Tuesday, October 16, 2012

31 for 21: Kindergarten

I realized I have never written about Ella's Kindergarten placement.   We decided last year that the Integrated Kindergarten (or IK as they call it here) in our home school was the best place for Ella.  The school she is attending right now is the Kindergarten Center, meaning there are ONLY kindergarten classes at this school.  A couple of nearby elementary schools all send their kindergartners to this school.  So, for example, Hunter's school is only first through fifth graders.  This is the same school that Hunter went to for kindergarten and we absolutely loved it for him!  Ella's class is made up of approximately 12 "typically developing" kids and approx 10 kids with varying IEP's (individualized education plans.)  She also has a general education teacher and a special education teacher that are both in the class all the time and kind of co-teach, in addition there are 3 para-educators (the aides.)  5 adults and 22 kids!!!!  I really really love this set up.  It is truly the best of both worlds, gen-ed and special-ed, all together. 

Ella on the first day of school

The teacher's have been very impressed with Ella which I always like to hear : )  She has challenged them on occasion with a couple of small behavior issues but I assured them that being firm works best for my girl, and they are happy to follow through with that!  I get almost daily updates on how Ella did that day and the teacher shares any concerns they had, what Ella does well at and what they learned that day.  I love it!  Ella goes to school for 2 1/2 hours a day/5 days a week, in the afternoon.  She receives all 3 services, PT, OT and speech at school.  Currently the speech therapist is working 15 minutes a week with Ella in the classroom assisting her with math (greater than, less than type stuff) and 15 minutes a week one on one.  OT is teaching Ella in the classroom and I'm not entirely sure what the PT is doing. 

Ella be good at school today....

Ella is the only child in the school, morning or afternoon, that has Down syndrome.  Though there are other children in her class with some sort of need, if you will, she is the only one with a visible disability.  I really can't say enough good things about the school.  Obviously Ella stands out, but the outpouring of love that is showed to that little girl everyday seriously warms my heart!!!  Other teachers in the school, ones that don't work with Ella, stop and bend down to her level and greet her daily.  Kids who are not in her class will yell "Ella's here!" "Hi Ella" daily.  The principal is amazing and is so incredibly sweet to Ella (and to her neurotic, over protective mother LOL.)  In fact while chatting with the principal I told her that October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month and she had me write up some Ds facts that she is going to publish in the newsletter that goes out to the entire school.  We definitely feel the love!!!  I am so happy with where Ella is right now!!

After her 1st day.

I saw this idea on Pintrest and love it : )  I only wish I had known about it when Hunter was a kindergartner!!!


Kelli said...

I love the pictures! So cute!!

Mary said...

I love the picture of her laughing. So Ella!

Unknown said...

ADORABLE school pictures!! That is so awesome that there are so many teachers and paras in Ella's class. When I found out that Claire's class would only have one regular ed teacher and one para I though, yikes. I think there would be less issues with a little more support but I am so grateful that they are hanging in there for her because there really isn't a better option for her in our area.