Look Out, Kindergarten, Here He Comes

Philip is in his last year of preschool. We’ve been thankful that he has a late September birthday so he can get an extra year to prepare for kindergarten. Of course, his peers with earlier birthdays were enjoying their first days of the big K back in September when Philip finally celebrated his big day. That’s why the Imagination Library mails out Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come  when participants reach that milestone age. It’s the final book provided by Dolly Parton’s program once a child turns five-years-old.

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In previous months, as soon as an Imagination Library book arrived in the mail, I would read it to Philip and write a blog post about it. This time, I avoided reading the book. I would be lying if I said that I’m not anxious about kindergarten. The arrival of the book stoked my concerns. I love the preschool that Philip attends. Even though I wish he were in a full-day program, his teacher, therapists, the staff and his classmates are great. I worry about what the future holds.

The topic of kindergarten came up when we attended the open house before school started this year. It was also much-discussed during his IEP meeting.

Finally, a few weeks ago, Philip had used his iPad to say “read.” I decided it was time to show him this book. He sat at the table, eating cereal and turning the pages. A week later, he said “read” again, so I sat at the table with him and read the story to him.

Nancy Carlson’s colorful book is about Henry. Henry can’t wait start kindergarten. Well, he can’t wait until he actually arrives for the first day. Soon, though, Henry’s anxieties disappear as he learns how much fun kindergarten will be.

Not long after reading the book to Philip, I went to his fall first parent-teacher conference. Even though only a month had passed since the IEP meeting, his teacher had so many exciting updates to share including: increased jabbering; counting to twelve on his fingers without anyone teaching him; using his iPad more consistently to communicate his needs; and dancing independently during music time.

His teacher said that she is sad that she can’t keep Philip another year. While she knows that Philip will face challenges in kindergarten, she isn’t sad because doesn’t believe Philip is ready for kindergarten. Instead, she is disappointed that she won’t be there to witness the great leaps of progress that she knows he will make.

Once we finally move into our new home, we will begin visiting the schools to figure out where Philip will enroll. Before I know it, we’ll soon be saying, “Look out kindergarten, here Philip comes!”

6 thoughts on “Look Out, Kindergarten, Here He Comes

  1. Warms my heart reading this:) It is very bittersweet when you have to move on from trusted teachers who have shared the journey with your child and helped move foreword. I still keep in touch with “Johnny’s” first teacher at his first preschool and the two others at the developmental preschool’s he went to. Kindergarten is going to be a a fun but big step for your family but one that Phillip will find parts of that he will love. We were lucky that even though kindergarten is full day here…I was able to put him in half days in JK and then send him to his preschool in the afternoons to give him a comfort zone then in SK year I used the afternoons to send him to specific therapies as we felt he needed so he could gain more confidence in the classroom. Especially as the last part of SK year was like being in Grade 1 in a lot of ways in Canada’s curriculum. Now he is in Grade 1 all day at school and is working at Grade 1 level included in the regular classroom but has some time when he is getting special tutoring. My advice would be to “trust your gut” and what worked for “Johnny” was targeting his specific needs so that he could handle the school expectations. If he found hallways hard because of noise….what’s the solution….if he found sitting at circle time…what’s the solution….if he needed OT for sensory integration…how do we get that to him if school won’t or can’t do this. I found we had to think out of the box. I am always here if you want any tips from what we have gone through because “Johnny” was non-verbal when he entered JK. I think I should start writing more on my blog about this as well plus tell more about where he is at the moment. So happy hearing about Phillips communication progress:)

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  2. I keep in touch with at least two of B’s teachers from his Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) days – they love getting updates and photos. I like that we can still maintain a connection somehow because I do feel it’s important to let our teachers know that all their hard work pays off in the future.

    As for Kindergarten – we are still on a bumpy ride (mainly because ours is still half-day) so the transition to another program can get overwhelming. But, like you, I was so anxious about mainstreaming B. He shares a Para and we have a Resource Teacher that helps out as needed. So far, though, he has stepped up to the challenge and has done for the most part well.

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