I have been really terrified to celebrate too soon, the success that kindergarten has been for Claire. Our family, friends and extended community have funded this, and so many people have been ‘in our corner’, helping to ensure the successful inclusion of Claire in the kindy program of our choice. I was feeling the pressure to ensure that things went well.
Term One is DONE!
The acceptance and support shown by Claire’s teachers, her classmates and their parents has been nothing but positive. Claire is a valued and included member of her class. I can see the Sparks of recognition when we talk about her kindy friends, and I love that she waves her hands when we say good morning and good bye each kindy day.
There are beautiful little boys and girls in that class who acknowledge and accept Claire’s differences. They go out of their way to greet her each morning. They encourage and support Claire’s learning in a way that has clearly been modelled by their teachers. They include her in their games, and accept her amorous visits into their beds at nap time!
There are just as many beautiful boys and girls in that class who don’t appear to even see Claire as anything more special than ‘just another classmate’. And this is also perfect in every way!
This term, Claire has learnt that putting on her uniform means that it is a kindy day. Claire has learnt a new routine and most days has managed this with ease. Claire has learnt to draw and paint with some assistance, skills we have been working on for quite some time to no avail! Claire has enjoyed water play, playdough, sandpit time and a whole bunch of new and exciting toys that have been sourced from The Noah’s Ark equipment library.
As a family, we made a concious decision for me to remain ‘on call’ for kindy days. In ten weeks, I had just one call during the day from kindy, when Claire was struggling to communicate what was making her upset, and while I came early to collect her, instead I stayed to support her completion of the kindy day. It has been wonderful to be able to be ‘a kindy mum’ again, collecting Claire each day and seeing familiar faces and making new friends, both adults and those 4-year-old treasures!
A massive high for me was Claire receiving an invitation to the birthday party of a new kindy friend. Unfortunately, my personal lack of organisation meant I missed collecting the invite until after the party had occurred, and I was mortified and embarrassed that this was the case. Needless to say, I check her pigeon hole religiously now!
Claire is a kindy kid. Claire is in a mainstream class. Claire is experiencing a fully inclusive educational setting. For this I am so incredibly thankful.
Kindy is even so much better than I could ever have imagined it would be. At the moment I wish Claire could stay there forever!
The lobbying continues, now with evidence on my side to confirm what we thought to be true. Kindy Counts for EVERY child.