Last night, the Malden public school system hosted a free reading event for incoming kindergarteners. I brought Christopher and was excited to see how he acted around so many other kids in a controlled, school environment. Now that I have him on the amended diet, I was hoping he'd make it through without any problems.
I'm happy to report that although after an hour of some really intensive sitting and learning, he was definitely fidgety and touchy and distracted and pretty bored...but not overly disruptive. It's a start.
The event hosted about 50 Malden Kindergarteners and their families. I'd say there are about 300 Kinderarteners going to Malden Public Schools next month so I don't know if that's a great turnout or what but I was impressed that the school system is so motivated to teach our kids.
Malden is a Title I school system, meaning they take Federal money because there is a high percentage of low-income children in our town. The money is supposed to go towards funding programs to assist kids with keeping up with the strict academic standards the state requires. There have been several events over the course of the summer but this is the first one I've brought Christopher to, mainly because he's usually so tired in the evening that I didn't think he'd be able to handle all the sitting. It was a bit bumpy at times but he did well last night though.
The event started off with the Literacy Coordinator from the Ferryway School reading a book to the kids. Then after it was over she asked them questions about the book to spur on their critical thinking. With the first book, she asked questions like, "what would you have done differently" And "how do you think he was feeling when that happened"?
After a second book, the coordinator used four index cards which showed different events that occurred in the book and the kids had to put into order each event on the cards. Kids had to raise their hands and wait their turn to speak, which they clearly weren't used to yet. There was a lot of re-directing but they were all total super cute champs and I was impressed with the program.
During the second half, I will say Christopher did start to act out a bit. This was a full hour into a lot of sitting and boring thinking stuff and he just wanted to know when we were going to get pizza. But as bored as he was, he still wasn't terribly disruptive, although I did have to tell him to be quiet a few times and threaten to take away the Kindle that evening.
When it was all over, the kids got to play on the playground and Christopher had a great time running around with two kids named Rihannon and TJ. I was thrilled because although I needed to watch him, I didn't need to keep on him like a hawk. He played so nicely with the other kids. There was no hitting or biting! He did push a little bit but with some redirection, he stopped. This was huge. After a long day (this was now 7:00 at night) he'd usually melt down and have lots of trouble controlling himself but he was overall pretty great.
Something Christopher has got going for him is that he's a really smart kid and a good education will serve him well. Christopher may have had a lot of early childhood horrible stuff to overcome but now that he's in a loving stable home with lots of firm guidance, he will (hopefully) thrive in school.
I always tell Christopher that he could be president of the United States someday if he wants to be because he's definitely smart enough. He of course tells me that he'd rather be a race car driver or an astronaut and hey, that's fine too. It's good to have options.