Preschool Update

I was never a huge fan of 3 year old preschool. I know there is good reason that many parents choose this and many three year old’s are very ready for preschool. I just think 3 is still so young! Livi is still so much my baby. She is so dependent on us still. We have been lucky enough to have never needed child care other than family. Now I’m considering sending her to school where she will be away from people who would literally die for her 6-12 hours a week! I didn’t think I was that over attached mom, but I TOTALLY am.

I know our family’s circumstances were a little different than some when Livi had just turned 3. We didn’t have a newborn, but another 3 year old, who we had just brought home a few weeks before Livi would have started preschool. Besides the fact that we felt she was too young, we didn’t want her feeling like we were sending her away because we got a new baby.

Now we are obviously considering putting Livi in preschool at 3 years old. I think, with the new understanding of how the funding all works for Sofie, we would prefer Livi to go to preschool before Sofie joins her. If that doesn’t work out, we’ll figure it out, but we would like Livi to feel like the big girl and go to school before Sofie joins her. So, the best option, as of this moment, seems to be to put Livi in preschool for the spring semester, starting in January or February, then having Sofie join her in September. Both of them would progress to Kindergarten together, in separate classes and Sofie would repeat Kindergarten. I talked with the Resource teacher of our catch-man area who referred me to the Principal of Student Services of the School Board of our district. I got through the first try and had a nice conversation. I explained my case and reasoning for wanting to have Sofie repeat Kindergarten and she seemed very receptive. She gave me the talk about why they don’t like to keep kids back but admitted that I have a rather unique case and she would “probably” side in my favor. She wanted a week to talk with some of her co-workers and think about it. I will need to get her decision in writing but it sounded very promising and positive! I was totally geared up for a fight!

Now comes the question of which preschool. I am, again, so lost. I’m sure I am over thinking this all but I feel like this is such an important decision! We have looked at three schools in our area, each with their pro’s and con’s. I think we might need your advice again.

1. The first school is the easiest choice. It is literally around the corner from our house and we would be able to walk there within 4 minutes each day. The preschool is community funded and utilizes the Play to Learn philosophy. The con’s against this school is it is very dimly decorated. They have chosen muted colors to not overstimulate the children. I don’t agree with this, especially for Sofie. No one has anything bad to say about this preschool but I haven’t heard anything great either. I also think Livi is academically above the ‘curriculum’ of this school. They don’t practice writing letters or numbers since they are totally play based.

2. The second school is kind of perfect. I have heard GREAT reviews about it from numerous people. It is a wonderful mix of play and academics. The biggest problem with it is that it is too far away. We would need a second car or have a way to guarantee transportation. This is, potentially, a huge problem for us and a big head ache. It is also a very sought after school that may be difficult to get in to. It would be easier to get both girls in next year if we put Livi in for January but there are currently, no guarantees.

3. The third school is also wonderful. It is just a little further than the first school but still within walking distance. When I went to visit the class room I saw the teacher signing to her students. I nearly started crying from happiness right there. It is a strict Montessori school, which means they concentrate on Practical Life, Sensory Academic Learning and Culture. They focus on values and teaching the kids to be good people while it is all COMPLETELY child-led learning. The con’s to this school is that they don’t have as much imaginative play as we would like, it is four days a week, and it is WAY more expensive than the other two schools. We can’t afford it.

Now, in my most ideal little scenario, we would be able to send Livi to the Montessori school two days a week this year (I don’t think I’m ready for four days yet) and then send both girls three days a week next year. I don’t think that is going to happen though. Choice number two would be too be able to afford a second car and go to school number two, but that isn’t in the near future either. So, ideal number three would be Livi going to the first, easy choice school for January, just to get used to being away from Mommy and expand her social development. She would still get the big girl experience. Then be get enough subsidy funding to be able to afford the Montessori school for September for both girls and be allowed to only send them three days a week. Four days still seems excessive to me. Both girls would then go to Kindergarten together and Sofie would be allowed to repeat.

So, how good is my line to God these days? I hope He’s got my back on this one. If you feel like sending up an extra prayer for this to all fall in to place, I’d sure appreciate it! Something will work out and I think there is a good chance we will end up loving school choice number 1, which would make next September really easy for me! If we have to keep Sofie back from Kindergarten a year too, we can make it work. There are a lot of scenario’s here that could be really great, so maybe just pray that the right doors open up too us!

Need Advice!

The girls school plan before we had Sofie home was to keep Sofie back a year. Livi would go in to preschool at age 4 and Sofie would go to preschool at age 5. We had wanted to do this for a few reasons. We wanted the extra time for Sofie to feel safe and attach with us. Since Livi is developmentally older and the first child, we wanted to keep the natural progression of her role and have her go to school first. We also did not want Livi to feel the extra responsibility for her sister that would come with them being in the same grade. She is  already going to feel the responsibility with Sofie in the same school. Kids can be mean.

It has been suggested by numerous professionals to get Sofie in to preschool earlier than later. So, we began thinking of putting both Livi and Sofie in next September but having Sofie repeat 4 year old preschool twice. I talked with CDC about this today and discovered that their funding for an aid in preschool stops when the child is 5. If we want Sofie to continue with an aid she’ll have to go in to kindergarten at age 5.

