Dream Shard Blog: The Scintillating Adventures of Our Household

Choose a Topic:

Jan '12

All About Wes: His Progress Report

This week I got to sit down with Wesley’s preschool teacher and see how he’s doing. I don’t remember doing this last year, and I’m not sure why I didn’t. Parent-teacher conferences are optional unless your child is preparing to enter kindergarten, but I really wanted to talk with his teacher and know how he’s doing. I can tell Wes loves school and that he is progressing, but he can’t tell me what’s going on at school, and the pictures and crafts he brings home only say so much.

Wes is 4. It’s his second year of preschool and he has one more year to go after this. His birthday is right after the cut-off date for school, which is fine because I think he’ll benefit from being one of the oldest kids in his grade.

He attends a preschool at a nearby elementary school that is taught by a fantastic teacher who specializes in special ed. His classes are a mix of typical and and special needs kids.

First, his teacher gave me a sheet listing Wesley’s strengths and areas in need of more development:

* Names all colors and shapes
* Names all numeral and letters
* Counts 1-10
* Beginning cutting skills: snipping
* Beginning to trace his name
* Plays independently

* Tell personal info: full name, gender, age, parents’ full names, etc.
* Cut on a line and simple shape
* Write first name independently
* We are encouraging play and interaction with peers

Wes is doing so great with his letters, colors, shapes, and numbers. Every day in school they count one through twelve. I was surprised to learn that many kids can only count to five. His teacher said that sometimes if they’re counting and the kids are having trouble getting the numbers they’ll actually look to Wes because they know he knows his numbers.

I asked his teacher if she had ever heard Wes count to twenty. She said she hadn’t and was impressed that he can do it (although you have to use your imagination a little on the teen numbers…they all kind of sound the same when he says them).

Wes is always counting at home, everything he does. He’ll count out the crayons he’s putting away, or the light switches he’s turning off, or the blankets we pile on him at night. He loves to count.

He also loves his letters. Watching “Super Why!” on PBS helps. Every day at school they sing the alphabet song together, and his teacher said he belts it out. Wes loves the alphabet song.

I was watching videos of Wes from one year ago. He seems so different now. In the videos a year ago he used only a few words, like “no” and “more.” He used more signs. He even sounded more like a toddler than a boy. Now he is much more chatty and talks quite a lot. I have no idea what he’s talking about most of the time, but sometime I can pick out words I recognize.

Wes isn’t really conversational yet, but he is getting closer. You can ask him a question like, “Do you want more milk?” and he can say, “Yes” or “No.” This is great progress! He learned how to say “yes” and “no” sometime in the last year and it is so nice for me, because before I’d have to just guess. At school he learned how to say, “Hi” or “Hello” and “Bye, see you later!” It’s part of their routine when they get off the bus upon arrival and again as they load up to leave. I think it’s awesome to hear him come up to me and say, “Hi, Mom. How doin’?” I usually say, “I’m doing great! How are you doing?” He doesn’t say anything back yet, but maybe someday he will.

He is making phrases that resemble sentences, like “Issa seeping” (“Carrisa’s sleeping”). When he wants something he’ll still just use the single word: “Milk!” or “Pretzels!” We try to get him to say, “More milk, please” but he ends up just saying the last word we say: “Peese!”

I’m so happy he calls me Mom. It took a while; he probably started saying it sometime in the last year (Carissa is already calling me Mom, and she’s 16 months old). I try to remember how glad I am to hear it when he’s yelling at me from the other room to get my attention. My next big dream and hope: To hear him say, “I love you, Mom!”

His teacher asked me if I’d ever heard Wes say the Pledge of Allegiance. That one caught me off guard. No, I haven’t! She said that every day the kids stand, put their hand on their heart, and say the Pledge together. She’s been meaning to videotape it and send it to me, because apparently Wes does a really great job saying it! I’ll have to get us a flag so I can hear it in person at home.

We talked about how easy going Wesley is, and that sometimes that leads to being an easy target for bullying. His own sister beats up on him sometimes (hitting him) and he sits and takes it meekly. We’re trying to teach him to say, “No!” or “Stop!” or to run away, or something, and his teacher is doing the same at school. I think it will take some more time for him to get his self-defense skills more honed.

Wes is great at playing by himself. They want him to interact more with his peers. Right now he’s just starting what they call parallel play–he’ll take a toy and sit near another child, still playing independently but doing it next to someone else. So that’s progress.

His teacher said Wes likes to throw toys. I just laughed. (If you’ve met Wes, you know this about him.) He doesn’t throw them at people. He just likes to toss. She said that sometimes he’ll take a bin of toys and sit down with it, and she’ll look at him and say, “Now, don’t throw those toys, Wes.” Wes clearly understands what she’s saying and looks very humble. And then when she’s not looking he’ll carefully scoot around the corner where she can’t see him, and then she’ll hear the sound of toys being thrown. Sneaky kid. Does the same thing at home.

Wes loves singing time. He loves music, and lately I’ve noticed him actually singing along to songs. This is great progress! He used to just listen because he didn’t even talk much. Then after a while he started to repeat the last word of a phrase along with you as you sang. Now I’m noticing him in church singing along with hymns, even drawing out the sounds of words long when we’re holding a note. He’ll also kind of “scat” to instrumental songs–go “bah, bah, da dum” or something along with the sound of the music.

His teacher knows he loves music, too, because when they’re taking turns picking songs for singing time at school, if he’s not called on pretty quickly for a turn, he’ll point at himself and say, “WESLEY!” and then jump up to take his turn. His teacher will ask him to sit down, have quiet lips (he puts his finger over his lips), and to raise his hand. And THEN he gets his turn.

Wes is doing well overall. We can’t complain. His teacher loves him and he feels safe and welcomed at school. There was a period a while ago when Wes cried and didn’t want to get on the bus when it was time for school. It was weird. I thought maybe he was sick or something. After talking to his teacher I realized that this probably happened when there was a substitute filling in for his teacher, and her aides reported that the sub was pretty ornery with the kids. They told her that Wes, in particular, didn’t do well with the substitute. His teacher, to her credit, got that sub blacklisted from her classroom and is no longer allowed to teach her kids.

The teacher is a huge factor that determines whether a kid loves school, likes it, tolerates it, or hates it. We talked a little about Wesley’s future schooling experience. It will be different after preschool. He’ll probably be in a regular classroom with 25+ other kids. He’s so easy-going that both his teacher and I can see him getting lost in the shuffle easily. We’ll cross that bridge later, I guess. I hope he will always be in a good, safe, loving environment so he will like school and love learning. For now he is having a prime experience in school, and I am so glad.

Leave a passing comment »

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.