per student for the three days a week session. {Multiply that by three for us.} In our school system, there were empty seats this year while other towns filled up and children were placed on wait lists.

The meeting went fairly well except that Anna doesn't really qualify as having special needs. She is above where she should be for language and social/emotional skills and her physical disabilities are not impairing her ability to learn. The teachers were quite surprised at her speaking ability after Anna's therapist showed them her most recent evaluation. That is when they started telling me that one option would be for Anna to enroll as a peer model.

For peer models, I was told that they mainly look for kids who have 80% understandable speech and will listen to adults. For example, the kids should be able to sit in a circle without getting up and running around the room. I think that the girls would easily pass those "tests" but I am their mom. Anna's therapist concurred. She talked about how Anna can easily communicate with eight word sentences, carries on conversations and tells stories. I actually counted the number of words tonight when Allie blurted out a long sentence. Ten!

We will not know for a few months what will happen. There are a few different options for Anna but she needs to be evaluated by the OT and the PT for the schools. In addition, they will try to interview the girls closer to their third birthday as development over the next few months will be huge.

We briefly discussed separating the girls versus keeping them together. They would want to separate them and have enough classrooms in order to do so. I did mention that state law now allows me to keep them together if I feel that it is best. I actually do not have a strong feeling either way. I thought it would be nice to have them start out together and then eventually separate them for kindergarten or first grade. They are all very social and no one is more outgoing than the others so I think that they would be fine together. My thought was why not take advantage of the benefit of being a multiple and extend that to comfort at school until they are used to being there.

Would it be wrong of me to dress them the same if the school pushes us to place them in separate classrooms? {I should note that Anna has already started to trick people when asked if she is Anna. She'll respond with, "No, I am Em-o-lee." I just about fell over laughing when she did this to Auntie Joan one day.} Oh, these girls are so much fun. It's only going to get better.

8 comments:

Ami said...

Oh, the agony! I almost know what you're going through! After having taught kindergarten for 7 years, I am very familiar with the ins and outs of preschool as well! And now, having triplets of my own,(only 9 months old, mind you) I'm already agonizing about kindergarten!! I want them to be together for at least one year! And if they make you separate them, I would totally dress them alike still!

Pyjammy Pam said...

dang, those girls are geniuses! my boys are barely putting two words together. i know, they're younger. and boys. :)

that's so great about anna. she showed them! (i don't know who "them" is. but you know.)

The Bantering Bookworm said...

I grew up in MA, and my brothers are twins. My mom isn't a very demanding person, but she made sure my brothers were together for kindergarten. After that some years they were apart and some they were together. My brothers are fraternal so teachers never had trouble telling them apart. Good luck with all the preschool stuff!

Mommy, Esq. said...

It would be lucky to get into public pre-school, that is hard in MA! In terms of separating them it's good that you don't mind (and of course you are right on the law). I was with my sisters until the end of first grade (my mom says that is only because there were 2 rooms and she didn't think it was fair to divide us up), then it was mix and match - usually 2 in 1 class or all separate. It worked well for us but we did tend to have the same friends. Truly wonderful news about Anna!

Anonymous said...

Adorable girls! If you choose to separate them in class though, I wouldn't dress them alike. Especially if the girls are tricksters:) It would help the individual teachers know who is who, and who needs to be where if they are dressed differently. If someone ends up in the wrong line or wrong class, but they are all wearing the same thing, it might get confusing for teachers who haven't had a chance to get to know the girls individually yet and figure out their personalities.

Sarah said...

Mommy, Esq - I know. It is so hard to get into the public preschools around here.

Anon - that was a joke!! I don't plan to dress them alike for preschool even if they are in separate classes.

Keith and Jamie said...

Yea for Anna!!! We have relatives in MA and their daughter did qualify for the EI programs, and I believe theirs was paid for...maybe a grant, but i am not 100% on that. I have had numerous people, including teachers, talk to me about the pros and cons of separating and/or not separating. I don't think it will matter with mine as they are B/G...
Here is my point...a friend with frat boys was told to separate...she did...one boy had minimal homework while the other was covered up in home work...not very fair when one can play because he has no homework and the other is working several hours to complete his overload. The mom decided to put them back together, just for the shear benefit of them doing the same amount of work. I am sure you will meke the perfect decision for your girls...this one is definitely a toughy!

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