So, Jon and I have a few options of what to do and I think we need some advice…

  • Keep Sofie out of preschool completely and put her in kindergarten at age 6. Livi would go ahead with preschool and Kindergarten as planned. 
      • Pro’s – Still maintain Livi and Sofie’s separation from each other.
      • Con’s – Sofie would not get any CDC aid support. 
  • Put both girls in preschool together at 4 and both in kindergarten at 5 but separate classes. 
      • Pro’s – Easiest choice as far as getting Sofie aids.
      • Con’s – Livi’s possible feelings of responsibility and resentment for having to watch out for her sister who is in the same grade. 
  • Put both girls in preschool, together, and kindergarten together, separate classes, but have Sofie repeat kindergarten.
      • Pro’s – Easy way to ensure Sofie gets the aids, and eventually separates the girls.
      • Con’s – Still may have Livi develop some jealousy and resentment feelings in the early years and schools are apparently very reluctant to hold kids back these days. 
  • We could also maybe start Livi in preschool in January then proceed with both girls in 4 year old preschool, same class, and kindergarten, separate classes.
      • Pro’s – Gets Livi in school first to have the big girl feelings
      • Con’s – Still has the girls together in future years and not sure how it would work with her ballet class. 
  • One last option is that we put the girls in separate preschools and/or schools. This option seems a little excessive and unpractical though.
What do you all think? I’m obsessing about this and we have NO idea what to do. I’m not ready for school dynamics yet! I know it is just preschool but keeping them in the same grade or not could have a big impact on their future. 

The Corn Maze

Today we got to join the Fraser Valley Down Syndrome Society at a family day at the Corn Maze! It wasn’t as nice of weather as we were hoping but we figured we could handle it. We strapped on our boots, rain jackets and got out our umbrella. 
Livi was so excited to go in to the maze and could barely wait! We joined the first group and went in probably around 2:15pm. There were about 6 adults in our group and 8-10 kids. One mom with a baby in a sling. We figured it would just be a fun little game and we could let the kids decide which way to go… we were wrong. We got out of the maze around 3:45pm and Livi walked the whole way! I was so proud of her 🙂
 We walked and walked and turned around and walked in the inch of mud that covered the ground. In the part 1 of the maze there are 8 posts with questions that you answer and it tells you which way to go. We made it to the 5th post relatively easily but circled back around to the 5th post at least 8 times! Livi kept saying “I REALLY want to get out of here!” We tried to make it a game and say that we were explorers who have to solve the mystery and follow the foot prints. She liked that at first, but then she tripped. I had her hand and caught her but her foot was in a puddle and it spilled over inside her boot. She started crying then but it wasn’t a meltdown thankfully. 

Sofie had thrown off her boots and lifted up the stroller rain cover to get her socks soaking wet! I took off her wet socks because I figured cold cotton was worse than bare feet. So I had one kid with bare feet and one kid with wet boots. Plus, Jon and my’s jacket were both just water resistant, not water proof. Awesome. 

We tried another tactic with Livi to ward of the melt down… Some of the other kids were getting upset around this point too, so we talked about how she had to be brave for the babies. Yes, I’m sure we have already immensely screwed up our children but it worked! I reminded her how when Mommy is upset she gets upset too and the same thing was with the babies. If all the big kids got upset the babies would be upset too, so we had to be brave and help them find their way out too. She was SUCH a trooper. All the parents were totally frustrated and I felt so bad for the mom with the baby in the sling. She was trying so hard not too lose it. 
Thankfully, some soaking wet teenagers happened by and rescued us! We tried out best to follow them since they would run ahead faster then us and double back if it was the wrong way. Our group did get split up but we hoped the rest were not too far behind. I was just so thankful to be out of there! We all were!
Once we were out Livi was much happier! We tried the water pump races, saw the animals, swam in the corn box, which was really cool by the way, and got a free pumpkin! We didn’t have any cash on us and the teller over heard us telling Livi she’d have to wait to get a pumpkin and they said we could get a small one because some one else had left a tip that would pay for it! Livi was very happy 🙂 Thanks Corn Maze! While Daddy was putting Sofie in the car and loading all the muddy gear up I let Livi go on the big trampoline pillow, which was more like a slip and slide. She did have some trouble getting up it and I wasn’t about to take my still try boots off to get her up. I even tried throwing her up but she just bounced back down 🙂 A dad who was already up there came and grabbed her hand to help pull her up. She really enjoyed coming down because the big kids were bouncing and she bounced on her butt all the way down 🙂 
A very wet family day that had more frustration in it than we were expecting but it will definitely make for some good memories! We got home and promptly got the kids in a warm bath to hopefully keep any chill away. Then we had dinner with some hot chocolate to warm our insides!
Water Pump. Livi was fascinated 🙂

Swimming in, and apparently eating, the corn box!

One the trampoline!

Check out how soaking wet her pants and socks are in this picture!
It was epic.