Well-adjusted. Making progress. Making friends.
These phrases describe Matthew's preschool experience.
When Elizabeth and I took Matthew to school this morning, he walked into his classroom and greeted his teacher with a "hi", a big smile and a hug. With very few verbal prompts, he independently took his backpack off, hung it in his cubby, unzipped his jacket, took it off and hung it in his cubby. Then after giving me a quick goodbye hug, he headed for the toys to play with his classmates. I wish I could've stayed to watch him participate in class but Elizabeth needed to get home for a nap.
Matthew doesn't have the language skills yet to tell me about the things he did at school. So we keep a communication notebook in his backpack. With the notebook, the teacher and I can send notes back and forth and she answers any questions I may have. It gives me a glimpse into Matthew's progress and how he does at school but I still wish for Matthew to be able to tell me stories as I can only imagine that they would usually be more entertaining to listen to when told from a child's perspective.
I'm tickled to hear that they love to work with him. He's compliant, cooperative, smiley, and giggly. He loves to learn and has a great sense of humor.
His articulation has improved since starting preschool in November last year. For example, he says "cat" instead of "tat," he says "zip" very clearly, and he says "v" and many of the letters in the alphabet quite clearly. These may seem like small accomplishments for anyone who might not understand speech delays but they are huge to me. It means his oral-motor strength is relatively better.
Progress is still progress no matter how little.
He is still learning to improve on his articulation. He is also still learning to say 2 to 3-word phrases and learning certain concepts in language such as understanding simple "what" questions. What is the girl holding? What is the boy doing?
He is learning to take his jacket off independently. He is learning to color within a certain area. He is learning to cut with scissors. He is learning to make crafts. He is learning more colors, words, and numbers.
I teach him all of these things at home too - he knew his letters, several colors, and he could sight read before he even started preschool - but preschool provides a different setting. Different kid personalities and a new theme or lesson focus every two weeks makes for a dynamic environment. And I am so proud of Matthew for taking everything in stride. It's a little step to being independent by not having me by his side helping him and learning to ask and accept help from others.
I especially like the social interaction that he's getting at school. He is learning to interact and play with other kids his age. He is learning to make friends. He hugs some of his classmates either 'good morning' or 'good-bye.' He laughs along with them.
He is currently the youngest in the class.
The only thing that I haven't liked about preschool are the bugs that have made him (Elizabeth, Bill and I) sick. Illness struck our household all of November, some of December, 2 weeks in January, and half of February so far. But we chose to send him to preschool instead of homeschooling him and this was to be expected. Thankfully, he hasn't been too ill to require hospitalization or too run down to miss too many days of school.
Whenever I mention school, he smiles and starts naming his teachers and some of the kids in his class. This is his way of telling me about school. He loves his teachers/ therapists and classmates. They love having him there too.