21 Dec

Otto starts school next year (start of the Australian school year is January 30th). Back in September, I sent a long letter to the principal about her Selective Mutism – what it means, why we want to meet with her classroom teacher, etc etc. Had a phone call from the principal thanking me for sending it and commenting that parents almost NEVER tell the school about issues like that.

Since then? Nothing.

We arrived for the first day of the school transition program to discover that the teacher for Otto’s group had not been notified that there was a problem. We then discovered that that teacher is leaving anyway (the school had arranged for her replacement to attend the transition sessions, so that was OK – although not really what common sense suggests you’d do for a child with anxiety and communication problems). It made the first day of transition stressful and distressing for me and Otto.

Since then? Nothing.

Today is the last day of school for the year – it closes down until January 29th. We had a letter  from school today advising us which class Otto will be in next year – much the same as her transition group ** except that they have taken the only girl she knows out of that class ** – so she is in a class of 23 children and only knows one other child (a boy she has been to creche with).

Does this sound like common sense? Or like *any* form of sense?

I was too upset to go and talk to the principal – I find they don’t respect weeping mothers much – and Fraser didn’t want to phone and talk to her, so I have drafted a letter about it.

We wanted to make the transition to school as easy and comfortable for her as we could. We’d hoped to arrange to visit school on the 29th (teachers only day) and hang out in her classroom, just so she knew where things were and had that little extra bit of confidence. We wanted to do the same on the 30th, when the big kids go back to school (the preps don’t start until the 31st). And have lots of playdates with the little girl she knows, to encourage and reinforce that friendship. We’ll do that anyway, but it’s a shame they won’t be together.

Of course, looking at the class list, we see one reason why they are not together. There are 9 girls and 14 boys – so a similar ratio to Biggie’s year and the year following hers. This is a fairly major problem – particularly with the children’s opportunities to make wider friendship groups – so it is disappointing to see the same mistakes being repeated.

In an odd coincidence, Biggie’s new teacher is the mother of Otto’s new teacher. Both seem great, so we’re optimistic that we will have a good year. Otto has even spoken to her new teacher, once. And Biggie hung out with her new teacher on school camp and thinks she is wonderful. But it seems that if there were to be any problems, that is not the best position for a family to be in.

Having just moved on from creche and the committee there, it must be terrifying for Fraser to know that I’m now considering running for school council.

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Posted by on December 21, 2007 in children, school


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