Remember starting kindergarten?
Mom bought me tons of new clothes and a cute backpack with crayons and some Elmer’s glue. I loved that little backpack and my loafers too! Kindergarten was FUN! What I remember most is that we napped, baked and colored!
Today kids enter Kindergarten already knowing their numbers, letters and a what the Eiffel Tower is. And yes little “J” knows all those things! In today’s Kindergarten they leave reading full sentences and able to tie their shoes.
So, as you can imagine I have been a bit stressed about what Jaden’s social experience will be like. As a mom and a Social Worker I knew last year , when “J” turned 4, that I needed to contact the local school system and fight for him to get an IEP. An IEP is designed to meet the unique educational needs of one child, who may have a disability. The IEP is intended to help children reach educational goals more easily than they otherwise would. In all cases the IEP must be tailored to the individual student’s needs. The IEP’s main focus is on how the child learns best.
After having all the assessments completed we met with a developmental pediatrician that we able to assist us with learning more about little “J’s” needs. In the end he was granted the IEP. Often times as a parent we question if what we have done for our child is the right thing. But let me tell you, this is the best thing we could have done for our little one. He now attends preschool and because teachers now understand how he learns they have been able to help him learn new things. Because of that he has grown to love school ; even though he still rather be at Disney! He still struggles socially, but has come a long way!
So, in a week when litte “J” starts Kindergarten, he will be rockin’ his new “chuck taylors” , “vintage jeans”, with his navy blue and grey “Pirate Backpack”. But the one thing we couldn’t buy goes beyond a backpack. We have a plan. This plan will allow him to grow and develop along side other 5 year olds. Some who learn differently, act differently and come from different socio-economic backgrounds but all will learn and hopefully learn to appreciate each other.
So, I challenge you to go beyond the backpack and figure out how to best help your local school educate your child.
How do you get ready for the school year? Please share any tips or concerns that you have for the upcoming school year!