At the end of last year I was really debating changing her school. Her therapist felt that changing her school right after we had done a big move would be too much change in such a short time. I agreed, so I kept her in the same school and did the 45-90 minutes of traveling each way. But going to the West Island and back to the South Shore four to five times a week was really taking it’s toll on me and I came to the realization in December that I just couldn’t do it anymore.
I asked her Occupational therapist if she felt it might be ok to make the transition to a new school in the area now since Juli has now adapted to the move and understands that the new place is home. Her therapist understood where I was coming from with the drive taking such a toll on me and agreed. She agreed that since Juli was starting with the music therapy and that is really supposed to help stimulate parts of her brain to help with her therapy and make it progress a bit faster that it would be ok to make the change of school now.
So I started doing research for schools in the area. I wasn’t surprised to find that half way through the school year there were no spaces available. I left a lot of messages and spoke to many people. Everyone I spoke to said there were no spaces for this year, but I could have space next year. That doesn’t work.
I was about to give up as I had called all the places on my list that were less than 40 minutes away. I didn’t see a point in putting Juli through a school change if the drive was still going to be 45 minutes or more. Then a couple days before the Christmas holidays I received a call from one of the massages I left. It was from a school about 10-15 minutes drive away and The lady seemed really nice on the phone. She spoke French but she made her best effort to talk to me in English.
I explained to her about Juli’s delays and how she is 4 1/2 years old but has to go into the class for 2-3 year olds. She seemed ok with that and asked if we’d like to come in and visit the school. I said yes, and we scheduled in for a couple days from then. I hung up the phone and I was on cloud nine.
I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Traveling wise at least.
I was pretty worried about bringing Juli with me for the visit as I’m sure it would not be a long visit since we were coming at the end of the day. I was very concerned about getting Juli to leave at the end of the meeting. She would be seeing a new room full of toys and I would be asking her to leave after only a few minutes…. A recipe for disaster with Juli…. As well I was not sure how she would respond to the new teacher as she is very shy around a lot of people. I really wanted this to go well so that I could send her there if I like the place.
It is called Jardin D’Enfants La Soleillerie. We got there and found a park outside the school. Juli wanted to go and play in it right away. I told we couldn’t as we don’t belong to the school yet. Took a lot to get her away from that park. She didn’t understand why she couldn’t go. I didn’t want her to be upset getting into the school. I wanted to make sure she was happy going into this meeting. I finally convinced her to come by telling her we were going to see a big room full of lot of toys. Then she was over excited lol…
We got in and took off our boots in the large coats area. It had little booths with all of the current students names on them. Her teacher came out to greet us and she immediately bent down to Juli’s level and introduced herself. Juli seemed comfortable with her right away. I was relieved. So far it was going well.
Juli asked me if she could go in and play with the toys. Right away the teacher told her to go and have fun. Then she proceeded to explain to me about the school while Juli played. it sounded like a great place. Lots of learning through play. Lots of creativity. They had a music day, an arts day and an exercise day. By the sounds of it I knew that Juli would love this place. And it was so bright and open. I told them I would discuss it with my husband and I would let them know in the next day or two. If she came here she would start right after the holidays.
We were about to have the inevitable hard time getting her out, but I knew that she was very excited to see her dad so I told her that we were going home to see him. I would deal with the meltdown later when she realized that he wasn’t home exactly when she got there. She left ok after that. But yes when she realized that dady wasn’t home YET, she was very upset. Took me a while to calm her down from that. She had gotten excited to see and it wasn’t happening when she thought it would. Didn’t matter that he was home 10 minutes later.
Him and I discussed it and we decided to go for it and change schools. So I called them the next day and took down the information on how to proceed. Then I had to notify her current teachers that she was leaving. That was hard and there were a lot of tears since she been with them for three years.
I was pretty concerned about how the change was going to go. The procedure they wanted to follow was to transition her slowly and that meant leaving the class before the other kids for the first week. Last time I did that at her old school it ended up in disaster.
I brought her in on the first day and I had prepared her for a few days so the entrance went well. I was more worried about the leaving part. I went to a Starbucks close by since she was only supposed to be there for an hour that day. I waited and at due time I left to get her. My stomach was in knots. I was so worried they were going to see the meltdown and decide that she was too much for them to handle.
I got there and rang the door bell. They came to the door with her and she was happy to see me! There were no tears! Her teacher said good bye to her and told her that she would see her tomorrow. Juli said “ok teacher!” and she looked at me and said “we go home now?” I said yes and proceeded to get her dressed. I was in awe! No meltdown. Trust me I wanted to get out of there before that changed.
We were able to leave happily and it was the exact same for the next three days. They had managed to do with her something that I couldn’t before. Have her leave early without getting upset and melting down. I’m not sure if it is because of the way the school is arranged and she didn’t see the other kids while getting ready to go so she didn’t feel like she was missing anything… Maybe it was just the mannerism of the teacher. Juli just seems to be happier there.
I watched her over the last few weeks as well and she really does seem to be happier there than at the other school and the teachers really seem to be very good with her.
I know I made the right decision and I feel really blessed to have found this school.