Thursday, April 30, 2009

Crystal ball

I wish I had a crystal ball...

School 1 - K-6 primary school. It has a great early learning program for Kindy and year 1. Children work at own pace, following own interests. There is group work. They use visuals so the children select 2-3 different activities to work on in the morning. Parent volunteers are trained and help in the classroom. Homework goes home each Friday - it is usually letters or sight words for the children to learn as well as a sheet explaining the week's social skills lesson. I think the principal is happy to have us but probably expects us to move Hannah on at grade 2 or 3. Where to? I don't know - and if we did that would mean disrupting Kit (whether we leave him there or no). Other parents say it will provide a nurturing environment. Specific support is unlikely although staff will receive some training from DSA association etc. Has a divided play area for K-2 and 3-6 kids. Occassional canteen. Playarea is mostly quadrangles - so all bitumen. Kids go to local oval (across the road) for sport. If it doesn't work out most likely to leave Kit there and move Hannah - either to a school with a special unit for children with mild intellectual disability or one with a unit for children with a moderate intellectual disability.

School 2 - K-2 infants school. Very old fashioned approach. Rigourous on routine and homework - I've heard they 'train the aprents' too. Very welcoming of us. Han would most likely be in a composite class with the assistant principal and a Learning Support Officer'. The AP is very happy to have her in there. Not so sure about structured parent volunteer programs although other parents say they feel welcome and can be involved. Lovely grassy grounds. No canteen. From here most likey to send them to School 3 for remainder of primary - further integration there may be more difficult although a number of other kids from this school also go onto school 3 too.

School 3 - K-6 with OC class (that's a special needs unit for students with moderate intellectual disability). Assistant Principal teaches kindy - happy to mainstream Han. If funding available may get an aid - together we work out best use of aid - eg I am worried that with hannah being shy with other kids that she will end up not belonging in the mainstream and not in the OC group either. Great grassy play areas. Teachers 'know all about DS, autism etc'. I have heard that there have been issues with bullying there. New principal this year - she seems good but obviously has some work to do - and I think she'll get it done. She is big on 'community'. If it doesn't work out - no real options. Transfer Hannah into the OC class -if she meets criteria and it is possible.

So - Hannah has great skills but her weak areas are expressive language and social interactions - she has great social skills (I've seen them with Kit and her best friend 12 yr old R) but lacks confidence and language skills to engage with her peers.

So does anyone have a crystal ball? What should I do? How do I look after the interests of both my precious brats?


Jen said...

School 3 sounds like it to me. Seems like it has all the bases covered. Sounds like the only issue is the bullying, and that, as you said, is just something you heard, not necessarily fact. Also, bullying can be addressed and corrected, or the bully may move on anyway.

I think the main thing to look for is supportive administrators and teachers. If you've got that, everything else can be worked out or will just fall into place.

datri said...

I so feel for you. We are transitioning to Kindy also and had to look at schools. It's such a hard decision!!