Jade was just accepted and welcomed into her first school; a preschool for developmentally delayed children. This preschool is geared to helping these children learn how to interact with other children, and learn in a group environment and they are focused on those children's developmental delays to help them improve. My daughter was thrilled to begin her first school; but me as the parent was not.
Parental anxiety with a child's first school.
I was really quite nervous for my baby girl to begin her first school. She's only 3 years old, well actually not even! She turned 3 just this last week, so really she started preschool before she was even three! And to make matters worse, we live far enough away from the preschool that my daughter is given a bus ride! Ok, time to freak out! My baby girl on a BUS? No way!
I was all knots and anxiety and completely freaking out the week before my daughter was to begin her first school. We attended back to school night, I got to meet her new preschool teacher, her new speech therapist, and see the classroom. It's an amazing school by the way with amazing teachers. It definitely is a very ideal situation for a first school. I just wasn't ready to let my baby girl go yet.
Jade loved the classroom right away. There were so many new and exciting things to play with, and new kids to meet and create friendships. She warmed up to her teacher easily and honestly didn't want to leave when back to school night was over.
As I got Jade more and more prepared for her first day of school, the more and more I was unprepared emotionally.
Why does she has to go away to a preschool? I had a full extra year with her brothers before I started them in a preschool. But I see the need. She needs more assistance with her speech delay than i can give her. I need the help of those trained to help children in these situations to help my daughter. I understand why. It doesn't make it any easier on my heart.
I've written before about Jade's speech delay. With her in the infant toddler program, we were hoping that she would improve and bounce up to where other children of her age were. Yet she didn't. She remains far behind other children of her age in speech. She has a slight gross and fine motor skills delay as well, but I think most of that stemmed from not being able to understand or comprehend what we are trying to teach her. But with her third birthday, it means that she no longer qualifies for the infant toddler program. Our service coordinator has been amazing finding all the resources I could possibly need to help Jade and she's the one that helped get us lined up with this preschool so we can continue getting help for Jade's Speech therapy after she leaves the infant toddler program.
So we prepared Jade for her first day of school, I walked her to her bus and helped her climb those enormous stairs! I listened as both the bus driver and the assistants on the bus all explained "oh look at her! She's so tiny!" It was all I could do to contain the emotion. I waved good bye, said " I love you baby girl!" and watched as her bus drove away.
I walked into my house, calm and collected. The moment my front door shut, the flood gates opened and the water works had their way with me. It was a very unproductive morning. I couldn't contain my emotions for the next two hours. I could be found bursting into tears at any random sign of Jade, of which there are many.
My Daughter's experience with her first school.
Jade was excited yet unsure of what was going on the morning of her first day at her first school. She knew Mommy was getting her dressed and primped. She loves getting primped. She got a special breakfast of Apple cinnamon oatmeal which is her favorite and she got to hug and kiss her brothers goodbye as they left for their bus stop.
When it was time I helped Jade put on this foreign object onto her back called a backpack. What is this odd thing? She didn't quite know what to think of it, but she behaved well and left it on.
We walked to the bus. She had never seen a bus before. She wasn't sure what it was. As she timidly climbed the enormous steps I could feel her unrest. Was she going to be ok? Is she going to turn and reach for mommy and cry with fear?
Once she reached the top step, she turned, smiled and waved bye bye to mommy. Without fear she walked away with the bus assistant and got into her assigned car seat on the bus.
I didn't see her again for two and a half hours. When her bus arrived back home to drop Jade off, I rushed out to get her. She was all grins from ear to ear. She jabbered her typical way, even though I couldn't understand a word she said, I think she was telling me about her day.
I assume she had a great time, as she never clung to me once. She was completely fine with our separation, obviously a lot better than I was. The next day we had all day to ourselves and I enjoyed every minute with my darling daughter. Then she was back to preschool the day after. We went through the morning routine again and this time she knew what was coming.
When it was time to put on her jacket and backpack, she was dancing with delight. When her bus pulled into view, she squealed with joy and did a little skip in her step.
We've not yet had a bad moment of getting her onto her bus, or picking her up from her bus. I've met with her teacher to discuss Jade's IEP, and learned she is very comfortable in the classroom, loves the activities and is flourishing.
Finding peace with my daughter's first school.
It wasn't until Jade's IEP meeting that I finally felt calm about Jade's preschool. I knew the teachers were great, I knew her speech therapist was great, but I still struggled knowing how she was handling the classroom and I was struggling with being separated from my baby girl.
When I heard how well Jade had adapted to her new classroom and was playing well with the other kids, it put my mind at rest. We went over the curriculum that will be taught to Jade and all the opportunities she will have for learning and overcoming her speech delay and I'm feeling much more confident in letting her go each morning.
I still miss my baby girl when she leaves for her preschool twice a week. Thankfully it's only two hours long and I get her home quickly. I try to keep myself busy but I often find myself off balance. It's been 8 years since I haven't had at least one kid under foot, I almost don't know what to do with myself.
I have taken time to organize my week's schedule, clean the house, read a book, blog. And while it's nice to have that peace and quite to get a lot accomplished in such little time, I look forward to when that big yellow bus will be pulling in front of my house and giving me my baby girl back.
I've seen much improvement in my daughter since she has started her preschool, so I know this truly is the best thing for her. As a loving parent I'm learning oh so well that the best thing for my child is not always the easiest thing for me. But I do it anyway, because I love them and only want what's best for them.
Do you struggle with a child with developmental delays?
What are some of the struggles you have had to face?
How did you manage sending your baby/child off to their first school?