Saturday, January 30, 2010

Easing Into Kindergarten

Longtime Elvis Sightings readers will likely remember that we decided to have Joy wait an extra year before starting kindergarten. With her early-summer birthday, Joy won't be all that much older than others in her class, and we really wanted to see what additional communications gains we could make in the extra year.

Well, we've got a school-district team that really helps us put the "Individual" in "IEP." When we put together the plan last year, we decided to do a mid-year modification to get Joy into the school building for at least some portion of her itinerant therapy during the second semester, to build some familiarity so that kindergarten won't come as such a total fruit-basket-upset.

The time has come. As of this coming Tuesday, Joy will spend a couple of hours each Tuesday afternoon in kindergarten practice. At the school.

The schedule looks something like this:

  • 1:00 Joy to arrive at Kindergarten doors (through playground)
    OT meets her for locker routine -- removes boots & coat, hangs coat and backpack in locker [she's got a LOCKER!]

  • 1:10 Joy to walk hand in hand through hallway and stairs -- end up at OT/PT room

  • 1:15 Sensory activities in OT/PT room

  • 1:30 Concentrated fine-motor activity -- sitting at table for stacking, cutting, drawing, etc.

  • 1:45 Transition to special educator -- in gym or continue table tasks in OT/PT room

  • 2:15 Hand-in-hand walk in hallway to block area in Mr. M's kindergarten room for table tasks from bag of familiar tasks.

  • 2:35 To locker to get on boots, coat, backpack.

  • 2:45 Leave with JoyMama.

I'll have the option of either staying at the school and volunteering in Rose's classroom or the library, or heading home for a bit of get-stuff-done time. One neat opportunity that comes up quickly -- Rose gets to be person-of-the-week around her birthday the second week of February, and she's really excited that I'll be available to come celebrate and that I can bring Joy to meet Rose's classmates after her Tuesday activities!

Hard to believe that my baby is really going to school. This coming week. Wow.


Anonymous said...

Truly individual and a plan that is bound to be the envy of many readers. Congrats and sending hearty best wishes for Joy's first days in school! Barbara

Amy said...

I send best wishes for your Monday and such a big new step (for everyone). It certainly sounds like a very carefully constructed IEP, taking Joy's needs and goals into account. Our big day for starting kindergarten is Monday, too! It is certainly one of those 'wow' events and well worth celebrating.

Anonymous said...

Best wishes for next week. Sounds like such a great plan. Charlotte attended preschool AT the same school she attends for Kindergarten, but they did quite a bit of 'familiarizing' for the preschoolers going onto to Kindergarten.

K said...

That is FABULOUS - good luck - ope Joy loves it
Her plan looks very good also

pixiemama said...

I believe this is the best individual planning I have ever heard! I hope it goes very smoothly and does, indeed, prepare Joy for kindergarten.

Will she go for full or half days next year?

Take some of the time for yourself - you REALLY deserve it.


AuntieS said...

How exciting that my little niece is starting school. I am thrilled that Joy has such a thoughtful and appropriate plan. It sounds perfect to begin introducing Joy to school routines and locations and people in such a gradual and consistent way. It will be interesting to see how she handles this new experience. I am glad for my other niece, too, that she will benefit from this experience in various ways.
Lots of love to all of you as you set off on a new part of the journey.

Anonymous said...

Good luck to Joy and good luck to Joy Mama. Has it occurred to anyone else that Tuesday is Groundhog Day? Hopefully Joy will experience the same "same day" feeling that Bill Murray did and will be comfortable with it.

Uncle Marathon

mama edge said...

Having enjoyed nearly a decade of this school's wonderful individualized assistance with my sons, I know you are in good hands. Mazel Tov!

Niksmom said...

Smiling and celebrating as you approach this HUGE milestone! Sending good thoughts and hugs. Doubt you'll need the former bc it sure sounds like a great plan is in place!

StatMama said...

Wow, that really IS individualized planning! I'm so glad to hear that Joy is receiving this kind of consideration. It sounds fantastic, and I look forward to following along with your blogging on this topic. I was just saying tonight that I am SO relieved that my son's birthday will make him one of the later Kindergartners, so he has some extra time to work on his communication skills and social skills. Though he will turn 5 later this year, I really do not think he would be prepared for Kindergarten, at *all*. I frankly can't even imagine it.

Good luck on this new adventure!

Anonymous said...

Excited to hear how it went today!

Elizabeth Channel said...

Wow--that is awesome! I can't wait to hear how it goes!

K said...

This is really a response to your latestpost as for some reason I cannot find the comment button on that post
I thought your post was VERY clever
I think stiming is critical for self regulation - my main solution is based on the greenspan principle of - never take something away - replace it with something even better - that is more socially acceptable
We do sensory diet and in general have the attitude that as long is R is not hurting himself or others we are okay with some stimming