Sunday, September 22, 2013

Two new schools for Maddy

The month of September has been an extremely busy one for us all. Lana started primary school in the last couple of weeks of August, we moved house on the first weekend of September, and right after that, Maddy started not one but TWO new schools. 

Last year, Maddy attended a regular, mainstream kindergarten. For many kids in Hong Kong, they start kindergarten (or what we would call in Australia or the US, "preschool") when they are 2 years old. The first year is "nursery" then for the international education system, there are two years of "kindergarten" before they start primary school in August/September of the calendar year that they turn 5 (so 2015 for Maddy). 

Mainstream kindy has been a great thing for Maddy - it has allowed her to socialise with her typically developing peers and has challenged her to learn to do things that they can do. I would have loved to have kept Maddy in her old school for this year, however her classroom would be upstairs requiring her to make multiple trips up and down with 10-15 other 3 year olds, something I didn't feel was ideal. Her school, however, had another campus which was just as close to our house (but in the opposite direction). After checking it out, we decided that this campus was far better suited to Maddy's physical needs. 

So it has been a couple of weeks now and Maddy has been settling in quite well. She still sometimes has some tears at drop-off time, but they dry up quickly and she bounces out of class happy and talking about all the fun things that they did at school. She is now going to this school Monday to Friday, for 3 hours every day.

In addition to mainstream school, Maddy finally got in to a government-subsidised "special needs school" (or as they call it, "early education training centre", specifically for preschool aged children with disabilities and developmental delays). It has been a long two and a half year wait for this place to open up for us, but I have such a good feeling about this school. She now will be having all of her therapy in one location, the therapists will communicate with each other and with her classroom teacher there, we will have IEP meetings to discuss our goals for her so we as parents will be more involved in these plans and will be working more closely with her therapists. All in all, I believe it will be beneficial for us all to have this holistic approach.

At this special needs school - she is going 2 days a week - the group class is for 3 hours but with therapy on top of that (which sometimes is during the group class, and also sometimes either before or after class), she actually is there for 7 hours a week. She will have weekly individual occupational therapy, individual speech therapy as well as biweekly physiotherapy. Within the group class, they have weekly group speech therapy as well as weekly music therapy. The class is small - only six kids, and they all have various special needs. Maddy seems quite attached to a little boy who has autism. I don't know much about the other kids' needs. 

It's interesting (to me at least) to go back and read some of my previous thoughts on schooling here and here. The two schools which we have finally decided on do provide a very busy schedule for a three year old - however I feel as though this will be a good combination that we can work with over the next two years. In two years time, she will be starting primary school and hopefully the next two years will be great preparation for her so she can be as independent as possible by then :)

Now for a few photos:
First day of school

 Already working at spelling her name ;)

Checking out the Hong Kong traffic

Having a sick day in her 2nd week of school :(

1 comment:

  1. Best wishes for the school, Maddy!