In the 15 years of working with children, I have never gotten use to them leaving our program before the school year is over. We get mid year, then all of a sudden the families up and move for whatever reason and we never get to finish what we started. Actually don't quote me, they sometimes move back.
This year we seem to have an over abundance of children enrolled, more than any year in the past. It's as if they are coming out of the woodwork and saying, "Surprise, we're here!" We screen the little ones upon their third birthday and if they qualify, we absorb them into our already full classroom. It appears everyone child we screen this year has been qualifying, which is causing us to burst at the seams. I don't think the room can handle much more, let alone have enough hands to help out. So we strategized, revamped and decided to let the ones who have completed their goals and objectives, 'graduate' from our program before the year is over, thus making room for the newbies.
Our first 'graduate' came to us last year as a confused, lost little boy. Now that alone doesn't qualify him for special ed. But by doing a behavior check list with his mother, who at the time was recently released from prison, qualified him for behavior. He also was not potty trained and didn't demonstrate any self help skills, go figure considering the circumstances he was coming from. In the year and a half year he was with us, the little guy grew in so many ways. Potty training was a snap, as was teaching him to take care of his own needs by pulling up his pants etc... His language improved 100% and to tell the truth, we never saw any of the bad behavior his mother spoke of.
He was an absolute delight and one of the toughest for me to see leave.
Second to 'graduate' was a boy who qualified for speech. He too was enrolled for a year and a half and during that time his language showed remarkable improvement, to the point of no longer needing our services.
The other child that had left our program, just left. I was not done with this little fella, but his grandparents who have custody, were evicted from their home and had to move, thus taking him out of our district. This saddens me to no end! We had a major break through with our little friend, who does not talk but understands everything. At first he would expect and wait for someone to take care of his every need. Can't really blame him, who knows what he encountered during his first few years of life, which probably caused him to be the way he is. He cried with every transition, and would look at you with a blank stare. Slowly, he started to blossom. The crying stopped and he began following the routine, not to mention the last couple of weeks he started signing with some prompting. The blank stare disappeared and you could see the light in his eyes, he was getting the need to sign!
I truly am going to miss these little guys, but as always, we must continue to put our shoulder to the wheel and press on. In the last month or so, we started at least five new preschoolers with one in the wings, who will begin our program after Spring Break.
I better get my R&R while I can because, speaking from experience, there will be no rest for the weary.