Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Kindergarten here we come

 It has been a couple of weeks since my last post because we have been pretty busy. I also was wanted my next post to be about somec I wanted to be 100% positive about before I wrote about it.
    Cullen is getting ready to graduate from preschool on June 4th and it is really very bittersweet for me. Cullen is my baby and it makes me kind of sad that I will never have a pre-schooler again. I also have grown attached to his school and the wonderful woman who work there. I have been involved at the school since Cody was three they have been with me through so much and I cannot believe my time with them is over.
      I also had this mantra that I kept telling myself over the years whenever it got hard, that soon I would have a third grader, a second grader and a kindergartener and it would be so much easier. The thing is that it is not easier, it has gotten harder and I find myself making decisions that I never thought I would have to make.
     My hardest decision was to place Cullen in the exceptional children's program at BrevardElementry instead of traditional kindergarten at his home school of Rosman. I did not take the decision lightly I began muling it over in November and just made my final decision. There were three options I was debating.
1) Keep him out for a year and see if any developments are made between ages 5-6 before enrolling him. Cullen is a young kindergartener he will have just turned 5 three days before kindergarten begins. But there were a couple flaws with that plan, one being that at his school they would not let him stay an extra year which leads to the second that as much as I would love it I am not a stay at home mom and it would be to hard with my husbands schedule to have him stay up all night and then watch Cullen all day.
2)Enroll him at his home school of Rosman Elementary in a traditional kindergarten class and ride it out and hope for the best. There were several pros with that option, I live extremely close to the school and if he were to have a bad day it would be easy for my husband or me to go get him. I am familiar with the staff at Rosman and have been extremely pleased with the way they have treated my other two boys. But the con's outnumbered the pro's. Having gone through the kindergarten gauntlet fairly recently I was aware of just how much is expected of these little guys. Would Cullen be comfortable sitting at a desk all day? Would be able to follow directions and do everything that is expected if him, would it but a strain on the teachers and the class to have him causing frequent disruptions? In the end I decided that trying to enroll him at Rosman would be selfish on my part because while it would be easier on me it would be much harder on him. Which leaves the third option of.
3) Enroll him at Brevard Elementary which is the only school in the county that has a exceptional children's classroom. I had several reservations about doing it. Part was so many negative connotations about the concept. When I was in school it was called Cross Catagorial, and the room was just a hodgepodge of kids who did not fit in the normal classroom setting. Some had behavioral issues, some were deaf or blind, some had downs syndrome. It semed lime al the mids were just stuffed in one room to mill around aimlesly. I remember the room being small but appointed wirh the kind of toys you saw in a preschool room. Then I toured the class at Brevard and all my reservations were lifted.
    The class was very inclusive, they had the space of about three classrooms in one. There were only about seven kids and four adults so each child got plenty of one on one attention. There was a wonderful room called the sensory room that was equipped with a swing, a trampoline a little foam circle filled with blankets and a light up board on the wall that when the lights were turned of in the room the board twinkled like stars.
I took Cullen to visit the room and he loved it, and I knew that this was the best place for him. I want him to be were he is safe and comfortable. I do not think he would be comfortable in any other setting. In this room they will work with him to achieve his goals but also give him the space he needs.
   My decision being made and him being enrolled I am still grappling with it. Just the other day someone was asking me how old he was and when I said almost five they were shocked
 "You mean he is going to kindergarten this year?"
"Not normal kindergarten though right?"
"At Brevard in the EC room."
"Oh ok that makes sense."
 It tears me up that it is not viewed as normal kindergarten, that he still may face ridicule. But I am still happy with my decision, the most important thing is his happiness and I think this class will be a very positive experience for him.

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