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.
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!”