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New School - Karen's Musings
Random Rambling
New School

We're changing the J-man's school this fall, did I tell you that?  I lose track, you know.  It's a weird situation, because in our county (and even the private schools follow the county rules), to start kindergarten, you must turn 5 by September 1st.  J turns 5 September 16th; therefore, he does not qualify for kindergarten this year.  This is probably for the best, considering that he is behind in pre-reading skills, has the AD/HD thing going for him, and frankly, he's a boy.  He could use the extra year before being pushed ahead.  So we expected he would spend an extra year in four-year-old preschool this year and that was great. That's what most kids in his predicament do.  We love his current school and we love the teacher he would have next year, and it was all good things. 

And then we started seeing this developmental pediatrician.  He's been a miracle worker so far, you know, and hasn't led us astray yet, so we certainly can't complain.  And one of the things that he recommended was that we consider moving the J-man this coming fall into a "transitional kindergarten" program nearby.  The particular program that he was recommending is very good with working with children with special needs and especially children with Julian's profile.  They are actually better in terms of my commute (slightly).  They have an amazing facility, a fantastic teacher, and have been working with our developmental pediatrician for ten years, so they already have a system established to handle the J-man's special needs.  It's perfect, right?

It's still not easy, you know?  It was a very difficult decision to make.  Just as we'd decided to make the change, we found out who J's teacher would be at his old school next year and that made it a heart-wrenching choice to make, because she would be AMAZING with J - and a known commodity.  Changing schools also means it will be the fourth school in four years.  On the other hand, changing schools has never bothered J before, so why should it now?  Change really bothers ME, but it's never seemed to bother HIM. 

After weeks of deliberation, we finally decided that we have this developmental pediatrician on our team for a reason:  he is an expert.  He is here to guide us, to inform us, to teach us, and to help us.  He has not led us astray yet.  He has given us incredible referrals so far.  He is accessible.  He is sensitive to our needs.  He has never marginalized our emotions or our experiences.  But he has also been there himself, as a parent and as a professional.  So the best thing we can do is trust in him.  Not blindly, of course, but trust is important.

And so, we are changing schools.  And when I told his old school we weren't coming back - well, they didn't take the news well, let's just put it that way.    I know we're making the right decision, at least I hope we are, but I'm still broken up about it.  But J?  The J-man is NOT.  "When am I starting at my new school?  Do I get to go there today?" he asks me every morning.  He is so excited, he can hardly wait.   

My little tiny boy?  That baby boy that came to us at just 13 months old?  Golly - he's starting KINDERGARTEN next week.   *sniff*  Can you believe it?

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18 comments or Leave a comment
mabfan From: mabfan Date: August 18th, 2008 05:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
kmelion From: kmelion Date: August 18th, 2008 05:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
If he had stayed at the other place, would he have then gone on with these kids to first grade or is it all new kids next year anyway? And does the new place have a follow-up elementary school?

I suppose my question is will he be missing out by having ready-made classmates for first grade?
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: August 18th, 2008 06:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
These were both things we considered.

1. If he stayed at the old school, he would move on to a kindergarten program the following year with completely different classmates, probably with no carryover.

2. At the new school, he will probably be there for two years (transitional kindergarten and then actual kindergarten) and then move on to 1st grade at an entirely different school, probably with little or no carryover.

Both schools are Jewish schools, but neither school is an orthodox school, so the student body isn't likely to carry over in the long-term. So either way, he's not missing out in that respect.
From: have_inner_lady Date: August 18th, 2008 05:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, it's no surprise they didn't take it well. They have a hard, hard job! Goodness, I admire teachers so much because I could never handle what they do. And I suppose part of what keeps them going with kids who are toughies is the knowledge that they are making a big difference -- and that nobody could do the job exactly as they do.

And so it's pride, maybe, but a healthy and necessary pride. They've got to think they're the best place for him. They've got to think they understand him and can help him like nobody else. Otherwise they'd go crazy trying to do their difficult jobs.

But I concur with you on the advice about the pediatrician's recommendation for the specialized school. If what they are meant to handle is J's profile, if they have a reputation worthy of his recommendation, well, you already know you're making the right choice for J.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: August 18th, 2008 06:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
They also adore Julian at his old school, as everyone who meets him does, so they'll miss him. And it IS a pride thing. They immediately attacked the reputation of the new school without understanding our reasoning for moving him there. There is a difference between the preschool and the transitional kindergarten at the new school, and blindly attacking their reputation without understanding that difference is unfair (plus, I never said where he was going - they made an assumption, though an admittedly correct one).

