So I think I said awhile back I would explain why I chose the preschool Bennett attends. It's a very small school with I believe 25 students. All of the children have special needs. I'd say 90% of them have Down syndrome. Why did I choose a school like this? Well, I put a lot (I mean A LOT) of thought into it. In the end I knew I needed a place that I was certain Bennett was loved-that was my number one priority. He is so tiny, like the size of most 18 month olds, only he's 3 and I needed to know he wasn't going to get run over and left in a corner to just "play". But then I also wanted a place that really focused on communication because that's one of the biggest challenges for a person like Bennett as he gets older-speech.
Believe me, I talked to many people and at times was almost convinced that Bennett needed to be around typically developing kids, not kids with special needs because how would he ever learn? Well now I know that's just crazy. Don't get my wrong I do think he needs to be around peers his age that are typically developing but I also think he can learn just as much if not more at the school he's at.
What really attracted me to this school was all the technology they were using with the children like ipads and smart boards as well as PEC communication and sign language. When I first visited the school and walked into the 3 year old class I was amazed at what I saw. These tiny little children, most of them had Down syndrome, participating in music therapy, sitting and singing happily and then how routined they were when it was time to move on to the next thing. Bennett fit right in and loved every minute of it. I could just feel the love from every single person I met.
And what I really love is how they expect so much out of these kids. They expect them to carry their huge back packs all the way to class, they expect them to hang their bags and coats up. They expect them to sit and listen and participate. They want these kids to learn to be independent, they don't let them slack off. So there's order, there's education and there's love. Monday-Friday, all day. I have no doubt Bennett is right where he needs to be.
Happy as can be!
No description needed;)
The updates from his teachers…oh how I love the updates!! This school knows how important the little milestones are and how they're actually not little for these kids, they're huge! I love how they get that!
I just love seeing him participate in regular school activities, following directions, having fun…I couldn't ask for more!
Now as far as inclusion down the road in elementary school, do I want that? Of course I do! What I really want is for Bennett to go to his sister's school and have a full time aide but I know that is so far fetched in our county. It doesn't mean I won't try but on the other hand I am willing to see how he does in a setting that may be more suitable for him if an aide can't/won't be provided. If I don't think his needs are met and that he's not getting enough time with typically developing kids, well then if it's in God's will I'll pull him out and we'll try a private school setting where I hear inclusion is more accepted, at least where we live.
But when it comes down to it, I feel this small school he's at is going to prepare him for elementary school. So for now, I guess we don't do inclusion, other than church, the gym and just being around his sisters but I really don't think it's all that necessary right now. Not when he's learning his shapes, colors, letters, so many more words, etc. right along with his classmates. He's learned SO MUCH this school year and I'm thrilled with his progress. It's just what has worked for our family. I know many others feel differently about the topic. And that might be what is best for their family.
But you know when something is right and this is definitely right. We take it day by day. And today Bennett is happy and he's thriving. So today this is right where we need to be.