Today, I took the children (and Granny!) up to see Jude’s new school so we could work out if we need to buy anything special for his room. It’s so amazing what they provide, I really can’t believe how fantastic they have been so far and he’s not even a pupil yet. To say Jude was excited is an understatement. He was screeching, hitting Elsa (sign of excitement), pulling at Granny, wittering on, asking to play I spy, basically throwing out all the usual bumf he does when his mind is racing at a hundred miles an hour.
A few days ago, I told him about the beautiful school swimming pool and following this amateur mistake of mine, he hasn’t stopped asking if he can go swimming there. We said that today he could look at the pool and thankfully he was fine with this. He loved it; his face was a picture. Staff there said he can come swimming next week so inevitably ever since we returned home (and for the duration of the whole journey back) he has been saying “I’m going swimming next week.”
“Yes Jude, you are.”
“Emmeline’s not coming, Elsa’s not coming, Mummy’s not coming, Granny’s not coming.”
“No Jude, just you.”
Aaaaaand repeat. *repeat* *repeat*
We wandered past Jude’s future classroom and were invited in to say hello. Jude is always slightly reticent when you mention classrooms and I’m convinced it’s because of the pessimistic attitude exhibited by his last setting. They repeatedly told me how much he disliked sitting in a classroom and I always agreed and said that he needs to learn in a less restrictive manner. Needless to say, they didn’t listen to me and as a consequence, Jude hates the thought of school and classrooms. I can only imagine how much he was berated for not sitting properly by his old (literally) teacher. She was neither warm nor appealing and Jude took an immediate dislike to her.
Our lovely friend at this new place said that many children have a similar fear and suggested we just use the name of the school rather than calling it “school”. So we could say to him, “Jude you’re going swimming at **** next week” rather than “Jude you’re going swimming at your new school next week.” If he sees it as a different type of community then he will settle in a lot more smoothly.
I really want to take this approach as I believe it’s more than a school as they have a completely different aura about them. As you walk around the buildings, a warm and loving affection embraces you like an inviting hug from a friend.
They truly care and this is entirely visible wherever you go.
He was so excited about visiting again, he asked if he can have lunch and dinner there and a sleep over. I’m not sure Jude thoroughly understands what is going on but by the time he goes swimming and embarks on his initial transition session, his room will be all set up and then he’ll realise that it’s all for him.
The next step is to initiate a transition meeting however we are still waiting for the council to send papers over to the school…no shocker there, right? But in the meantime we are focusing on decorating Jude’s fantastic room and getting it all ready for him. He has chosen wall colours and Elsa is picking some lovely photos to go on his wall so everyone is involved.
I have already spoken to the school briefly about settling in periods and feel quite strongly that Jude needs a short initiation as dragging things out never does him any good. His last school didn’t listen to me and insisted on literally a month of transition which just confused him so much, it was painful.
Fingers crossed that in a fortnight Jude will be starting his new adventure. I’m so so ready for this and now having seen his fantastic reaction to todays visit, I know it’s the right thing to do 🙂