Sounds ominous, right? With our third kiddo in kindergarten this year, we’re old hands at the parent-teacher conference. But this year, after the usual awesome conferences for our oldest two, we heard something we’d never heard before.
“We’re lucky this year to have intervention at the kindergarten level, and I hope you’ll be open to letting B participate,” his teacher said matter-of-factly.
For a second, I really floundered as I considered what exactly they were intervening in. Refusing to share? Forgetting to cover when he sneezed? Flaunting rules about catching bubbles or personal space?
But no. It’s, like, letter recognition and sounds and stuff.
At the beginning of the school year, I wrote about the rough start we all had. Thankfully, he settled in the week that post was published, and it’s been relatively smooth sailing ever since. And while we noticed great improvement in his handwriting, his dad and I found ourselves asking each other, when exactly had his older siblings mastered all those letter sounds again?
Then we remembered that they had both gone to that pricy, curriculum-based preschool and had actually been academically prepared for first grade when they started kindergarten.
We had changed things up, preschool-wise, for number three, and now I was mentally kicking myself for the switch.
Still. No need to worry, right? Kids learn at their own pace, and so what if kindergarten isn’t the refresher year it was for his siblings. He’d get there.
So we continued monitoring his homework and applauding his efforts when he’d read to us the little books they make at school, and when October rolled around, we learned that, yep, he was a little behind the rest of the class.
“He went to [cheap preschool] instead of [expensive preschool],” I blurted. “Could that be why?” His teacher smiled and shook her head, gently explaining that she’d had plenty of kids from his preschool over the years, and it really didn’t make much of a difference.
“Honestly, I think he spent the first month of school just trying to get through the day,” she said simply. “Expecting him to actually learn on top of that would have been asking a lot.”
My heart cracked right two, and I stared at her as she went on.
“He’s actually made really great progress since we tested him,” she said, indicating a piece of paper where she had marked the letters and sounds he knew. “This was two weeks ago, and I’ve worked with him since then. He knows well over half of these now. I’d like to bring him up to speed in the intervention program, and then we can make room for someone else in that program. It really won’t take long.”
Now, our little guy attends his “special class,” as he calls it, with two other students three to four times a week. That, combined with my husband’s dedication to working with him nightly (flashcards for upper and lowercase letters, letter sounds and his ever-growing list of sight words), means he’s making great strides.
He had his first spelling test last week – the “at” family – and he beamed when he showed us that big smiley face at the top.
He really is getting it, and if it takes kindergarten intervention to make it happen, well, I’m okay with that.