Penny had her first visit to school today. As I said in a previous post, there are about twelve classes in this preschool; we went and visited Mrs. G's class. There were seventeen typical kids, some are three and some are four. Their day starts at 8:30 but since Penny was just checking it out, she was asked to come in at 9:45, enough time to sit through circle time and check out centers.
We walked through the door and Penny went running to the circle rug where everyone else was. Of course she didn't want to sit; she wanted to check everyone out and touch everyone's hair. :( I took her by the arm and sat with her. I also pointed around the rug and mentioned that everyone else was sitting there listening. Mrs. G read a book and her children sat there motionless. I was impressed. When the story was over, Mrs. G organized centers time by way of each child, one at a time, grabbed their name card (a foam rectangle with their name on the front and Velcro on the back) and walked over to whichever center they wanted to play with and put their name on that sign. Mrs. G saw the expression on my face and had to explain that they had been working on this since the fall and some of those kids were with her as 3-year olds, so they have been doing it for two years. Penny witnessed a couple other children hug th- teacher, so she ran into line to get one too. :) Mrs. G gladly hugged Penny back.
Two cute girls (one was named Heavenly) inducted Penny into the world of centers. Each one took a hand of Penny's and then escorted her to the play-home. There was a desk with a phone and a pad of paper to take messages, a couch, dolls, a crib, a play sink and many other fun things. Penny set to sweeping the floor right away. Then she moved onto the construction center where she played cars and blocks with a couple of boys. Some cutie named Bryce took her by the hand later on to show her the writing/literacy center. I gave Penny a bucket of magnetic letters and she took to naming them as she pulled them out one by one. There was also a puzzle center and sensory table and Penny tried them all out. She was a little destructive in that she wanted to take everything out without putting the previous thing back, but she tried when directed. She also took a crayon and colored on some one's project before I could act. The four year old girl was kind of upset, but Mrs. G smoothed it over.
After centers we went outside where she really fell short. There were tricycles, little tyke cars, scooters, and sidewalk chalk. There were a couple of playscapes so I imagine the outside areas are rotated since they spent their time on the blacktop today. She was chasing after a girl with a wagon when she fell and hurt her knees. She was already kind of miserable that day since she was constipated and tired (I think she woke up at 5:30). I decided to leave from there and so I said goodbye to the para. Mrs. G was inside taking care of some other business.
I discussed our experience with Scott. I am really nervous about Penny fitting in. I know that she is great and that the teachers will love her, but I dread the looks and laughs from the other kids. I know the kids are young now so it will be truly innocent, but already, I had 4 or so kids ask me why she can't sit in a chair or why she doesn't know how to play with something. My answer generally was that she was still only two years old. Oh how staggering the difference is between her and the typical three-year-olds. I don't compare too much, most of the time I really don't care that she is on her own time table, but when it is thrown in my face like that it is really really hard not to think about it for at least a minute. . .
I'm really excited that Penny is going to be in a typical class and not the class where it is half and half. I tell myself it is the best thing for her and that she will excel, but part of me worries that school will be too hard or because she won't be able to keep up, the disparity will be that much more significant. I can't help but worry, I am her mom.