Raiyan is starting Year 2 (!!) in a few days time and similar to what we did last year, with it being a whole new classroom and a new teacher, we brought him round to school about a week earlier to do an advanced going around to familiarise himself with his new surroundings.
As some of you may remember, Raiyan's start to Year 1 last year did not run smoothly. Though the change in environment he already accepted because we had already done the early rounds, he was still disturbed by the change in timetable, change in classmates and most of all the change in "rules". For example, in Reception (the year before Year 1), he had to take his shoes off outside the class and also when he's about to go into the sandpit but somehow for Year 1, he didn't have to! There were also different rules about going to the toilet along with so many others that you can't help but just put down to some of the teachers' individual preferences. So to put a long story short, the rocky start to Raiyan's Year 1 really struck a chord with all of us caregivers and therapists that we are trying very hard to not let it happen again.
So we've brought him round to school twice already. the first time was just to know where his new class was, to take a look around the inside of his new class and also to meet his lovely new teacher for Year 2. We are especially grateful to the school for allowing Raiyan to do this and especially to Mrs R, the teacher for taking the time out of a very busy schedule I'm sure, to spend some time with Raiyan in the class. The second time, Kerri advised we take him in wearing his school uniform complete with his school bag and snack bag and this time, we even sat down to have a snack (which incidentally IS different as in Year 1, they had their snacks outside the class but now in Year 2, they eat inside!).
We are so happy to report that Raiyan was fantastic with all the change. He has really come to a point now that as long as we warn him earlier of what is coming, he really takes in changes and new environments in stride. Of course it is admittedly an added effort on our part to every time have a long drawn talk with him before we leave the house to say EXACTLY where we are going to go (and also repeating it again and again every time he asks along the way in the car! WHICH, if he sees us using a different route than he's used to, he will INCESSANTLY do until he's really convinced we are going to the same place!).
Mrs R has been really excellent so far as well and already we can see how well she is able to converse with him and she is quickly catching on stuff we have to constantly work on with Raiyan which is, keeping his voice low, not interrupting people when they are talking, looking in the eye of the person he is talking to and sharing his toys. Because we have been consistently encouraging all of this at home, it's really vital that it be the same in school too.
So school starts this Wednesday and we are taking him to school one more time on Tuesday like how we did this week. All of us are still awfully nervous though we are feeling slightly more positive after the good early runs so far...
Wish Raiyan lots and lots of luck! Will keep you all posted!!