The school he is going to is not a specialized school per se, but they are an integrated classroom accustomed to working with special needs students, so they have the infrastructure in place to do so. While the old school may have been able to work with Julian's new-found needs, I was not in the mood to let Julian be a guinea pig for a new system.
mrn613 From: mrn613 Date: August 18th, 2008 07:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Without knowing either of the schools involved, I would say off the top of my head that any 'transitional' or 'integrated' seat you can find in the Jewish school system is worth taking, because they are very rare.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: August 18th, 2008 07:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is both.

After we found out who the teacher would be at his old school, and we were so torn, we consulted again with the pediatrician and went back and forth a few times. He essentially agreed with us that NEITHER option was a bad option, that BOTH options were terrific options for him, and that he was going to thrive at either school. So that almost made it a more difficult choice. If there'd been a clear-cut "right" choice, it would have been easy.

But it also gives us a lot of comfort - because we also know that we likely didn't make a poor choice either way. I'm sure he'll do well no matter what.
introducingyael From: introducingyael Date: August 18th, 2008 07:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's funny how we project on our kids, isn't it? We're so lucky when it goes the other way.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: August 18th, 2008 08:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's funny about the transitions - the little transitions are like the END OF THE WORLD. But the big huge life-changing transitions? No problemo. He's always been like that.
journeytoernie From: journeytoernie Date: August 18th, 2008 07:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
wow! that is crazy! to start kindergarten here you have to have an iq of 130 and the social skills of a 7 year old. it frustrates me because i think asher is ready but clearly he's not like that! and i dont get the point. so you'd be frickin genius and still in a class with hillbilly rednecks with an iq of 20 and the social skills of a ferret?

i can't believe he's so big! is this school more affordable too? hopefully the other school didnt give you too much grief!

and just fyi, levi has an appt for a "full work up" from the dev pediatricians at kki
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: August 18th, 2008 07:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
KKI is excellent. Good luck.

The school J's moving to is actually about 40% more expensive.

And it's still not "real" kindergarten. It's "transitional" kindergarten. He'll have this year and THEN a year of "real" kindergarten before moving on to 1st grade.
journeytoernie From: journeytoernie Date: August 18th, 2008 08:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
WOW! that's a lot of money. i'm sure it'll be worth it and then some though if the dr is recommending it!

i hope kki tells me something. because i'm going nuts. i know there's something there...but i dont know enough to point at it. we went to pittsburgh before and were REALLY disappointed. fortunately, in central nowhere, we are equally close to nothing, so baltimore is still an option ;)

ah i getcha. it's essentially pre k but in a kindergarten style to get him used to it and teach him school skills before it "counts"?
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: August 18th, 2008 08:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
We don't pay his tuition; his grandparents do. Not that we're not mindful of the money - we checked in with them to see what their thoughts were on the matter and they were super excited about the new school prospect.

Good luck with KKI; I hope they give you good answers.

It's an academic setting, rather than a pre-K setting.
journeytoernie From: journeytoernie Date: August 18th, 2008 09:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
pre-k isn't academic where you are??? it's VERY academic here....huh! different places sure are different!

that's a relief. i dont know how you can afford everything karen! seriously you rock! money managing diva! then again, i have no concept of money and it scares me....so i guess it's not that much of a compliment coming from a dunce like me ;)
yeishlitikvah From: yeishlitikvah Date: August 18th, 2008 08:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
oh wow. You're lucky that JUlian is asking to go to his new school. It's good that he transitions well. It makes things easier even if during the day he may not handle transitions as smoothly I think in the long run the big transitions are better indicators of coping.

I can't get over after seeing your userpic how itty bitty he used to be.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: August 18th, 2008 08:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
You're the first one to pick up on the userpic! Yay you!

And it's funny about the transitions - the little transitions are like the END OF THE WORLD. But the big huge life-changing transitions? No problemo. He's always been like that.
yeishlitikvah From: yeishlitikvah Date: August 18th, 2008 08:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
wohoo I win.

I only realized about the userpic because I when I check lj, I start with your lj page, than I read your friends page, than I read my friends page.

SO your userpic doens't show if your looking at your page, but rather on a fl page.

I don't know why I'm saying all this. I intially didn't know what to respond with until I saw his munchkin pic.

The best part of all this he is still smiling.
indigodove From: indigodove Date: August 19th, 2008 01:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Best of luck to him (and you and Seth) this school year!

It will really go by very quickly :-)
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