We got some great news yesterday: Lane got a spot in our county’s Universal Pre-K program! This means she gets to go to preschool starting in September for 5 days a week, 2.5 hours a day, at no cost to us. Given the very tight budget we are going to have to be on once we own this house, ‘no cost to us’ is an incredibly wonderful thing.
The best part of the news is that she was placed at our first choice school. The school is run by a local agency that specializes in services for the disabled; the preschool is an offshoot of their programs. Lane’s class specifically is a blended class: half the children in each class are ‘typical’ kids (like Lane) and half are kids with some early-intervention type needs – speech therapy, sensory issues, some minor motor development issues. I fully expect that when I visit and volunteer in the class, I won’t be able to tell the typical kids from the others. There are other classes at the school for kids with greater needs: classes for kids with autism, classes for kids with physical disabilities, and some programs for older kids with needs, too.
As such, it’s a school with an incredible wealth of benefits. All the teachers have master’s degrees in early childhood education (and the assistants all have at least associate’s degrees, most have bachelor’s degrees). And granted, an advanced degree does not always equal a great teacher, but in my mind it reduces the likelihood a great deal of having a teacher who completely sucks. The school has a full-time staff of professionals: a nurse, a psychologist, a speech therapist, an occupational therapist. And while Lane isn’t entering school with any sort of impending need, these professionals are there for us as well. As a couple examples, the speech therapist will spend time with all the kids in Lane’s class and provide any assistance as the need arises. The occupational therapist comes in and helps all the kids with lessons in motor skills, such as tying shoes and holding a pencil correctly. If Lane has any behavior issues, I can meet with the psychologist and get advice.
I have to give a proper shout-out and thanks to my friend Good Fountain, whose daughter goes to a blended preschool. Her insight not only opened my mind to the possibility, but actually made it a desirable type of preschool for me to seek out. Without hearing about her experience with Chee, I’m not sure I could manage to be so open-minded. Thanks, love!
My heart aches a little at sending her to school five days a week, but at the same time she’s a kid that’s slow-to-warm-up, so the continual exposure to the same classroom and the same kids will be good for her. I’m sure we’ll struggle with drop-offs for awhile… Lane is a mama’s girl, through-and-through, and when she went to day care it often took her 10-15 minutes to ‘warm up’ to being there so that I could leave without tears. The teachers there thought I was a bit wacky for spending 15 minutes in the classroom every morning (the other parents were mostly dump-and-go, which worked for them… but the days I left her crying always ended up being bad days at work for me emotionally, so those 15 minutes were as much for her as for me). And as far as five days a week… there’s no reason why she can’t play hooky once in a while. 😉 I’m sure we’ll have to meet attendance standards of some sort, but chances are we’ll *just* meet them.
Anyway, I’m excited. I really feel like it’s an environment where she’ll thrive, and I’m excited to get some one-on-one time on a consistent basis with Jake, too. (I get more one-on-one time with Lane right now, because Jake is so easy-going! He’s much ‘easier’ – for lack of a better word – to leave with my in-laws or Frank for a couple hours.)