Wednesday, August 20, 2008

School Days

The First Day of School, January 2008

The Last Day of School, June 2008

Later today I will head to school to meet Harper's new teacher and lay out the plan for dealing with Harper's severe food allergies this school year. It bothers me somewhat that teachers will nearly always know about Harper's allergy before they know anything else about her, but it has to be that way. It doesn't work for them to enjoy her for a few weeks and then become educated about how to keep her safe. I've exchanged a couple of emails with the woman who will teach her this year and I'm heading into the meeting with a really good feeling about things.

Harper goes to preschool in our local city school district. There is a preschool program that puts students with special needs into classrooms with typically developing students. There are four preschool sites (at elementary schools) in our district. Last school year Harper attended a site that was a little further from our house (fifteen minutes as opposed to five) because that site had an opening mid-year. This year she will attend a school that is less than two miles away. As an added bonus, Auntie M works there!

Harper started preschool last January. She was too young to begin in the fall and had to wait until after her November birthday. There were plenty of people who thought I was a little insane to rush her into preschool the moment she turned three. Especially this preschool, which is four mornings or afternoons a week. I braced myself for the adjustment period, and it was a little teary that first morning, but Harper was in love with school by the end of her first week. Even though it was difficult to leave her there that first day, I knew in my heart that Harper was ready for school. And I was right. Every single day, when Harper was picked up, and someone asked, "How was school?" she answered, "Great!"

Harper got to play with clay and read books and paint and make friends. She sang and danced and played tag. She came home tired and happy. And for a reason none of us could have seen coming, sending Harper to school was one of the best decisions we ever made. About three weeks after Harper's first day of school I went to the hospital and ended up on bed rest for a month. Then there was the month of Michael in the NICU. And then a brand new baby with some special needs at our house. While we had lots of loving family and friends who stepped in to help during that difficult time, but the only truly consistent thing, for several months, was school. Once someone had dropped her off, her school routine was the same from one day to the next. I believe that consistency helped Harper through all the turmoil we experienced at home.

We've had a pretty good summer, and I know that Harper is happy at home. I also know that she is a very social girl and, after saying goodbye to her friends, that she cried on that last day of school.

You should see Harper as she takes a link of her paper chain each night. She counts the remaining links and joyfully announces, "Only _ days before school starts!"

Dare I hope she always loves it this much?


Mommy Daisy said...

Wow, I bet she'll be happy to be back in school. She seemed to love it so much before.

I can't believe that next fall my baby will be old enough to go to preschool. I haven't done any research and have no idea what is available in my area. Not sure if I'll send him or not anyway.

Good luck getting all Harper's allergy information worked out. I bet it's a huge relief knowing there is a family member in the same school though. That's so nice.

Erin said...

I have a strong feeling that Harper will love school for the long haul. She is so social, likes other kids & adults, and she's got two parents that place value on school and education. She (and her brother) are going to do just great.

Astarte said...

Boy, you can even see a difference in her from just that short time passing!

My Josie is 9, and she was still thrilled to go to school this morning. By December, maybe not so much, but at least the first few months will be easy.