It's amazing how fast the year goes. It only seems like a few months ago that Jalen started grade 3. This afternoon Jalen gets home from school and asked me if we were going to the School Presentation Evening. I hadn't planned on it as I knew he wasn't in the choir this year (grade 3 boys and choir just don't mix unfortunately - I would've loved Jay to do choir this year, but as soon as his friends weren't doing it, he decided he wasn't going to either), so I wasn't planning on going.
He begged and begged me to go, so I left Aaron with the other three boys to get into bed, and took Jay to the presentation evening. I was really glad we went as the Principal has been there for 6 years and is retiring at the end of this year. The school is an excellent school and one of it's main strengths is with behavior management, and a lot of it is to do with the Principal that they have. The school is also very well known as being a great school for including kids with disabilities and a lot of that is because of the way that they have dealt with having Noah at the school. Many schools would really try to avoid having a child like Noah at the school, but they have been so fantastic in trying to include him and to make his school experience the best that it can be.
The Principal and I often talk about how it's been so successful because of the relationship that we have with the school. Some parents with special needs kids go 'gung ho' into getting what they want for their child without realising how hard it is for the school as well. Because we try to help out the school, then they are very willing to help us out as well.
When Noah first started there they not only got everything physically ready for him - e.g. ramps, disabled toilet, change bed, hoists etc. but they also made the students aware of Noah and his needs and that was the best thing they could've done, because the students have been so great with him.
Paul (the Principal) told me a couple of months ago that having Noah at the school has been such a great thing for the school. He was telling me that he had a bunch of grade 6 boys that he was 'giving a talking to'. He said that they were a bunch of 'boof heads' and he was telling them off and had Noah with him as he was on lunch time duty with him at the time. He said while he is telling these 'boof heads' off, they were there rubbing Noah's hands and head and it made him so glad to see how Noah has affected all the kids at school including the 'boof heads'.
There have been times when Noah hasn't been able to go to school because of different reasons, and it has been hard, but I realise that it isn't the school's fault and it is often out of their hands. Some parents would go straight to the department, media or the politicians and kick up a big stink, but I don't believe that is the best thing for Noah. I don't want the school or anywhere to resent having Noah there, because I'm always there having a go at them. Aaron is dealing with a family like that at his school and it makes it so much worse for the student. When I used to teach I taught 5 kids with special needs (in a mainstream class). I dealt with both types of families and I know how much better it is for the student and everyone involved when the family and school works together, to make the school experience a positive one.
The goverment of course have this great 'inclusion policy', but it doesn't mean anything if there isn't enough funds or people trained out there to make it work. I could go on all day about it, but alas - I have wandered off the original topic of this post which was going to just be 'Jay and I went to the school presentation evening'!
Anyway - we went to the presentation evening and I was so glad I did as they had a special tribute to Paul the Principal as he is retiring. One child from each class was chosen to illustrate a page for a book all about him. It was awesome! A grade 6 girl read the book and each child that illustrated a page stood next to their page as it was being red. Paul is well known for his ties, and especially one that he wears a lot. The staff got their hands on it and scanned it and it featured throughout the book which was called 'Once Upon A Tie'. It was all about the 'Prince - apal' and his Kingdom which was Punchbowl Primary School and his Princesses (his daughters) and his Queen (his wife). One of his daughters is a nurse on 4K (the kids ward at the hospital) and was there. I went to say hi and she said she was bawling the whole time. It was very special and Paul loved it.
Jay has had the best year at school. He has absolutely loved his teacher - Ms Bonde and all the kids in his class are really lovely. She has done some great things with them and he can't get to school fast enough. She is leaving this year after 10 years at Punchbowl, so everyone is very sad. She is really one of the best teachers you could ever find and Riverside Primary are very lucky to be getting her next year. We asked her for a photo tonight and I said 'we need a photo of Jay with his favourite teacher' and she said 'his favourite teacher for 2008'.
Hopefully next year will be as good for Jay. Harri got his letter yesterday to say which days he is going to Kinder next year and who his teacher is and he was so excited! As soon as Aaron and Jay got home he had to tell them. It's amazing to think I will have THREE boys at school next year!