I’m not sure how other parents feel about parents’ night. I’m not quite sure how I feel about it myself. I feel like I should prepare in advance and have some relevant and meaningful questions to ask about J and his schooling. However, I don’t prepare and I don’t think up things to ask. Partly because the school keep us informed of some of what he’s doing in his weekly summary and with termly updates, I’ve had his report card home recently and I also think it’s best to wait and see what the teacher has to say before wading in with irrelevant questions and asking for less than useful information.
I do, however, feel a bit anxious before I head in about how it will all go.
Is he doing well? Does he try hard? Does he listen or do what he’s told? I know he recognises his numbers to 20/30 and well beyond (probably up near 100). He doesn’t quite have 1-2-1 correspondence nailed for counting or know ‘the oneness of one’ but he’s trying hard and he’s getting there. He knows all of his colours and shapes. He can recognise and name every letter of the alphabet, in and out of sequence. As well as this he can ‘sing’ with tune and rhythm, as well as finishing rhymes and songs by saying or singing the missing words (using approximations of words). All things considered, I think he is amazing. He overcomes so much and he just gets on with things. He’s a trier and a doer. If he doesn’t get something he just keeps trying. All of this I know and I’m not worried about his ‘academic’ progress as such.
My worry is about his social skills. His ability to relate to others, to play with his classmates, to make friends, to follow instructions, to join in and to respond to life in school appropriately. He quite likes his own company or space and doing his own thing. Can he go to assembly? Can he join in with performances? Does he watch whole school events or join in with them? As far as I can tell he’s only had ‘Shining Star’ once and it was for becoming a new big brother. He got an award at Christmas time for keeping all of his Golden Time that term. That’s about it really. It does make me wonder if he’s coping at all in the classroom or wider school setting. He seems very happy at school and is a happy boy generally. I’m grateful that he’s so happy in spite of his difficulties.
After speaking to his teacher tonight and looking through his wee books full of photographs and learning aims, which show what he’s achieved over the year, I have to say I’m impressed. His teachers, assistants and the school in general give him so many experiences and opportunities. He interacts with school on his own level but over the course of his first year there he has achieved so much. From not being able to join in at all and finding change and noise so hard to cope with, from not being able to sit at a desk or in a group, not playing or sharing with other children and not really being able to have meaningful interactions with others, he has come such a long way. He can now join in with assemblies and whole school activities, he can sit for circle time, play alongside other children, join in with some activities in the class, go for outings in the local community and further afield and he initiates interactions with people around him. He never leaves school without waving and saying ‘bye’ to every member of staff he passes.
I’m one very proud and happy mum tonight. Anyone who knows me knows I’m not an overtly emotional person but I don’t mind saying that I have tears of joy running down my cheeks as I write this. My baby has overcome so much, he’s tried so hard and although to many it may seem like small steps forward, for us he has made huge leaps and his school and the staff there have played a big part in that. We can’t thank them enough.