Hey everybody! It’s been a circus around here lately and there are some big changes coming up for Mr. Hayden. He is eligible to start kindergarten in the fall, but there’s no way he’s going to be ready for that by then, so Chris and I have decided to hold him back in preschool for another year. I’ve been pushing to get more information on this since the beginning of the school year, but I didn’t get any solid answers until school started back up after Christmas. There is a special program at a nearby school that is very focused on speech development. We went to check it out and we think it’s going to be a great fit for Hayden! This is a very small class of all special needs students (Hayden will be the seventh student) and three teachers. At first we were concerned that since he wouldn’t be in an inclusion class, he would miss out on that type of socialization. He’s learned a lot this year from watching all the other kids and we didn’t want him to miss out on that, but we talked to his new teacher and after hearing more about the kids and where they are in their development, we think it’s going to be great for him. All these kids are still learning how to play with each other, which is PERFECT for Hayden! He is such a timid kid that even when he gains all the language in the world, he is not going to force his way into a game with kids that are bigger and farther along than he is. He’s more of an observer and loves to watch everybody else play, but he’s not necessarily going to join in. In his new class however, he’s going to be learning to play with children that are very similar to him in size and abilities at the same time that they are also learning to play with him. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he’s going to be encouraged by the fact that his new classmates are more like him and won’t be intimated to try and play with them. This will be the first time that Hayden is going to be on the same level with everyone else and I think that will be a big confidence booster for him. We (mostly me if being I’m honest) were really nervous about the change, but his new teacher seems to be very sweet and I think he will like her a lot. We took Hayden to see the classroom one day during their centers time to see how he did. It was dicey at first because he was getting a cold and the three-nager blues are hitting us hard (that’s another post and I’m feeling a revival of the Asshole Parenting Diaries coming up), but he warmed up! The school is also 6 minutes away rather than 30, which will save us a couple of hours a day in driving time. What am I going to do with myself!?! All these things are definite advantages, but you guys know my mind wouldn’t be happy if I didn’t come up with some things to worry about.
Now on to my concerns.
I hate that we’re having to move him so quickly. As I’ve mentioned before, he’s doing really well adjusting to new situations if we have plenty of time to talk to him about it. We’ve been working on making the move and telling him about it for the last couple of weeks, but I wish we had gotten all this information sooner (i.e. BEFORE Christmas break or ANY of the times that I brought it up). I’ve been trying to talk about this since May to see what our options are, but all I could get answer-wise was “You never know! Let’s wait and see!” and my very favorite “Don’t worry! He’ll be fine!” Well…anybody who knows Hayden can see that he’s not ready for kindergarten. He’s made HUGE strides this year and it’s been great to see, but there’s so much more he needs to be able to do before he’s ready. Even if he gained every physical skill he needs, he’s not emotionally mature enough for that step. He is still lacking a lot of the basic independent functioning skills and self-discipline that’s required for regular school. I feel like another year of preschool is going to give him a big leg up in that department, and the only way to give him that time is to move him to this new program, but I’m worried about Hayden is going to feel about it. Since he can’t tell us, I’m afraid that he’s going to be scared, lonely, upset, etc about being picked up from his old school one day and never going back.
I’m also sad for me a little bit, which is silly and completely self-serving, but we are shooting for honesty here. His current school has been this little cocoon for us. We already had friends whose children go there and now that we’ve been there for two years, we have become friends with several of the teachers. It’s all familiar territory around there and it feels like a safety net. Everyone is very familiar with Hayden and his quirks and he’s done great while he’s been there. Because we have such a tight knit community around here, I know there are lots of eyes looking out for Hayden even beyond his teachers and IEP team. I know we will build new relationships and friendships at his new school, but it feels a little lonely for me. I switched schools a lot as a kid and I remember how lonely and scary it was at first, so I think I’m lonely FOR him if that makes any sense. We did find out that one of his new teachers lives across the street from a friend of ours and one of his new therapists is actually the mother of his first preschool teacher! That was a comforting sign for us that this new program is the right move for him, it’s just going to be a little sad.
Keep your fingers crossed that this is a smooth transition for Hayden and that he adapts to the new class pretty quickly. I’ve created a daily countdown calendar that we can mark off every day until he makes the move next week. It’s super basic, but I’m happy to send it to anyone out there who wants it.
Email me or leave me a comment and I’ll send you the PDF without the days of the week printed on so you can customize it! Have any of your kids had to switch schools in the middle of the year? What did you do to make that easier for them? Leave me a comment or find me on Facebook & Instagram and give me your best tips!