We had the appointment with the GATE (Gifted and Talented) teacher this morning and then we met with Bren’s kindergarten teacher. Both meetings went really well and I feel an amazing sense of happiness over how great the school is being about meeting his needs.
For anyone who doesn’t want to go back over the endless number of blogs I have on here, it breaks down this way: We took Bren for kindergarten registration last March and during that process it became apparent that he was ahead of the curve. Now… we knew that because we know our son and we know that he’s a bit of a sponge when it comes to picking up some things. At that time we met up informally (at the registration) with the GATE teacher and she gave us a “self” (ie, family) assessment for him.
Here’s the tough part… I’m EXTREMELY literal and analytical and … well, you get the picture. When I do something it has to be done right and that assessment gave me fits. Some of the sections were relatively easy and I felt that I had concrete answers to give. Some? Well, I went back and forth on what I thought…
It was awful.
And running through my mind that whole time was the thought that maybe, just maybe, we were overestimating our child. Were we succumbing to that “my child is amazing” thing that so many of us are prone to?
Did I mention that I’m analytical?
Anyway, we talked about it and talked about it and just kept noodling it over until we hit August. We met and talked with the teacher, who reassured us that she had several children enrolling for the school year who were advanced. We went through the school district process and ended up meeting the principal, who once again reassured us that, “He’s only five! He’ll be fine… There are six or seven children in his class advanced like he is.”
Now, at the time I thought, “Whoa! What are the odds that there are SIX or SEVEN advanced kids like Bren in there??? That teacher is going to have her work cut out for her…”
But it still niggled at me… I kept thinking in the back of my mind that they didn’t understand what we were saying… that our first parent-teacher conference might be more enlightening and maybe they just needed to “experience” Brennan to understand.
I suppose, in the end, that’s what it took because:
no. There aren’t any other children in his class like him. One other boy is similar and is going to make an excellent friend for life (I hope)… but no… Brennan is just what we tried to say… different.
When you’re a little kid, that’s not necessarily who you want to be.
But! When we were in the GATE classroom and we got all these wonderful project ideas from the extremely energetic, fun, and lovely teacher… I realized that this is where he belongs – where he will fit right in with all his unique needs.
AND he still can stay with his kindergarten crew – with his friends.
His kindergarten teacher told us she hoped we didn’t regret keeping him in her kindergarten class and we told her absolutely NOT! She has done great things with him and if it weren’t for the fact that she is so good about communicating with us, we might not have known that the time had come for the assessment. She is good. She is funny. She truly cares deeply about her students. I wouldn’t have traded her for anyone.
This is like the end of a really hard trek up a steep mountain and yet, this is just the beginning. There is so much we’ll need to be doing with him… helping him to feel confident and empowered to seek out different things to explore. That’s exactly what it will be too – exploration. Learning is every day and every moment. It’s not about formal learning, it’s about creativity, guessing, examining, poking at and taking apart. It’s about messes and many times it’s about failures…
He’s just at the start of this huge adventure that life gives us. I’m happy for him because finally I see that there are people out there who are willing to be guides for him… and that makes all the difference.
I hope some day he sees Ms. Telleria, his kindergarten teacher, and he tells her how cool it has all been. I hope some day she knows what a huge difference she made for him.
And to think… we could go through all of this with Aidan too.
That thought makes me smile. No matter who my little guy turns out to be or what his needs are, we’ve learned how to navigate the processes… We’ll do a good job for him too.
Cheers on this sweet Friday,