Hayden is headed to a new school! He is eligible for kindergarten next year, but his independent functioning skills are still really behind, so we think it’s best to hold him back. I have tried getting more information on this for awhile, but I didn’t get any solid answers until school started back after Christmas.
There is a special program nearby that focuses primarily on speech development. We checked it out and we think it is a great fit for Hayden! It is a very small class of all special needs students (Hayden will be the seventh student) and three teachers. At first we were concerned that since he wouldn’t be in an inclusion class, he would miss that socialization. He learns a lot from watching other kids and we didn’t want him to miss out on that. After learning more about the class and their development, we think the new school is going to be a great fit.
All these kids are still learning how to play with each other, which is PERFECT for Hayden!
He is so timid that even with all the language in the world, he is not going to force his way into a group. He’s more of an observer and loves to watch everybody else play, but he’s not necessarily going to join in. At his new school however, he’s going to be learning to play with children that are very similar to him. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he will be encouraged that his new classmates are more like him and won’t be intimated to play with them. This is the first time Hayden will be on par with everyone else, and I think that will be a big confidence booster for him.
I am pretty nervous about the change, but his new teacher seems very sweet and he will really like her. We took Hayden to see the classroom one day during their free time to see how he did. It was dicey at first thanks to a cold and the Three-nager ‘Tude, but he warmed up! The new school is also only six minutes away rather than 30, which will save us a couple of hours every day. What am I going to do with myself!?! There are definite advantages, but y’all know my mind wouldn’t be happy if I didn’t find something to worry about.
New School, New Worries
I hate that we are moving him so quickly. As I’ve mentioned before, he’s doing really well adjusting to new situations if we can really prepare him. We’ve been talking about the move with him, but I wish we had gotten this information sooner. Like…BEFORE Christmas break or ANY of the times that I brought it up. I have asked about this since May, but all I got answer-wise was: “You never know! Let’s wait and see!” My very favorite was “Don’t worry, he’ll be fine!”
Anybody who knows Hayden can see that he’s not ready for kindergarten. He’s made HUGE strides this year, which is GREAT, but there’s so many more skills he needs before he’s ready. Even if he gained every physical skill he needs, he’s not emotionally mature enough for that step. He is still lacking a lot of the basic independent functioning skills and self-discipline that’s required for regular school.
I feel like another year of preschool will give him some more time, and the only way he gets that is in this program.
I’m also worried about how Hayden is going to feel about it. I’m afraid that he will feel scared, lonely, upset, etc, if he leaves school one day and never goes back. He can’t tell us and the thought of him feeling that way makes me really sad.
I’m also sad for me, which is silly and completely self-serving, but we are shooting for honesty here. His current school has been a little cocoon for us. We already had friends there and after two years, we are now friends with several of the teachers. It’s all familiar territory around there and it feels like a safety net. Everyone is very familiar with Hayden and his quirks and he’s done great while he’s been there. We have such a close community that I know there are lots of eyes looking out for Hayden.
We will build relationships and friendships at his new school, but it feels a little lonely for me. I switched schools a lot and I remember how isolating and scary it was, so I think I’m lonely FOR him if that makes any sense? We found out that one of his new teachers lives across the street from a friend and his new OT is actually the mother of his first teacher! That was a comforting sign that this program is the right move, it’s just going to be a little sad.
Keep your fingers crossed for a smooth transition and that he adapts to the new class pretty quickly. I’ve created a daily countdown calendar that we can mark off every day until he makes the move next week. It’s super basic, but I’m happy to send you a blank PDF so you can customize it!
Have any of your kids had to switch schools in the middle of the year? What did you do to make that easier for them? Leave me a comment and give me your best tips! For updates on new posts, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
To read more about when he started preschool, check out this post.