I observed Kayla at preschool today
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|Mon, 12-06-2004 - 6:26pm|
I was looking forward to this all weekend, lol. I think I need to explain something about her preschool first. It's inside of a high school (the high school my dh teaches at - one reason we chose it), and there's a class which lets the students teach the preschoolers. They make lesson plans and teach learning centers or make activities for free choice time. It's a really neat program, and then the preschoolers get a lot more individual attention than they would elsewhere with 2 teachers for 25 kids. So there's a classroom attached to the preschool classroom, where the high schoolers have their class, and that's where I observed from since they have a big two-way mirror in there. On Mondays the high schoolers have their own little team teacher meetings, and they don't work with the preschoolers.
Anyway, here's the rundown of Kayla's day...When I arrived, circle time was just beginning. The children were all singing a song. Kayla was singing along, that was good. But after the song she was silent for the rest of circle time, which floored me. She's a non-stop chatterbox at home; I don't think I've ever seen her silent for fifteen minutes straight like that. Then the children washed their hands and sat at the tables for snack time. The snack was "ants on a log", well Kayla doesn't like celery so she was scooping out the inside with her finger and eating it that way. She didn't talk to anyone, just watched the kids around her talking to each other. When she was done eating she waited until other children got up to throw out their garbage, and followed them. It was funny, because I could tell from her face that she wanted to get up but wouldn't until she had someone to follow. Then they had free choice time, I was disappointed because I wanted to see her during learning centers, but they only do those on Tue-Fri. I might observe again another day to see that, because I'd like to see how she is with the high schoolers. Kayla went to the art center and colored. One of the teachers was pulling children out one at a time for one-on-one time. How that works is the teacher asks the child something to get them talking, like "What did you do over the weekend?" (that's what she asked Kayla), and has them do a short activity. I couldn't hear what Kayla answered, but they were about a foot away from the mirror, and Kayla was talking really excitedly, I think she was telling her about how she saw The Incredibles yesterday. I was glad to see some of Kayla's normal chattiness coming out. The teacher had her do a Connect the Dots...Kayla connected the numbers. The teacher asked if she could connect the dots, and she said "I did". The teacher said "Sweetie, you connected the numbers. Can you connect the dots?". Kayla said "I did" again, so the teacher let her return to the art center. The preschool director didn't seem busy at the moment so I took the opportunity to talk to her.
I told her about Kayla starting therapy and that Kayla doesn't like going to preschool because she doesn't like playing by herself the whole time, and asked if they were going to do anything to help her socialization. The director said that what works for some children like Kayla, who have social skills but are inhibited about using them, is to pair her with a younger child. That way, hopefully, she can be the leader and gain some social confidence, and maybe even a friend. So the director said that tomorrow she'll pair Kayla with a 3 yr old girl named EJ who's "on the shy and quiet side" and give them a special project to do. She said I can come in tomorrow to observe again but I don't know if I will.
I left after that, but I guess I missed the most exciting part of the day. During naptime, the fire alarm went off, and it wasn't a drill. My dh said that the water pipe in one of the bathrooms burst, water flooded the bathroom and the hallway, so they pulled the alarm to get the kids out while they got it under control and so no one would be inside if it sparked an electrical outlet.
I had to laugh this afternoon when I went to Starbucks with my book club and saw two of Kayla's teachers there. It was funny because one of them had commented to me while I was observing that Mondays seem to last forever.
Wow, sorry to make that so long. It's great to have an outlet for all this. Do you think there's anything else they could be doing to help her? My dh thinks that an environment with less people would be better for her, that this is too over-stimulating, but we like her teachers and the program. I think switching to a new school now would be even worse. Especially now if they're finally going to help her. I like their philosophy of not forcing children to act or do things a certain way, but they know that she's different and needs help.