Much to my chagrin, Charlie had the nerve to continue growing up all summer and this week he started Kindergarten.
For some, this would be a big step, but for us it’s more of an inch. Charlie will continue spending most of his days in the Early Intervention classroom and will go to the Kindergarten classroom in the afternoons for social interaction.
At first, I wasn’t sure how I felt about this. I am a big fan of inclusion–I worked as an inclusion teacher for two years–because I know how much a child can benefit from being in an inclusive environment. I did a lot of soul-searching, however, and decided that the thing I want most for Charlie is for him to be part of his community. While I believe academics are important, I don’t think that’s where Charlie needs the most work. I’ve already taught him the basics of reading/letters/letter sounds.
So this year he’ll be working hard on self-care. His teachers will be focusing on making him a part of his routines–that whole independence thing. In the afternoons he’ll be working on figuring out how regular kids relate to one another and to him. It’s all pretty important stuff.
On the first day of school, the kids from his Kindergarten class walked down to the Early Intervention classroom and got to meet Charlie. The sat on the circle mat and he sat in a cube chair. They got a quick introduction to his wheelchair and how it works. Several of the kids remembered Charlie from when they were in pre-K the year before.
Charlie’s teachers reported that he smiled the entire time the other Kindergarten students were there.
I’m pretty sure I made the right decision on this one. I’ll keep you posted.