So the first day of kinder has been and gone.
And we had a ball.
Once I’d got used to the idea that I would be staying there for the session, I actually felt really good about it, knowing it would be a good chance to see how the class operated. And I have to say that blogging about it, made a lot of difference to how I felt too. It’s one of the main reasons I decided to blog in the first place – to have a bit of an outlet. And well, it definitely helped this time around (as did the lovely comments I received, thanks!)
Back to the kinder room – well, there wasn’t any hokey pokey, but there was singing and dancing other songs, painting, water play (he told me he could hear the sea in a shell!), puzzles, play dough, pasting, home corner and outdoor play – all of which BC joined in with, very enthusiastically. I was particularly impressed with his painting – in fact, so impressed that had he been with a different assistant, I may have felt the need to remind them to let him do all of his own work and not help him too much ;-).
There were a few (expected) comments about his walker, but not many. As I predicted, most of the children were too busy playing and finding their own way around the kinder room to pay much attention to the others. So all in all, it was a success!
But, I am still not 100% happy with the way things worked out and I do still wish I’d been given a little more notice.
So, ever the ‘passionate advocate’ for my son (that’s posh speak for pushy parent ;-)), I decided to ring the funding body myself today to find out WHY there wasn’t an additional assistant as yet.
For the most part, I was satisfied that they had been overwhelmed with funding applications and they have just had trouble filling the places on time. I was satisfied too that enough time and effort was put into trying to avoid us being put in the situation that we were put in.
However, I was somewhat baffled by the supervisor’s insistence that I shouldn’t have had to go in myself. She seemed to think that it was a preposterous solution to the problem and that the kinder should have somehow found “someone else” – even though she couldn’t give me any idea about who this other person might be, other than suggesting an extra parent could be called in and the regular classroom assistant could assist BC….hhhmmm. When I told her that hardly seems like a fair solution to anyone in a brand new class of littlies, she joked ‘well, what is the assistant really doing anyway? Just putting out cups and wiping tables really’. Err….not exactly….
She also baulked at my (slightly) tongue-in-cheek suggestion that I should be paid for the hours that I spent there. Apparently, my time isn’t worth anything. Sigh!
And finally, right near the end of the call, when I was satisfied that if needed, we could pretty well get along and deal with any further problems with the ‘assistant issue’, she blew it. She made this comment “You should really consider the funding a bonus, and so should the kindergarten.”
Right. SO, apparently, (as I responded to her) I should consider it a ‘bonus’ that my son has the support so he can have the same access to the same education and the same experiences as other children?
Suddenly, I felt that this woman was in the wrong job.
I told her that she should really reconsider her wording when speaking to parents.
I wish I could emphasise that word ‘same’ a thousand times over. Not special, not extra, just the same education and experiences as others.
I am still not sure how I will face her if we have to speak again. I am just so baffled that a woman in a role such as hers could make such an ill informed and offensive statement.
I could (and may still!) write another whole post on how silly the funding system seems to work. Nothing happens all year until very late in September when applications for funding go in and then they don’t start seeking assistants until December when a) everyone’s going away for the summer b) the kinders are closed so even the teachers are aren’t for consultation and c) there’s only 6 weeks until the school year starts! Surely there’s a better way to do it???
To end on a positive note – because there were so many positives about the day (it’s the beauracracy that’s stuffed!), here’s a pic of my big boy right after his big first day.