Friday, December 05, 2008

We visited Bria's pre-k placement today

Her IEP for staffing is on Monday! I can't believe she's going to be 3 in less than a month and is going to start preschool. I'm kind of excited for what it means for her and I'm sad too because she'll be away from home 4 mornings a week instead of just the two (I admit, I LIKE the two... but 4 is a LOT!). We're of course going to take it a little bit at a time, and this placement is going to be from January until May/June when school gets out. Still, that's 5 months!

We visited her potential placement where we'll have her staffing meeting on Monday. Even though I asked yesterday what time they go out to the playground so we could avoid visiting during that time, we still ended up being there at that time. They had changed their schedule for today in order to do something special in the afternoon so they went outside an hour early. Still, we got there at the end of their 'circle time' and Brianna sat on my lap and seemed to be listening and watching what was going on. She of course had her fingers in her mouth and was twirling her hair because that's what she does when she's cuddling and unsure of things.

Then everyone went outside and she didn't want to stand on the circle that was the end of the line. She sure showed us all a nice piece of her stubborn side! Oh, but did I mention that every single child in the classroom- including the other little boy with Ds- is at least 4" taller than her? There's only one that's even that small and most are much closer to 6-7" taller! I know she's tiny, but goodness! The class is a K-3 class which means that any child that turned 3 after August 31 of LAST year (2007) is in the cut-off for this year. So some of the kids have actually already turned 4, but new children that hit age 3 during the school year go into the class as soon as they turn 3 because of the way laws are written. So Brianna is going to be in a K-3 class this year, then next year she'll still be in a K-3 class because she will still only be 3 on August 31st of next year. And just to make things confusing, Micah will turn 3 on Sept 10th and start in a K-3 class next year as well... and he'll have almost 2 full years in K-3 because his misses the cut-off. So next year I'll have two kids in Kindergarten and two in K-3 :)

Anyway... the teacher is nice, there are 2 aides in the room and the class is 50/50 with children with special needs and reverse mainstreamed kids. I didn't quite understand how or why, but I'm told that on Fridays there are almost twice as many kids as are there on Monday-Thursday because of something about how different kids come on different days and almost all of both groups come on Fridays. So on Mon and Wed there will only be about 8 kids, 4 with special needs and 4 typical kids.

We talked with the main teacher a little about how they'll handle her stubbornness, which is honestly my biggest concern, and she said they'll do hand-over-hand with her to help her do things. I asked about her walking since she's still a new walker and will often get tired and just refuse to walk and there's really no making her. She said that they'd have one aide stay back with her and get her to walk where they're going. I know that the structure of this classroom SHOULD help her to learn to follow directions more and help her to get a good start to being able to be integrated into a regular classroom as she advances in school, but she's so little and so young still compared to all of the other kids that I'm also a little afraid that it will end up being really hard on her. I'm still struggling with whether or not she's really ready for that kind of environment.

And then it comes back to-- she'd be gone FOUR mornings a week and that's a LOT of time for a brand new 3 year old to be away from home! I know, I know, lots of kids go to daycare or full day pre-k at that age and much younger, but I love having my kids home with me and being the primary influence on their emotional development. I worry much more about that than their educational and physical goals. Those things will come as long as the emotional development is appropriate.

So... though I like the classroom, the teacher is nice, we know one of the aides (wife of one of Mike's mom's former bosses and very sweet), and there's nothing I dislike about it... I'm still on the fence as to whether it's a better option to send her to school those other 2 mornings/week or to keep her home and have Emma's teacher add an hour of time with Brianna to her weekly visits (which would be the other choice on the table... both sets of people will be at the staffing meeting).

What a tough decision... I wish I could pull the answer out of the air and just KNOW that it's the best thing for Brianna in January. But I don't. I'm tending toward "let's try it" with the pre-k setting with a re-evaluation after a month or 6 weeks. I do want to give her time to settle in if we try her there. I don't want to lose the option of a home teacher continuing to work with her and just bringing her somewhere for therapies during the week.

Where's that peek to the future???

Oh PS, I realized after Cammie commented that I didn't mention that either way she'll continue on at her 2 morning/week mom's morning out program at the church where she's with all typical kids. But that's not an academic based program, it's play and Bible based (also good things) but at least gets her around her typical peers... :D


  1. Meredith, as someone who works in an environment very similar to what you are describing, I understand your hesitance. Some of the kiddos we get right at age three do just fine and others do much better receiving itinerant services for a year. I would do what you think will be best for Brianna. However, I do see so many kids improve soo much being around peers. I know she has her awesome siblings, but there is something to say about peer interaction. I know God will lead you down the right path for Brianna, good luck!

  2. It's crazy, isn't it? I'm already dreading Will's third birthday because I know he'll be gone to pre-school too :(
    I know we need our space & it's good for them, but sad too.
    I am sure she will do just fine. It's the mamas that hve a hard time adjusting...

  3. My 2 1/2 yr old Foster Child w/ SBS will lose all home OT/PT services in April when she turns 3. Then the state wants to send her to a developmental preschool. The thing is - she is at the physical and cognitive level of a 3 month old! The state won't even approve a wheelchair for her, how are they going to provide for her in school? She won't get ANYTHING out of it, in my opinion, but overstimulation (which she HATES) and germs!
    And as the lowly foster mom, I have absolutely NO say!!!


  4. don't send her. go with your instincts. being the youngest, mobility problems and needed special aid and in a room with mainstream kids. from a parent with older children, sometimes you have to take a step back before you can take 2 forward. mimi from ga

  5. Max is now 7 years old. I remember before he was 3 I was sad just thinking that when he turned 3 he would be going to pre-k. It was hard but he did great. This year he started 1st grade and goes all day. That was also a huge step (to me at least). (Kindergarten here is half day).

    I'm sure she will be fine but it is an adjustment. Goes with what you feel is right.

  6. Try it but definitely trust your gut. Here's what kids are expected to know in Kindergarten: the alphabet all mixed up, numbers to 10 all mixed up, basic coins, colors and shapes, counting objects to 10 and how far they can count to 100. They need not master these concepts but they will be tested on them with the results at your first parent teacher conference. You can start practicing at home with Brianna and follow her lead. She will let you know if she is ready or not, just make it fun with no pressure!Happy 3K!
    Smiles - Stacey