I don’t know what happened.
I feel fairly confident that it wasn’t that long ago that I gave birth to our 2nd son.
Wasn’t it just last month that I introduced Robert to his baby brother, Sullivan? The baby Robert begged me, at every chance he could, to hold? The one he proudly called “his baby”?
I don’t know what happened.
I blinked, and 2 boys became 3.
And suddenly, I’m getting ready to send Sullivan to school in the fall.
Sullivan… my boy who came so quickly our birth photographer almost didn’t make it. The one who was so determined to join us on the outside, my midwife ordered me to stop pushing so she could untangle him. He didn’t let anything stop him, not even his umbilical cord. He was ready to meet us!
My 3-year-old boy is going to school in September.
I don’t know what happened, but in September, he starts la maternelle (also known as junior kindergarten or full-day kindergarten).
We had a virtual introduction to his school, with many smiling faces on camera. We saw some of the staff he will likely see at school in the fall and some potential classmates’ smiling faces.
And as I sat through this virtual session, it struck me how easy it was to enrol him. I didn’t write a 10-page document outlining all there is to know about him. I didn’t have to have a big meeting, complete with his daycare staff, his OT, his PT, his SLP and the school administration. I just clicked a few buttons online, and that was it.
But that’s not the reality for everyone. It certainly wasn’t our reality 3 years ago with Robert.
If this is your reality, I want you to know you aren’t alone.
It can feel overwhelming, daunting, exhausting… and just not fair. Advocating for everything you want for your child and everything they need to succeed. I hope you are lucky enough to be partnered with a team like the one we have. A team that recognizes your child as intelligent and capable and that s/he just needs a few more supports in place to achieve their potential.
And after you go through those meetings and feel like you’ve prepared everyone for what to expect the next year, there’s going to be someone you forgot. Sometimes, the teacher or the educators that work with our kids aren’t at school. They might be sick or are caring for a sick child. When they aren’t there, the person who replaces them might not know about your child. And, even if they know that your child is in the class, they might not have had time to read the 10-page document you wrote. In those cases, a one-pager that outlines your child’s challenges, strengths and preferred communication styles can make all the difference. Here is a template version (in French) of the one we made. If this is useful to you and for your child(ren), I encourage you to edit it and provide it to the school. Send paper copies to the school, and email the teacher and staff a copy as well. And hey! This can also help the bus driver if your child rides a bus.
Un défis pour nous était de trouver des ressources en français, alors, le document en question est en français pour aider ceux qui pourraient se trouver dans cette même situation.
Getting to meet the school staff and administration at the early transition meeting also had its benefits. For one, we were able to see how the team works together, how organized they are, and how they value their colleagues and the students. It was a great foundation for us to build on and made us feel more comfortable with what Robert’s educational path looked like. It helps that we chose a school with an outstanding team.
And while registration for Sullivan only took a few clicks, I miss being able to sit around a table with the staff and telling them about my child. They don’t know that he’s very shy and reserved only up until the moment he feels comfortable, and then WATCH OUT! He’s full of intense energy he is still learning to harness and will need their help to navigate this. They don’t know that he is a sensitive, kind, caring boy who isn’t afraid to play “chevaliers!” or “pirates!” the second he sees anything that remotely resembles a sword. When he goes to school on the first day, he will be a stranger to them, and they a stranger to him. I know he will be OK, and that school will challenge him and help him grow in ways we can’t, but I do miss that introduction meeting. It makes dropping your baby off for school a little less scary.
But I still don’t know what happened.
How it feels as though he was born only yesterday, but this week I registered him for la maternelle.
Time, you’re a thief.