Thursday, June 18, 2009

Good bye, at last.

Today we said good bye to Shea's AM preschool option. It is a lovely little private preschool nestled in a forest surrounded with lots of walking trails. We started back in the fall with the best of hopes.

I guess it has always been somewhat of a stretch but we hung in there for the whole year. A stretch because I just don't think the teacher has much of a clue about kids with special needs although she is certainly has plenty of experience.

I think she was pressuring Shea a little too hard at potty training where he became very reluctant to even try during the winter. She had her hands full and couldn't watch all the kids at one time and playground time got a little crazy with Shea sort of falling apart on an almost daily basis. Or him getting blamed for stuff because he couldn't verbalize what happened. She also seems surprisingly rigid about certain things; kids can't bring anything from home, always wear inside shoes inside, always play with this toy like this, etc.

I don't know. Maybe that is the Montessori way.

It seemed like she did a lot of apologizing for stuff over the year, now that I look back. Misunderstandings. Shea having problems at playground time. One other kid saying he is "afraid" of Shea. Shea saying he didn't like it. I never could quite get a handle on what was going wrong over there.

But, today just takes the cake. Talk me off the ledge readers.

Today being the last day of school, she had scheduled a party for the last hour and all parents were supposed to show up and bring food. Ok. I am pretty darn busy during the day but I can do that.

But, I get there and she is inside with all the kids while all the parents are sitting outside waiting. Well, they all finally come out holding hands and snaking around the yard. Two kids pipe up saying, "Welcome to our graduation ceremony."

Uh oh. I thought this was just a party. Seems a little kooky by now but whatever. Sort of reminds me about the diatribe in the movie The Incredibles where he is talking about how everyone is always coming up with more ways to celebrate mediocrity. I mean, it is just the end of a pre-school year. Graduation ceremony? Give me a break!

They each climb up the play structure and are supposed to slide down while saying their name. Weee! Nothing like a little on the spot, high stakes verbalization with the added pressure of 20 parents staring at you for a speech delayed kid! Weee!

All the kids do it, Shea is last and he doesn't want to or can't do it. Gets more and more embarrassed, frustrated and shy. Doesn't want to come down the slide. Clueless teacher doesn't even get it at first and tries to coax him but only ends up making him cry.

I go and rescue him. Thanks. Thanks a hell of a lot!

Then, she says all the kids are going to go over there and get in a circle and sing a song. Bleh. No thank you very much. I just took a crying Shea and we walked through the trails a little bit and then went home.

So, for the last day of school, Shea gets to be humiliated in front of all these gaping parents for a stupid "ceremony" that seemed to be nothing more than a "dog and pony show" for the parents to justify $360 a month for morning preschool.

Result? My kid gets to stick out. My kid gets to be the odd ball. My kid, obviously, doesn't want to do it but is pushed through this teacher's whim so she can show the parents what good little preforming seals they are.

I guess I am livid that she is so lacking in empathy and intuitiveness that she wouldn't foresee difficulty or problem or discomfort for Shea. Maybe she did. Maybe she asked him. Maybe not.

Livid? I am pissed off! I wished I hadn't even taken him there today.

Good riddance, AM Preschool. I sure am glad we have a better option for next year.


jonsmom said...

Poor Shea. I'm sure he was excited about the party, too.

FWIW, most preschools have graduation "ceremonies". But after knowing Shea for a whole year, she should have known that he would need to be prepared, and she should have prepared you also.

I'm pissed off for you, too. Sorry it was a bad day. Make tomorrow as special as possible.


Scattered Mom said...

I'm so, so, SO sorry that happened to you and Shea. How insensitive and thoughtless of the teacher to put him in that type of situation! I would have been furious too.

I get that preschools often have little 'grad' things (I was totally unprepared for Jake's, I didn't even bring a camera) but she could have done something that would have included Shea more. There's SO many ways to adapt things-and at the very least, should have prepared you both for what was happening.

Maybe it would have been better if Shea had a bit more support, with an adult 'helper' throughout the year if the teacher was overwhelmed.

*sigh* I hope things are better next year.

Anonymous said...

Arrggghhhh. Hang in there girl; we got a whole summer of pooltime, beach time and playing. We can chalk this year up to "learning experienece" for both you and Shea.


Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry for Shea. What an insensitive teacher. Hopefully, all of the good times he has with you and the family overshadow this experience. One day, you can both talk about it and laugh. Have a fun summer.

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