Last week I started my visits to our area preschools to prepare for the very real possibility that we will not be returning to Christian's current school. In addition to the anxiety surrounding that whole situation, I also have mixed feelings. Some may say that looking at Christian's test scores, that he's completely ready. Yes, he may be ready, but finding schools with the facilities and programs that can help him continue on this path is very challenging. Christian's school gives Christian all the tools he needs to succeed, with a program that is designed to maximize his strengths. It's going to be very hard to leave, especially when I know that the more time he does spend there, the more prepared he will be to enter Kindergarten in our neighborhood school.
When researching schools, I've been looking for a program that will provide structure and help Christian with transitions. I'm looking for programs that are at least 4 days, and that have a class size of 14 or smaller. Of course, I'm also looking for programs that are housed in facilities that are conducive to learning with a hearing loss, or at least with teachers who can help Christian work with the acoustics that are there. I also have been looking at programs that are close to our home, and where many of his neighborhood friends (and our family friends) have sent their children. And, one of the biggest factors when researching programs is the cost. The primary reason we are even looking at schools is the cost of Christian's current school. We just can't continue to pay over 1,500 a month for his schooling. We have to look at our family as whole, and the stress of this immense financial responsibility is just overwhelming. Our family has suffered, as well as our marriage. Unless we receive another grant, we won't be able to attend next year.
After a couple of dud visits, I visited a program that many of our dear family friends have sent their children to. It is just about 10 minutes from our house. While it only has a 3 day program for 3s (Christian will be placed in a 3s classroom next fall thanks to his February birthday), the class sizes are perfect and I was so impressed with the classrooms. Most of all, I was impressed with the school's willingness to work with Christian. They were very open to some of my concerns, like pre-teaching Christian in the morning, preferential seating, and even modifying the classroom to help with background noise. I know that school is home to good families, and I know that the teachers will do their best to help Christian succeed. It really does seem like a good option. I just need to find a supplemental program for perhaps on a Tuesday or Thursday (or maybe both) that can compliment this school.
I have one additional school that we are looking at that I would like to visit. My goal is to have a program identified as soon as possible. We probably won't know about grants or more financial aid at Christian's current school until January.