Saturday, September 19, 2009

settling in

The kids now have 3 weeks of school under their belts, so it's safe to say we're getting settled into a routine. Jonathan is very happy in Ms. Mardicis' class, and his EA, Joe ("Mr. O"), is doing great work with him. It is nice to have the same person working with him all day, to keep things consistent and clear. Besides basic "academic" skills like math (sorting, number identification, counting) and language (letter recognition, matching letters), they work on physical, self-help, and social skills. Right now Mr. O is encouraging Jonathan to greet people with "Hi" and their name, rather than identifying them first by a colour or object (Jonathan tends to go up to teachers and say "skirt" or "blue"). One challenge is to channel Jonathan's interests/obsessions into teaching tools: for example, right now he's really into jigsaw puzzles, so Mr. O tries to find puzzles that relate to what the class is doing. Jonathan's also obsessed with shooting baskets, particularly throwing his ball into this thing on the playground that has red, blue, and yellow openings where the ball can fall out. He spends all of his recesses, some time after school, and an hour or so on most weekend days, doing this activity. I'm not sure how this can be translated into an academic activity (!) -- but the physiotherapist did suggest using heavier balls to increase Jonathan's upper body strength. It's neat to see the EA and other team members working together to improve his various skills.

Allison also seems happy in her grade six class. Her teacher, Mrs. Bush, runs a structured, teacher-directed class, and that structure seems to suit Allison. Mrs. Bush says that Allison works hard and participates enthusiastically, but social situations and accepting criticism and direction are still problem areas. However, she really enjoys connecting with Jonathan at recess time, and also comes home for lunch with Jonathan, which is a nice break in her day.

So far things seem to be going well in the world of school.

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