On Thursday and Friday, S had two more school orientation sessions.
Thursday was Sport.
S was fantastic. He tried to do everything that the teacher asked them to do.
TRIED being the important word here. He tried and tried, but not surprisingly, there were lots of things that he just couldn’t do.
Mid way through the session, he said to me, close to tears: ‘mum, I can’t get my beanbag to go UP like the other kids’.
He so wanted to do it.
On the definite down side, there wasn’t much of an effort made by the teacher to provide alternative instructions for kids who might not have been quite as agile as some of the others. It wouldn’t have taken much to make S feel better about what he couldn’t do. Just something simple like: ‘Instead of throwing your beanbag in the air, you can hold it above your head and count to 5′. Or anything really. Just another option.
It would have made a big difference for S.
He likes to do well. He likes to make teachers, therapists etc happy. He likes to get praised, as all kids do.
But for this hour, there was just a lot of other kids doing things better, faster and easier than he was. I know what an effort he made. He tried his guts out. But he just couldn’t do all the things the other kids could. Of course not. He has a body that won’t always cooperate.
I was so proud of him for making such a colossal effort. It was more than I used to do in sport lessons. As soon as there was something I couldn’t do very well, I’d fake a sore ankle and sit it out. Seriously. He’s 10 times the sports student I’ll ever be!
And I do think part of him really enjoyed it.
But I also think it was rather confronting for him that the other kids could just do it all so much easier than he could.
He was rather emotional afterwards. I asked him if it was because of something that happened during the sport session. He told me it wasn’t. He said he was just tired.
But I know it was.
I think my little boy felt somewhat overwhelmed.
We went back to our cafe after the session for a milkshake, biscuit and coffee. Even that didn’t raise his spirits much. He told me he didn’t want to go to the school session the next day. He said he didn’t want to miss kinder.
His passion for school simply could NOT evaporate this early on!!!
I talked to him about how all kids are good at different things. How he could ride a horse, which I bet lots of the other kids had never done. I talked up lots of the other things he can do. How proud I was of him trying everything. And how we could practice if he liked.
But he was still downbeat.
On the upside, the teacher who took the session doesn’t usually take prep sport. The regular teacher is on long service leave this term. Apparently, he’s fabulous. And the deputy principal also flagged a trial they are running this year with a smaller group of kids doing a modified sport session.
But I can see it’s something we will need to keep a close eye on. I want sport to be something he really enjoys and makes him feel good about himself. It’s important the school can look outside the square.
The next morning he was still not looking forward to the school visit, which was an actual in-class session with just two other kinder kids joining the current prep class. He actually CRIED when I got him dressed.
He still said it had nothing to do with the sport session the day before. But I know my boy. Maybe he didn’t even realise it himself.
I tossed up the idea of not going for about a minute, but I was so sure he’d enjoy being in the classroom so much that it would be the best way to counter how he was feeling.
AND it was (thank goodness!)
We spent a lovely hour and a quarter in the prep class. The teacher read a book, they talked about their favourite food, they did some drawings, they had popcorn! Most importantly, the prep kids were warm and welcoming. They helped S get paper, choose pencils, write his name etc etc.
He loved every minute of it.
And yep, back in the cafe again, there was laughter and happiness. And most importantly a renewed enthusiasm for school as he told me he couldn’t wait to go to school again – but added that maybe he just wouldn’t do sport again.
Not until next year. And we’ll have it sorted by then!