As I mentioned on Tuesday, the Quail is now fully included in the Toddler class at her little school. The transition started with the beginning of the public school year in August with her spending some time with the teachers throughout the day but typically returning for meal and naptimes. Last month we had Miss Mattie start taking the Quail from the baby room to the Toddler class when she got there to help assist the Quail in feeling comfortable with her new teachers and reaquaint herself with some of the classmates that had moved up earlier this summer. This is a MUCH bigger class then what she is used to (from 1 teacher to 5 students to 2 teachers with 10 students).
When Zuzu moved into the Toddler class she was 10 months old. It was just how it fell in the academic year and how the make-up of kids worked out. So I incorrectly assumed that the Quail moving in there at 19 months old would be much older than the others. Turns out she is the youngest. She is the only one not walking yet and we expect it will be a while before she is able to walk. But as Miss Tandria the school manager told me when Zuzu made this same transition- it’s amazing how quickly they assimilate to the new routine and activities. The Quail has definitely picked up her pace on crawling. She still mostly does an army crawl, but it’s much faster and she initiates it frequently. No longer when you leave her in one spot in a given room, can you expect to find her sitting in the same spot when you return. Usually she’ll follow you!
Their day starts out with group and art time. The Quail is a natural at this. She is a huge book lover and would sit and read happily all day in her dreamland. During art time she only eats about as much glue as her fellow students and was more than happy to fingerpaint and tear up the paper strips for her collage.
Lunchtime is one of the biggest changes. The little kidlets all sit in individual chairs around a toddler sized table and receive their first foray into school lunch. You can guess how this was received by the Quail….pure delite! A number of times in this past week the teacher has remarked that when they finish helping the Quail with her meal and step away to clean up, when they turn back the Quail has stood herself up at the table to get a better view of what she wishes was an all-you-can-eat buffet! I worried she might try to take the other kiddo’s food or offer up some of her pterodactyl impressions in the process of having to wait for her meal to be brought to her. But surprisingly (even though I shouldn’t be so surprised since kids frequently have separate standards of etiquette for home and school), she is just happy to be part of the group and doesn’t fuss at all.
Next up, naptime- again a big worry for me (sensing a theme here yet?), in the baby room the babies all had baby cribs. In the Toddler class, um yeah, the toddlers all sleep on nap mats. Zuzu worried me back during her transition time with this as well. She was notorious in the baby room for staying awake during naptime and going around rattling the babies cribs throughout the span of time and then dropping off to sleep just when it was time to get up. I figured she wouldn’t cut it on a nap with absolutely no caging in to enforce the plan. But she surprised me too, that very first day she laid herself down to sleep, soaked up the nice teacher backrub and dropped off just like it was old hat. I swear I’d pay a mint to have these teachers come to bedtime at our house nightly! So the first all day run to include naptime I was hovering by the phone at 2:02pm- scolding myself for wanting to check in, and yet reminding myself they said it fine to check! Finally by 3pm I caved in to check, and yes, the Quail- no problem. Three seperate times she looked up and chatted at the teacher and three times she was informed that what she was saying was well and good but it was naptime. The third time was the charm. She conked out and slept the full two hours. And so far has stuck with the schedule.
In the afternoon there is playtime outside. Depending on how many kiddos are out on the playground there is a need to be careful here. The Two’s class should really be called Three’s and those kiddos are apparantly farm-fed. They are LOTS bigger. During those instances when the group can be a bit overwhelming the Toddler teachers have improvised by bringing out a small swimming pool, added some toys and let her play in there. Each afternoon that I’ve picked her up on the playground there has been a minimum of two and once six of her groupees crowding around to play with her. For the kids it wasn’t isolating her, it was just an invitation for them to come sit by her.
And so goes the first full week. I’m completely thrilled with how smooth it has gone and will probably end up back her reading this and reminding myself of how well her being included can go. Thanks so much to all the lovely and loving teachers at my girl’s school. I appreciated you when you lovingly cared for Zuzu, but you’ve really outshined yourself with the two of them. I feel so lucky to know you all!