Friday was Mairead's last day of school for the year, and in celebration of that, her teachers planned a nice little ceremony for the day before. Every other student in Mairead's class will be going on to kindergarten next year (they are all five years old or will turn five in the next 2 months). So for them, it was a little graduation of sorts. For Mairead, it was just fun! For us, it was the end of what has been a very long, exhausting, and emotional school year. She attended three different schools this year and is finally in the right one for her. After countless IEP meetings, phone calls, and disappointments, we have an IEP in place that we feel begins to address her needs. We still believe that she needs more support, but at least we have our foot in the door and she is in the hands of good teachers. We hope that the 2011-2012 school year is a much more positive experience for all of us!
Parents were invited to attend the celebration and we all settled in the library before the kids came in. Mairead did not know that we would be there, so she was so surprised to see me when the kids paraded into the room! I was really impressed with how well she did- she stayed in line and listened to her teacher even though she obviously wanted to run right over to me. She was very cute- she sat with her class for several minutes but then just couldn't contain herself anymore. She ran over to me, gave me a huge hug and kids, and then ran back to her seat. This alone is evidence of how far she has come this year, and it was a great moment for me.
She also did great following along with the music instructor and with her classmates. She LOVES music and was singing or dancing along with the kids.
There was a little recognition ceremony for all of the summer birthdays, so Mairead got to wear a "King hat," as Jack proclaimed it, and all the kids and parent sang Happy Birthday to the kids. In a weird coincidence, while we were at Lynch Park yesterday (40 minutes from our house), we saw the little boy who is standing next to Mairead. It was very cute- she saw him and said, "Hey, look at that." I thought she was noticing his sand toys, but then he said, "Hey, that's Mairead, she's my friend!" I then recognized him from the ceremony. Can't tell you how great it was to hear him say, "She's my friend." The only hard part of her school celebration was that other moms were exchanging contact info because their daughters wanted to play together over the summer. Mairead was not included in any of this, and that was really hard for me to see. I know she is younger than they are and I know she joined the class late, but the thing I want most for her right now is to have little friends and for her to have fun with the other little girls. I hope she finds some good friends when school starts again next year. She actually seems to prefer playing with the boys in her class... don't know where she gets that from...
I am so glad that Dave and I were able to attend the ceremony (he was out of school early enough to see the second half) because it was a postive and happy experience for all of us. We want school to be a good experience for Mairead and it was nice to see her enjoying it so much. We were also able to see her doing things she never would have been able to do 10 months ago. She stayed in line, stayed in her seat, followed along with the class, and followed directions. She has a long road ahead of her but at least now we are heading in the right direction. I think she will miss school over the summer and I hope she is excited to return in September!