Monday, February 27, 2012

Transition to K and star of the day

[Background info: Because Anna has spina bifida, she receives physical and occupational therapy services through the public school system. Once a year, before her birthday, Rich and I meet with her teacher and therapists to discuss her progress, any concerns and develop a plan for the next year.]

Our annual meeting went well, in my opinion. Anna's therapists are very happy with the progress she's made this past year. With occupational therapy, the main areas of focus have been on using scissors and writing her name. She can do both and her therapist noted that she has the skills but she can be stubborn. (Ahem. I have no idea who she inherited that from.)

She will be in a regular kindergarten classroom next year (she is in a regular classroom now) but will be pulled out twice a week for physical therapy and once a week for occupational therapy. She is very shy and her teacher noted that she is concerned with Anna transitioning to a new school with a new teacher and new classmates. For me, this is also a bit of a concern with Emily as she is painfully shy as well. (I know who they inherited that from and it isn't me.) The girls are in separate classrooms right now and unless we request otherwise, they will remain separated. I did throw out the possibility of moving them to one classroom and they all shook their heads NO. They all believe that it is better for the girls to be on their own. In my head, I know that they are right but my heart aches knowing that it would be easier if they were in one room.

There was a coordinator from the new school there taking notes. We all went over what special services aside from therapy that Anna would need. There are no stairs at all and kindergarteners do not go anywhere in the school without an adult. There are "traveling" aides who assist students and it was noted that Anna may need assistance or in the very least, to be watched when all of the kids are moving from one place to another. (For example, from the classroom to the playground.) She's small to begin with and can easily lose her balance so there is a greater chance of her getting knocked down.

The girls will be attending kindergarten for half a day so there is no need for her to be cathed at school. Rich and I mentioned transportation because although we do plan to drop off and pick up the girls, we would like the bus to be an option in case of emergency or car break down, etc. (At least one other kid in our neighborhood will be in kindergarten next year, so the bus will be stopping on our street regardless. They said that they think all three would have trouble getting on and off the regular school bus because they are so small. So that's still on the TBD list.

Having the girls in separate classrooms has allowed them to grow as individuals and not as a unit. They have different friends (and boyfriends - haha) and different experiences. Anna's classroom had Star of the Day in January and February. (Star of the Day = the teacher gives the student a poster to fill out. It is presented in class and the student can bring in one show & tell item.) Allie's class is doing Star of the Day now.

The girls LOVE the whole idea behind this and Allie and Anna were so excited to fill out their posters. Emily's class hasn't announced whether or not they are going to be doing this so when Allie brought home her blank poster, I suggested that we photocopy it so that Emily could have the chance to complete one.

I want to note that I have asked Em why she doesn't just ask her teacher if they are going to be doing this at some point. Her response is that she's too shy to talk to the teacher.






Four year old drama. It's like a light switch.


(I'm only posting that picture because Em laughed at it when I showed it to her.)


Tom & Heather said...

I am a long time lurker of your site. I have identical twin girls who are in the first grade. Everyone told us, separate separate separate. Which we did for pre-K and Kindergarten. We even started first grade but it wasn't working out for our family. It had been my gut after Kindergarten to put them back together but I listened to others instead of my mother's intuition. All I am saying is, all educators aren't always right (and I am a public school teacher!). Sometimes the parents do know best. This isn't meant to confuse you more but just to encourage you to always listen to yourself too. You know them (and your family and the family dynamics) the best. Good luck!

Hanna said...

Sarah, I never comment but I love reading your blog. I probably fit into some parts of the catagory that you mentioned in your post the other day and wanted to let you know that your blog is top of my reading list.

Stacey said...

i use to work at k-2 elementary school in our town and they do an amazing job. The won huge awards about 4 years back. I think you will be very impressed by the amount of care all of the teachers, therapists and aides will give your girls. And no just that, Kindergarten has its own wing and hallway and they are pretty strict with the manners that they expect the kids to have (no running, pushing in the halls, etc.) I had teeny tiny kids in my class rooms that had no problem playing along with the bigger kids. And just so you know, the have an awesome, before and after school program if you ever would think about it that is located in another kindergarten classroom with a registered teacher. Just saying :)

tx folks said...

I wonder? Did I ever thank you for identifying the girls in the pictures? They are SO identical to those of us who don't know them as well as you.

I love how you're mainstreaming Anna. You'll be amazed at how the others in her class will help her. Our daughter had a severely physically handicapped boy in her class and he had NO issues because everyone was concerned for him.

Lily said...

I reopened your site all day just so I could see that picture of Emily :)

Sarah said...

Stacey - THANK YOU!!! We've been very happy with the preschool - they really know Anna. She's not just another kid in the system.

Tom & Heather - This was good to read. I still go back and forth on separating...

Hanna - That's ok if you fit into one (or more) of those categories. The difference is that you have never been mean or snarky to me :)

tx folks - I realized that I should probably label them b/c who knows if I'll be able to figure out who was who 10 years from now. haha

lily - too funny. I laugh every time I look at it!

Brandywine said...

I am a long time follower but this is my first time commenting. I am a kindergarten teacher and have a little experience with teaching multiples. In my experience, it is better for the children to be separated because it allows them to develop their own identity. However, it seems that your girls have already succeeded at that. Kudos to you for being open to trying out separate classes. You know you can always change it if it doesn't work for your family! Good luck in kindergarten! I can't wait to read all about their experiences.

Wendy said...

M&L's teacher complained that they were not "aggressive" enough in class. They didn't want to be called on, though would speak up and answer correctly if called on. She said she didn't feel the girls were ready for K in the fall (they'd have to test in) because of their shyness. It really made me mad- some kids are shy. Some kids are boisterous. As long as the child is retaining the information, does it matter if she is the first to raise her hand? aargh /vent
We will be keeping them together in K when we're finally able to get into a decent district- I plan to keep them together through at least first grade.

Heather Sullivan said...

That first picture, oh, I can just see the baby in her still. So sweet laying there coloring. :)

Good luck with the school transition. I'm sure they will do fine.

Daryl and McCall said...

I'm a new reader of your site, and love your writing style and photos! Two things I loved about this post: 1. I think it is very cool that you put the girls in separate classes to help them function and make friends as individuals. 2. I like how you said you only posted the pic of Em having a small meltdown because she laughed at it first. How neat that you respect your girls' privacy on a blog and only post things that you know wouldn't embarrass them, even though they are young and probably wouldn't know the difference. What a great mom ;)