Dream Shard Blog: The Scintillating Adventures of Our Household

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Jun '12

Summer Preschool

I enrolled Wesley in summer preschool this year, for the first time.

His preschool during the school year is actually a free service (because of his special needs; it counts as his therapy offered through the school district), and I have to pay for summer preschool, but my hope is that it’s worthwhile because 1) Wes loves school and 2) he gets speech therapy as part of the package. His speech is improving tremendously all the time, but the more help he gets, the better off he will be. Carissa is catching up to him pretty quickly.

He started this past week. The #1 awesome thing so far about this preschool is that it’s at a university, which means they do research, which means each classroom is attached to an observation room, which means I can sit behind a one-way mirror and watch Wes in action at school to see how he’s doing.

Before preschool started I met with the director, his teacher, and three aides (it was a little intimidating! I thought I was just going to meet with his teacher) and we talked about what they needed to know to help Wes succeed this summer. Their first question: “How does his regular preschool work with him?” My answer: “I have no clue.”

Which is absolutely true, although I wish it weren’t. During the school year Wes gets picked up by the bus, dropped off by the bus 2.5 hours later, and what happens in between is a total mystery to me. My only clues are the pictures he brings home and the quarterly speech therapy report.

I can ask Wes about school but he has no ability (yet) to feed me any information. I know he’s happy and I have to assume he’s learning. But WHAT he’s learning and HOW he’s learning it–no idea.

So now I can sit and watch. Also, the week’s classroom agenda hangs on the wall in the observation room. I can study it to see what books the class is reading, what themes they’re working on, and what activities they’re doing. That’s helpful.

(Oh, and in case you wondered, the other major questions the preschool people asked were, “Is he a runner?” and “Does he have a problem keeping his shoes on?”, both of which I answered with a big “Yes.” They’ve had other students with DS and know that they are masterful escape artists and, for some reason, hate keeping their shoes on.)

So far Wes has been given a lot of one-on-one time with an aide who has been shadowing him, although that probably will happen less and less. The director purposely kept the class numbers down a little to make the teacher/student ratio a little better so Wes can have extra help if needed. I appreciate that they’ve been keeping him in mind.

I’ve seen him push a toy train around, color on the white board, pet the class bunny (he liked that a lot), sing songs (also liked that a lot), sit in large group time (a little wiggly), and eat snacks. I did one time pass by the playground during outside time and was a little heartbroken to see him standing by himself, clinging to the bars of the fence, looking out instead of playing.

But I know he likes this playground because I’ve taken him around on it. It’s a nice set.

Wes seems to like snack time. It’s interesting to see him interact with and eat among other kids. In this picture he’s helping himself to another helping of yogurt. He was one of the last kids done eating.

He has six more weeks to go, a month off, and then he returns to his regular preschool for one last year before kindergarten.

I admit, while Wes is in school, Carissa and I–when not sitting in the observation booth–have been shamelessly enjoying some mother-daughter time. One day we drove to a bakery and got a piece of bread to eat. We sat outside and Carissa tossed little pieces to the birds on the sidewalk, which totally delighted her and was fun to watch. Another day we visited a bagel shop for breakfast and ate together while she looked out the window and exclaimed “Bus!” or “Truck!” every time one passed by.

And, yes, OK, one day we went shopping. Just for fun and no other reason. Carissa is the ideal shopping companion (UNLIKE Wes). She likes to touch the clothing and try on the sunglasses and bracelets.

Trying on maternity clothes (19 weeks).

I think this week we’ll hit the library, the animal museum, and take more walks around campus. It is summer, after all!

1 Comment »

One Response to “Summer Preschool”

  1. tara72 Says:

    That’s cool that they kept the numbers in the class down to assist Wes. That says a lot for the preschool!

    Love that last picture of Carissa in the mirrors.

    Oh, and I think I told you that I heard the Bean Museum was closing on July 1 for renovation. So keep that in mind. :) We’ll have to go as well before they close!

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