I have been having big time anxiety about my daughter starting a new school next year for middle school. She had a very rough beginning when she started at her current school and I was afraid there would be a repeat situation.
Yesterday we went to visit her new classroom. It was like when Norm walked into the Cheers bar: excited yells of former classmates and old friends going “Lillyyyy!”. Lots of hugs and jumping up and down. Two of the girls took her hands and gave her a tour while I chatted with her soon-to-be teacher, who is awesome!
She even got to surprise one of her BFF’s from last year who arrived after we got there. And we also found out her BFF from this year will be in her class next year as well.
There are some things we will do to help her prepare for the new school year. Even though she has already seen the classroom, there will be new routines and expectations that the teacher briefly went over. I was so thankful for this information because the more we know ahead of time, the better.
I am going to make up some social stories for her incorporating some of the new issues that may come up. Some that I am anticipating are:
They don’t have a playground at recess. As it is a middle school area of a K-8 school, they have a blacktop, courtyard type area where the kids hang out and eat.
They don’t have an Occupational Therapy room at the new school. This is a biggie since the OT room is her favorite place at school. They are looking into getting her an exercise ball to use if she gets agitated since bouncing seems to help her calm down the most.
Weekly goals. She will have to meet weekly academic goals to earn prizes. If she doesn’t, that would be a huge trigger for her. The good thing is that she will be working towards those goals by practicing at home so we will be able to gauge if she will meet the goal or not; if it may be too challenging before the end of the week, and tweak the goals if we need to with her teacher.
There are many more situations that will probably arise, but we will meet them as they come. I’m sure we will have a few hiccups as she settles into her new routine, but overall I feel like a huge weight has been lifted. Looking forward to seeing her start this next chapter and watching her grow.