Ahhh, I know how to draw my readers in with the word "pictures" BUT....there are none! I eagerly snapped away tons of pictures this morning of Zoya in her cute new outfit with her way too big backpack with smiles from ear to ear and the beauty of an angel.....BUT my memory card was never in the camera.....SIGH! Well now you know how I felt when I made that discovery. But trust me when I say THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN ADORABLE!!! Soooo....I will probably be the only mom who will have "2nd Day of Preschool" Pictures to remember her first year of preschool....oh well, what can you do?
Anyways, although Zoya did go to the same classroom with the same teachers one morning a week over the summer, I was still nervous about today. I am so very thankful we decided to send her one day a week over the summer to get used to her classroom and teachers and just being away from us. Since last week Zoya has been signing "school" and asking for "B" and "Anna" (classroom aide and teacher) and also signing "friends." It is so sweet, and I kept telling her that soon she'd be going to school more! I love that she loves school! There were only 5-7 other kids in her summer class and it was a very lax summer program...lots of playing and free choice...which was a perfect way to introduce Zoya to school! But since it was not as structured and it was very calm and quiet because they were the only kids in the building...I was worried how she would react today when the entire building was full of loud kids! Her class has abour 16 kids, which is a nice size, but triple the size she was used to over the summer.
But she did fantastic! She was a little hesitant and clingy when I left, but was fine as soon as I was gone. If you're wondering, the ONE time her Daddy took her to school she was just fine with no tears or clinginess! Go figure! Her teacher said she got a little sad at snack time (chairs plus food equal anxiety for Zoya), "B" as Zoya so enthusiastically calls her, sat with her and she was just peachy after that! Love that they know how to love on my girl and ease her anxieties! I heard that Zoya tried to make friends with a little girl who is pretty shy. Zoya showed the little girl her baby and then pulled a puppet off the shelf and handed it to the little girl. Hearing that just made my heart so happy. Although Zoya has a tough time communicating verbally, she is so very good at communicating through actions. I've always said our goals in school for Zoya are not to master algebra and spelling and other academic content, but rather to learn more important life skills such as compassion, friendship, problem solving, and respect. I think she is well on her way!
For those of you wondering, Zoya is in a typical preschool classroom. She will go MWF 9-11:15, and half way through the year we may decide to keep her there until noon, depending on how she is doing. The reason we decided to pick her up at 11:15 is because that class eats lunch in the BIG SCARY CAFETERIA with Kindergartners and 1st graders at 11:20, which we know would be way too tough for Zoya at this point, but I do believe she will get there eventually. Shawn didn't quite understand my fears and concerns of having Zoya eat lunch in the cafeteria UNTIL he came to school for her IEP in May! On his way in he passed by the cafeteria at the exact same time Zoya would be in there and he said UMMM YAH NO WAY! LOL. There are a couple of other children in Zoya's class with IEPs/special needs, so that is pretty cool! The classroom has one teacher and one full time aide, and another aide was recently added part time, so while Zoya is there, the ratio is about 1:5, which is not bad. I think most of the kids in the class are 4, so Zoya is on the younger side, but this works perfectly for Zoya as lots of these kids have already been in preschool and know the routine/rules, and will be good role models for her.
I requested a copy of the schedule, as well as a list of first names of the students in her class so that we can talk to her about her day and about her friends. Since she isn't able to tell us much of what happens at school, I'd like her to realize that we know some of the things she does at school, and know some of her friends names. Zoya kept saying "lay-lah" over and over and I couldn't figure it out. Every time I asked her what she did in school...she'd sign "play" and say lay-luh. Then I remembered a friend she already knows named "Makayla" is in her class and I'm pretty sure that's what she was telling me. Sooooo if I have the list and the schedule, maybe I can understand what she is telling me a little better :)
I loved seeing Zoya so proud of herself today when I picked her up. She waved goodbye and yelled "bye" and blew kisses to her friends. She knows she belongs, she knows she is valued and loved at school. I know she may not always feel that way, but I am soaking it up now while I can! I'm so proud of my big brave girl!