Well, it’s done. We had kindergarten assessment for Ryley yesterday. I was nervous going in. You know how you feel when your preemie has those follow-up developmental checks? The ones that take a couple of hours? That’s exactly how I felt. I KNOW what he’s capable of, but would he perform for the person reviewing him? Would he show his skills, or sit there, uncooperative? He’s been through similar evaluations four times in the past year and a half – three at his preschool, and one when I was trying to figure out whether to start him in kindergarten last year, or hold him out. I’ve seen the results, and I’ve seen the massive improvements, but I had no idea how he would do yesterday. It was a new person, a new environment, which can amount to catastrophe.
We walked into the kindergarten classroom where the evaluation was going to be done, and my jaw just dropped. I got so excited. This is where my children are going to go to school! The room was awesome….full of color and light, art projects all over the walls, bright letters and numbers, a bird, three frogs, tiny tables and chairs, books everywhere…..so beautiful. We met the reviewer, one of the kindergarten teachers, Debi, and the assessment began. Ryley was a champ. He wrote his own name, and didn’t forget the L like he usually does. He recognized almost all of the capitol letters, and some of the lower case letters. He got every sound of the letters except for three (something to work on – THANK YOU Darcy for suggesting the Letter Factory!!!!!!!!!!), and could count to 29. He recognized all his numbers to 10 and then from 21 – 29, and of course 44 which is the number on his t-ball jersey. He could recognize and draw all his shapes, and knew all of his colors. My heart was in my throat with every new question. The anticipation was strangling me. With each right answer, I could feel the joy spread, and some of the tension release. We did get quite a laugh at one point……cutting skills are part of the assessment. I already know that Ryley knows how to cut with scissors very well, and he quickly showed those skills off. Debi was very impressed, and I shared his haircutting adventures over the past year and a half. She laughed and asked Ryley how much trouble he’d gotten into. At the end, she announced that Ryley is “very ready” for kindergarten. My son is “very ready”………..for kindergarten.
I am so thankful I held him out this year. For those of you who were with me as I struggled with this decision last year, thank you for your support and your patience, and for your words of wisdom and encouragement. It was the best thing for Ryley. I still can’t believe…he is very ready for kindergarten. We couldn’t have made a better decision for him.
There was one thing that got me yesterday. Maybe you all could tell me how you would answer this question. On one of the parent questionnaires for kindergarten, they ask about health problems, languages spoken at home, preschools attended and for how long, etc. The very last question is if there is anything else we want them to know about our child that may affect his day to day life in school. I hesitated. We had advised them of his asthma, but I wavered on whether his prematurity was something they needed to know. Should I write it down or not? I ended up leaving that line blank, but it has bothered me since. Ryley has very few physical challenges, outside of his asthma, that result from his prematurity. He seems to be okay, but I still worry, and I want to keep a close eye on anything else that might arise. The simple fact of the matter is we don’t know all the long-term outcomes of prematurity. I am always fearful of what may show up “down the road”. Do I make his teachers in kindergarten aware of his prematurity so they can help keep that close eye for any potential problems? Do I want him labeled that way? Or do I just let it go, and stay vigilant for any signs of trouble? Or do I PROUDLY let them know his beginnings so they can see how far he’s come and really care about what issues might show up as he grows up? Right now, a blank line is on that form. And I honestly don’t know what to do about it. I am tearfully beyond proud of Ryley. He is amazing to me. Yesterday brought back memories of his beginnings, and the fears that he would never reach this point in his life. I would shout that out to the world if I could.
Thanks for the encouragement over the past few days as the assessment approached. I’m glad it’s done, and so excited about Ryley starting this educational adventure called Kindergarten……