Mallory started an early childhood education program (AKA preschool) at our church and she is loving it. This picture is from her first day of school. She looks a little tired, doesn’t she? She goes 2 days a week from 9:00-2:30. She eats a snack and lunch there and takes a short-for-her afternoon nap. Her days there are structured and the program seems to be very well thought out.
Each month her class (a group of 10 two year olds) focuses on a couple of letters, a color, a shape, some numbers, a bible story, a science concept and even some Spanish. This month she’s learning about: N & W, red, circles, 1 & 2, Esther Saves her People & Jesus is the Way, the Rainforest and greetings in Spanish.
Each day Mallory comes home with a sheet telling me what she did and how she did. Each day her teachers have described her as cheerful and cooperative. Some days she’s also energetic or she’s also been quiet. When I take her into the class, she hardly says bye to me as she’s in such a hurry to get in the door, drop off her lunch box, and get busy with whatever it is she does there. They have individual photos of each child in little cubbies so that each child can find where to put their lunch box. They also put photos on the table so that each child knows where to sit for snack and lunch.
Mallory sits right next to her teacher for snack time/lunch so that her teacher can keep an eye on her to make sure Mallory doesn’t try to touch or eat anyone else’s food. So far, it’s gone well. They’ve had to give her Benedryl twice after two minor topical exposures. I fully expected them to have to give her Benedryl regularly as we generally have to give it to her after we eat out (even with wiping everything down before we eat, there still ends up being some food residue somewhere that she touches and reacts to). I provided her teacher with an allergy plan of action, Benedryl and an epi-pen, so they are ready in case of minor reactions and for a true emergency. The director of the program and her teachers have been very good with understanding the severity of her allergies and with knowing how to work with her. I am very pleased with that as it was my biggest concern with her being in any kind of program, especially in a situation where food is involved. I do provide both her snack and lunch for the day so I know the food she’s eating is safe for her. Her teacher says she’s curious about what the other kids are eating, but she doesn’t try to touch it or take it from them.
The other part of the program that I was curious about was napping. I didn’t know how she’d do sleeping in an unfamiliar environment with other people in the room. Since day one, she has SLEPT during their 2 hour nap time. No issues whatsoever! When she’s at home napping, she’ll sleep for 3.5 to 4 hours. So on school days, since she hasn’t taken a long nap, she goes to bed at night a couple of hours early, which is nice too.
All in all her transition to school has been easy. I’ve also liked being able to spend some one-on-one time with Chelsea or to get things done around the house while Mal is gone.
And since I’m doing a little updating on Mal, here’s more to share. I’ve called to have her evaluated by the county for a speech delay to see if we can get some help for her. She’s always been a little behind with speech (she didn’t say her first word until she was 18 months). I’ve been waiting it out, hoping that her speech/vocabulary/pronunciation would get better. While it has gotten a little better, she’s still behind. When I hear other kids her age and younger speak, I realize other parents can have conversations with their two year olds. We are still working on two word simple phrases with Mal (“moo mil” = more milk, “hep me” = help me, “keys foos” = Chelsea’s shoes). She has a hard time pronouncing 2 syllable words and often times doesn’t even try to pronounce them. I have to break words down and get her to say it one syllable at a time (aah + pul = apple). After doing that several times, then she might say the word as a whole. Might. But then ask her 10 minutes later to say that word again and she can’t/won’t, so you have to start again with each syllable.
I really don’t think she has a hearing or comprehension problem. I think she just doesn’t know how to move her mouth to make the right sounds or she doesn’t know how to break a word down in her head to know how to say it. She does do a lot babbling and I think that she thinks she can talk. We just don’t know what she’s saying. So, I’m hoping that with some speech help she can be on par with other kids her age. I’ll keep you posted.