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It’s so hard to believe that my little girl is going off to school all ready, but I’ll be putting her on that bus Monday morning. I should be prepared for it since she went to a program one day a week last year. But, this feels so much different. Last year, it was at the church. This year, she’s going to the elementary school. Last year, she rode on a van with 1 or 2 other kids(and on a little bus for the summer session with about the same amount of kids). This year, she’ll  be riding to school in the morning on the regular bus with kids from her age all the way up through high school. Since she only goes in the morning, on the way home there will be a lot less kids on the bus. The program she went to last year, they try to keep to only about 10 or so kids. This year, there will be closer to 50 kids between the two classes(which from what they said at orientation Wednesday night, they like to mix together). So, it’s going to be a bit of a change. We’ve been doing some dry runs of getting ready in the morning this week. And I’ve figured out that if she is up by 6:30, which is pretty typical for her, and is finished eating by 7, she can be ready and out waiting for the bus in time(which if I remember from when I’d see it go by last year and if it doesn’t change, is around7:15-7:20).

Like I just said, we had her orientation Wednesday night. We got to take a ride on the buses around the school and into town. I swear those bus seats used to be a lot bigger. Then, there was a little meeting to tell us about all the papers they were sending home with us. After that, they split the group into two smaller groups, sending one to the classroom while the other stayed in the meeting room. We were in the group to go to the classroom first. We had to go through the routine that Hayleigh will go through every day when she gets there. First, we had to find her cubby in the hallway(where she’ll put her bookbag when she gets there). Hers was the very first one. We had to take her folder from there(just like she’ll take it out of her bookbag in the morning) and take it into the classroom to a set of “mailboxes”. In her mailbox was a picture of a box of crayons with her name on it, which means she gets to go to the Creation Station(more of the play area) first thing in the morning(if she had an explorer’s hat, she’d go to the Discovery Zone, which is more of the learning space, first). There’s a smartboard in both areas where the kids can tap on their name to check in when they get there. They’ll be in both areas throughout the day.

They’ll also be going to the library once a month(walking when the weather’s nice, taking a bus when it’s not) and will be able to check  out their own books. With as much as she likes to read, I think she’ll really like that. We found out last night that we have to provide a snack every so often and even got a calendar with our days marked on it. Each day has 2 kids bringing in a snack and each has to bring enough for 25 kids. And they celebrate birthdays once a month, so I figured since hers was during the summer, she’d miss out. But, they are going to be celebrating the August and September birthdays at the end of the first week.

I have to admit I have some fears about her starting school. It just became even more obvious to me last night how far behind the other kids she is, socially and verbally at least. I know her teachers last year were impressed with how much she knew once she actually started talking. But, it usually takes her quite a while to warm up to people and actually start talking. And we even still have some trouble understanding her sometimes(which frustrates her quicker than it ever used to). She still doesn’t really play with other kids, but will play beside them. One of the things I’m worried about is that she’ll start throwing a fit in the middle of class because someone got too close to her. And “too close” could mean an inch away from one day and a foot the next day.

And I can’t help but wonder how much of all this is my fault. If I would have gotten her out around other kids more when she was younger, would she still have these issues? And then I wonder if it would have mattered anyway because she seems to have gotten way more from me than I would have liked(the extreme shyness, preferring to be alone, etc). And I just remember all my bad experiences with school(all to do with other kids picking on me b/c I was the quiet, shy, different one who was always reading). And I don’t want her to go through even a fraction of that.

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