Thomas has been in kindergarten for almost three weeks now. We’ve had picture day, our first day home sick, the first field trip, and Parents’ Night already. Actually, all of that was this week-and it’s only Thursday! Picture day was Tuesday. His teacher said he did a very nice job sitting for the pictures. Tuesday night he was a little lethargic, and he didn’t eat much supper. Wednesday morning he woke up with a fever, so he stayed home. He threw up on the stairs a little after lunchtime, and proceeded to feel much better the rest of the day. It was unfortunate, however, that he was sick on Wednesday since it was also the first Parents’ Night and we actually had a sitter and both Erik and I were going to attend. As it turned out, I went alone and Erik stayed home with Thomas. More on that later. Today Thomas woke up feeling much better, although when we asked if he wanted to go on a field trip to go apple picking, he burst into tears and said he didn’t want to go and that he wanted to stay home. Thankfully we pushed through the tears and sent him to school because he had a wonderful time. He got to ride a school bus to the apple orchard, pick apples, drink cider and eat apple donuts, and see a pig and goat. His teacher said she couldn’t even tell he’d been sick the day before.
So, anyways, Parents’ Night . . . I’m starting to have some serious concerns about Thomas’ placement, and I wish I’d pushed the issue a bit more forcefully. He’s in a class with two other kids and three teachers. On the one hand, that means lots of individual attention. On the other hand, what he really needs to work on is social interaction – especially with other kids. He does pretty well with adults, he needs more peers in his life. I did talk to the teacher about some integration work that they are planning with the other classrooms, but the more I think about it, the more I feel like it is going to be too slow. Not only does he miss out on being with his peers (many of whom were preschool friends) in the classroom, but he misses the potential for out-of-school playdates, get-togethers, and birthday parties. I think our next step with be contacting his teacher to find out a bit more about the criteria for placement in each of the classroom, in order to get a better understanding of why they think he needs quite this intensive program. It’s a new model that they are rolling out this year with three different special ed classroom. Overall I like the model, but I’m worried that they had to justify the three classrooms politically and therefore needed to put a few kids in the more intensive room even if they probably would have been okay in a different room.
I also stressed to the teacher the need to challenge Thomas academically. She was going over the competencies that he has to reach in language and math skills by the end of the year, and he can do most of them already. The worst thing for his behavior in the classroom would be him becoming bored!