Exciting Opportunity

Monday, September 22, 2008

Yesterday was the Grade One Welcome Party we hosted for Mr. Boy's classmates, their parents, and siblings. Only about half of the class was able to make it, but it was plenty of people anyway, and I got a chance to talk to everyone, which was nice. I sat down with one of the moms, and out of the blue, she brought up the fact that her son is a year older than all the other children in the class because she had him held back a year. She had had him assessed by a psychologist to see if he was mature enough to start grade one at the 'normal' age. It seems that he was of average intelligence, and his doctor also wrote a letter saying that his was slightly smaller than average.

The mother brought this information to the current principal at our local school and asked that he be held back a year. The principal denied the request, so this boy's mother went to the school board who overruled the principal, and she was able to have him held back. As I listened to the mother, I felt like I was being handed a gift!

I've been thinking a lot about what Precious will do next September. She's due to start junior kindergarten in 11 months because she was born in 2005. She would be 3 years old, and one of the youngest children in the class. She's already at a bit of a disadvantage with her gross motor and speech delays. She is currently making two, three of four word sentences, doesn't yet know the alphabet and just started counting to 10. She started mainstream preschool a few weeks ago and she has trouble focusing on tasks for long periods of time and she definitely doesn't like waiting! Maybe I'm babying my 'baby' a little bit too, but I really can't see her going to JK next year.
Part of the reason for my concern about having Precious properly integrated into the school was stories I had heard about our school only accepting the most talented and homogeneous students. As a French immersion school, the administration is in the habit of kicking children out of the school for poor academic performance. All along, I was wondering if Precious would outgrow her delays, or if they could be accommodated at our current school. I just want what's best for her, and I was willing to look into other school boards or private schools but it would be nice if all three kids went to the same school, and if she was able to keep up with her classmates without a lot of extra intervention.

We were running out of time to decide what to do. We need to assess Precious' development. We are due to see a psychologist who will be willing to give a prognosis (first doctor ever who will do so, BTW) but s/he won't even see her until around 4 years old, but Precious was to be partially done JK at that point!

While it's not a sure thing that we can have her enrolled in JK a year late, at least it is a possibility. Two more years in preschool and at home are just was Precious needs. If she's still behind developmentally, the extra year will make it less noticeable. The thing that really bothers me is that I was following the rules so strictly that I never even thought to question Precious starting school later. I assumed she could start later but would have to start senior kindergarten instead. This is where thinking creatively would be a blessing!

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