Another school year begins, and with it come new schools for both girls. With Zoey off to kindergarten in a mainstream classroom next week, we decided it was best for Eleanor to end her time as a peer model in the special education developmental preschool and join a school with typically developing peers. Last year her teachers expressed some concerns about how Eleanor would spend a lot of her time sitting alone in her cubby rather than playing with the other kids. They suggested that it might be that Eleanor was overwhelmed by the noise, occasional aggression, and lesser ability to communicate from the other children.
I posted a request for tips on affordable, close preschools on a local parent list serv and received a recommendation for a tiny, in-home, Montessori preschool that is literally three blocks from our home. I later learned that the recommendation came from a mom of a boy who had attended that preschool and will now be going to kindergarten with Zoey. His little sister will be in the preschool one day a week. We had already decided to go with her recommendation as it was literally the only place we could afford that also offered classes that started/ended at Not The Time I Need To Be Putting Alden Down For A Nap and Not The Time I Need To Pick Zoey Up From School. Bonus that it is SO close to home! Double bonus that Eleanor will already have a friend there, at least one day a week!
The classroom itself is a rather small basement room, and I am slightly concerned about how crowded it will be and how that will affect Eleanor. However, the very-private, fully-fenced backyard that the kids get to play in each day is downright magical. Like a fairy garden, but with big plastic cars and a giant climbing structure.
When we first toured the school, it was at a time that Eleanor was actually attending class at her old preschool, so she didn’t ever actually see it until yesterday’s open house. Zoey, however, gave her emphatic approval and described it to Ellie in great detail. We took a walk past it a time or two and let Ellie peek over the fence and in the windows to at least get a glimpse. At yesterday’s open house you could see the delight written all over her face. While she still flat-out refused to make eye contact or speak a single word to the teacher, she showed no hesitation in exploring the classroom and grounds and jumped right into playing with her sister. She’s also thrilled that she gets to take her slippers to school with her each day to wear inside the classroom.
Yeah, I think she’s going to do just fine. We’re hoping the Montessori-style learning will help boost her confidence and social skills as well. So far, it looks promising.