We had a fab vacation, but the kids were fighting A LOT too. And there are a lot of situations that are really hard for Vincent to deal with. Waiting for food in a restaurant is never a hit, and not running away in the street is a tough one too. Not pushing Edgar in the street, off a dock, in the water or under the water is making it a constant game of always, and I mean ALWAYS being right there. Not a single second un-attended. Not one. Ever. I usually shrug it off, I am used to it, and that is just the way it is. Eds is quite a drama queen as well and I swear they tag team each other against me too. But at times it gets to me and you get a feeling of complete failure. Failure to fix, to educate, to be patient, to be there, to listen, to understand and try to understand an almost non-verbal 6-year-old. Is it a DS thing or is he mad at me cause I just can’t understand what he is trying to explain with words that to him seem perfectly clear?
There have been many times when I have asked myself if we are making the right decision putting Vince in our neighborhood school. The last weeks have been pretty tough (four weeks off). Should we have considered the special eds program more? Well, actually, that is not an option here in Sweden, the first year, grade zero, has no special ed’s classes. There is no separate plan for kids with special needs. They are all main streamed for grade zero. Made this decision a bit easier to make. However, there was the option of leaving him one extra year in Kindegarten, which we decided against. Also, we have the wonderful opportunity that in our neighborhood school there are three kids born in 2006 who have Down syndrome.
There are 19 kids in the class. Like I said, three of them have DS. There are two teachers, and three special eds teachers in the classroom. School is set up that drop of is from 6.30 am and pick up is latest 5.30. If you come before 7.30 you have breakfast in school. Lunch and snacks are also served in school. At noon, the class room turns into an after school activity room. So after school and school is in the same class room, with the same teachers. I like it. Four of the teachers are full-time, and one is 75%. The special eds teachers are not assigned to the three kids with DS, but rather to the whole group. I like that.
With that said and more than a bit nervous I took Vince to his first day of school today.
I think it went rather fine. There were some situations when he told me he wanted to go to sleep (if he only knew how many years of school he has left), a few times when he looked sad, but in general he looked pretty comfortable in his new surroundings. I was with him for half a day. There were a few things that had to be addressed and needed immediate attention. One example being that during the breaks one adult HAS to know where Vince is at all times. The school is not fenced in, it has a rather large wooded area and there is this little mountain/rock thing which one easily could fall off and get hurt. At first when I pointed this out to one teacher she responded with saying that this is a great place to learn boarders and develop gross motor skills. Very true, but as Vince (and Eds) both are kind of test pilots and crash first, then learn, this was not an opportunity I am ready to learn from (falling off the rock and then with a broken arm or leg learn to be careful).
Anyways, when I returned in the afternoon after having left him a few hours on his own, the teachers had realized that there needs to be some more definite guidelines set up. There will be a few changes in some rooms and a schedule as to who will watch Vince specifically during breaks. I like it. They could have gone all ‘We know best’, but after just one half day they realized some changes are necessary.
The principal stopped by and asked if I was comfortable and what my most immediate concerns were. I like it.
And most important of all, Vince had fun! He enjoyed playing with the things in school and he enjoyed being with his friends again. I think this is the right choise and I think Vince will learn a lot. And I like that.
Walking to his class room