Imagine a sound extremely loud, incredibly obnoxious and so ear piercing it would either create a migraine on the spot or enhance a brewing headache in the back of your head to the point of explosion.
Now imagine this sound in a room of preschoolers with issues. We have a couple of autistic boys, two little ones needing the aid of a wheel chair and various other children with their own special problems. We did not need a fire drill in the mist of our morning session.
Although I do appreciate the principal letting us know in advance that the school would be having a drill, he just didn't tell us when the drill would be happening. We stayed on schedule, had our dancing, circle and snack but behind the scenes we were also preparing for what lies ahead, the long walk to the fence on the other side of the playground. We lined up the wheelchairs, loaded the wagon with their backpacks and coats, and had the rope ready to go. The rope is a colorful line with rings that the kids hang on to so we can attempt to keep them all together.
Usually after snack we have free play, a time where they can choose a activity or simply explore the room. With only an hour and a half of class our transitions are chop, chop and sometimes I feel we rush them just a tad. After free play we clean up and spend the last 15 minutes outside.
With the fire drill interrupting our free play, we went to Plan B and decided to keep the kids outside so they can enjoy a longer time on the playground. Let me start off by saying, when the bell sounded it's alarm, the kids handled it like nobodies business. They lined up and walked the long walk. Our one little fella in the wheelchair got a big kick out of his bumpy ride and giggled all the way to the fence and our two little autistic boys had no reaction to the noise what so ever, it was absolutely unbelievable. After the drill, while the rest of the school children headed back to class, we on the other hand headed for the playground.
Our preschoolers thoroughly enjoyed their extra long recess and after we loaded them on the bus, we just stood there for a minute in awe on how smoothly the day went.
What do you think, should be bag the IEP objectives and let them just dance, eat and play outside? "Uh sorry parents, your child has not completed any of his goals and objectives but boy did we have a great time, see ya next year!"
It was truly one of the best days we ever had.