Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Letter to my son

Dear Son,

Today you had speech therapy at one school.  Then Oma and Opa brought you to your regular school and you saw (and pet!) bugs and then tonight ~ you went to your first Karate class!  You are so awesomely well behaved while having a very long day.  Proud of you, my boy.

But I'm getting ahead of myself....

School is in full swing and Mommy is really behind in writing to you.  Catch up time!  Let's focus on school for a while.  Here's your first day of school picture:

I could see how comfortable you were being on the St Augustine Episcopal School grounds.  You recognized schoolmates from last year and loved seeing the new toys in the room.  You and Carsen teamed up pretty quickly to play.  He was in your class last year and summer camp.

Each morning, I watched as you ran into the classroom.  You went straight for a particular table; I could tell you were intent on finding something.  During the parent/teacher night, the teachers explained, "This is how they do roll call.  The children find their names on the banana and put the banana in the roll call box."  What a great idea to get the child quickly away from the parent leaving and focus on the day's activity... it's a job to do and it's name recognition as well.

There's name recognition all over the classroom!  For a behavioral record of the day, your teacher, Ms. Becky and assistant, Ms. Carrie, have three boxes lined up vertically.  The top box is green, middle is yellow, bottom is red.  Each child starts the day off with their banana (with their name on the banana) in the green.  If the child has to be corrected repeatedly for doing something they shouldn't do, then the name goes in the yellow.  If the child does something that could hurt another child, such as pushing hard or kicking, the banana goes in red. If the banana goes in red, because of that type of behavior, the banana can't move out of red.  These are harmful actions that the teacher wants to nip in the bud before it gets out of hand.

Pointing to your name in green.

It's a WONDERFUL system.  It shows you and your peers which behaviors will not be tolerated.  It's a visual system to back up the verbal one.  And the green/good behavior is rewarded - if your name is in green at the end of the day, you get a sticker in your sticker book.  After so many stickers, you get a prize.  This is a total motivation tool for you and it's worked great!  Only one day have you had your name in the yellow, all other days in the green.  The "at a glance" behavior chart not only shows the parents how the child is doing, but also what type of day the teacher had too.

Each week there is a theme and the parents know the theme from a calendar given.  There is a chart outside of the classroom that lists what was done in school that day.  I'm totally loving this.  I sure hope the teachers know how much it's appreciated.  Having knowledge of what my child is doing and learning that day makes me feel well.... gosh... pretty happy!

For example, I know that the first week of school, the theme for the week was apples and the letter "a."  The snacks for the week included red, green and gold apples.  You did artwork showing the inside of and outside of an apple.  You did string paint artwork for dexterity.  Ms. Becky had the students count apples, then take an apple away - working on subtraction.  Science is included with liquids and changing the appearance of an apple.

Your teacher is also very informative.  She told mommy that you are active in class, you participate, you play well with your classmates, you are eager to volunteer and you are well behaved (I know it's early in the school year to say this, but I'm hopeful for a great year)!  Ms. Becky made me feel good about your behavior and eagerness to be there.

I saw that you were the flag holder the first week of school.  There's a list with names for various "jobs" for the students and the jobs are rotated so each child has a turn.  You were eager to show mommy how you have to hold the flag.

I can see why you enjoy school so much.  You make it clear to mommy that you love going to school... you literally said it repeatedly one morning and while I was unbuckling the seatbelt, you belted out loudly, "I LOVE MY SCHOOL!"  I think everyone heard you.

Next picture is a patch of the "family quilt" - each child needed to decorate a sheet of paper with pictures of family members - then the papers/patches were put together to form a quilt at school:

One Friday, Mommy said, "Guess what!  Today is Friday.  That means Mommy and Daddy don't have to go to work tomorrow."  You replied, "Mommy and Daddy can come to school with me tomorrow?"  Mommy said, "No, honey.  No work on Saturday and no school on Saturday."  Your soft voice said a lot in a few words, "I'll miss school."

Another morning there were two parents standing in front of the classroom door, talking to the teacher.  You started to hop around them, then you turned to me, pointing to the small space between the two parents and their legs, "Mommy, can I go into the class room?"  I was smiling so much, I had to say okay.

Let me tell you, son... the best feeling in the world for Mommy?  When Mommy arrives to pick you up from school and you see Mommy... the delightful, cheerful voice of "MOMMY!" and you come running to me... it's just the best!

"Pencil" treats Mommy made for your class:

Some lower case alphabet "projects" we did at home:

At school, on Friday's you have composition notebook - in it you are tracing the alphabet letters!  I think you are leaning towards being a lefty.

Mommy asked your teacher how you did with the bugs.  Last night, you brought me one of your green toy plastic bugs.  You instructed me, "You have to pet it soft or it will bite you."  I said, "I will pet the bug only if you promise Mommy that you will touch the bugs in school tomorrow with the bug mobile."  You agreed and you kept true to your words!  The teacher said you touched all of the bugs, including a big roach, a millipede and a caterpillar.  You used just one finger and touched gently.  None of the kids were allowed to touch the spider though.  I'm so proud of you!

In speech you learned how to say the "V" sound and now you are working on the "L" sound.  Speech has small groups of two children for 30 minutes.  It's a small world.... the boy you take the speech class with is the son of one of the attorneys at Mommy's law firm where she works.  The attorney's wife was there and she recognized us from social work gatherings.  Come to find out, the attorney's wife knows Oma.... because Oma taught the attorney's wife's brother at Matas Elementary School years ago!

The attorney gave Mommy some advise about speech, "The hardest thing for me to understand is that even though the child was taught a sound, it doesn't mean "that's it, now you have learned it"... when it comes to speech it's a process that takes time."  Aunt Kim gave Mommy the same advise and I'm hoping it will sink in.

I know you try hard and you want to follow instructions.  Nothing showed me that more than your first class of Karate tonight.  It was a 45 minute class with kids you have never seen before in a culture and instructions that was completely new to you.  You were timid.  Or is it that you were so intent on following instructions?  You learned how to bow, count to 5 in Japanese, some punches and other various Japanese words for sit and stand.  What's neat is that your instructor is also Daddy's instructor.  Daddy started back into Karate a few weeks ago.  I'm thrilled you are both getting involved with this.

You are my hero, sweet boy.  For all that you learn, take in stride and still remain, my sweet boy.

Love Always,

No comments: