which preschool?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Ktllc, May 27, 2011.

  1. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    :sigh:Ok, let's see if you guys can help me brainstorm and, hopefully, decide on what preschool would be best for difficult child.
    Last year, he was at a faith based preschool, never really complained about going but would just stay alone all day. I don't believe he learned anything there but they were VERY loving and caring. They though difficult child was the perfect little child!! At home, he was my little monster of course and, believe me, not withdrawn at all! lol
    Anyway, this year I've switched to our local Head Start for 2 reasons: my oldest son was there and learning so much! And, yes, Head Start is free for us.
    Well, this year is a different story: my oldest son has not learn a single thing despite trying to talk to the teacher. She said she would give him more appropriate work but never did (oldest son is a little ahead when it comes to academics and doing the alphabet over and over does get old for him...). On the other, difficult child stayed completly withdrawn for the first 7 months and the teacher had absolutly nothing to say about that. She admitted she had never seen that in a child (except a little girl who could not speak English). After a lot of talking with difficult child, he finally started talking with his classmates (first just one, then 2 and now I believe 5? or so) but he also exhibited unappropriate behaviors (hitting, annoying, pushing). Well, I never found out about those behaviors until the teacher filled out the questionnaire for the developmental pediatrician... you would think it's something I'd like to know?!
    Now, what do I do: put him back in his previous school that actually cares and talks with the parents? Let him stay at Head Start that does not really care but where his new friends are? As far as academics, I'm pretty convinced they can't help him at either school... I've talked to the school district and the Special Education. manager told me that she could schedule some intervention in his class (that's really good!).
    What would you do?
    ps: willing to pay if the faith based daycare was found to be better for him.
  2. keista

    keista New Member

    If the school district is offering the interventions no matter where you go, I would definitely go with the school that cares and communicates better.

    in my opinion The behavior/socialization aspects of learning are more important than the actual academics - especially at this young age.
  3. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I am a strong supporter of faith based learning. My children went to a very small faith based school. I am certain that my difficult child would not have gotten through his nightmare of a descend into the most severe anxiety had it not been for the staff at that school. However, you can find good and not so good staff anywhere you go. Often times it is a personality crash and those are hard to overcome. One would just hope that the discipline techniques and willing to work with the parents would be the same level at all faith based as it was at ours but no guarantee. Our school staff was willing to go the extra mile to work with each child on an individual needs basis. difficult child was not automatically "punished" but rather "guided" through the difficult days. I was involved every step of the way. I was told EVERYTHING (which broke my heart but I would not have been able to continue in guiding him at home if I was unaware of his behaviors at school)

    Anyway, the extra supports that kids get through the public schools can often times be extended to the private schools. These supports are for ALL children regardless of their place of schooling. I know several of the children at our school received supports through the public system with special teachers even coming to the school sometimes instead of figuring out how to get the child to them.

    That being said, not all private schools are set up to handle the extra supports, even if the public system could come to them. Each child's needs are different. The private school does not want to jeopordize the success of that support if they are unable to follow the guidelines for it.

    If you are leaning toward the faith based school, schedule a meeting with them to discuss your son's needs. If you know the specific helps the public school would extend, ask if they can accomodate them. If you don't know what services are available, ask the faith based school for their recommendations and what they have worked with in the past. (you can ask Head Start what they recommend as services before meeting with the faith based school)

    The meeting should show you to what extent that school can open their schedule to provide these supports to your child.

    Many times the faith based classes are smaller than the public classes and that in itself is HUGE!!!
  4. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    That's a difficult choice... go back to what seems to have been the better school for him or disrupt him when as you say he is beginning to be settled where he is. In your shoes, I guess I'd be tempted to play it out a bit longer, see how it continues to develop at the current place.
  5. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    I'd be inclined to go with the faith based + intervention.

    You should know that by federal law, in most states the school only is required to provide a bare minimum of services to children who are placed by a parent in a private school. Sometimes states or districts will go beyond the requirement but often it's mostly providing consultation with the teacher, and if it's services like speech or Occupational Therapist (OT) it's usually minimal.

    Has he been evaluated by the school district already?
  6. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    He has not been evaluated by the school. They will not test him until september. With school ending soon, they just won't do it. We are schedule to test him with his Doctor's team who strongly advised not to wait for the school system (which sounds wise). The Special Education manager told me that will accept the psychiatric evaluation done by his doctor. All I have to do is send them the file.
    I really lean toward the faith based school. Las night I asked difficult child where he would rather go (also explained That I just want to know his thoughts but Dad and I will make the decission). Well, he said he wants to stay where he's at... Of course the preschool will close for Summer and not the faith based one. So the alternative would be to sign in him soon and let him enjoy the summer there. He might not want to go back to Head Start in September. Argh! Why is it so hard to choose what's right? And of course, he not always very good about changing routines... I don't want to create a new problem. I might talk to his therapist next week, just to see what she has to say. You know the say "the road to hell is paved with good intentions" (good translation?), well that's how I feel right now.
  7. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Obviously you know that neither of these situations are ideal, so you will want to move on the school district evaluation ASAP, but for temporary placement I would favor the more loving environment where teacher's are engaged.

    Have you submitted a written response for an evaluation to the school district? A written response sets a legal timeframe in place that the district must comply with. They had no business putting him off until September--that is wrong, wrong, WRONG! They should have done the evaluation so services were in place by the time school started. Usually this is 60 days, but it does vary by state. Districts don't always like to tell you this because it's not convenient for them.

    FYI, the school doesn't just accept an outside report as the whole sum of the evaluation. They are required to take any reports you submit into consideration, plus do any other needed assessements and develop a plan accordingly. (For instance, social skills fall under the area of speech/language so a speech/language assessment should be done. ) Even if you have talked to the special education director by phone, go ahead and submit a letter requesting a full evaluation. I think there are some examples on the Special Education board here. Key here is to WRITE a letter and send it CERTIFIED MAIL requesting an evalution within the LEGAL TIMEFRAME MANDATED BY IDEA so that you have proof it was received.

    Did the Special Education director mention early intervention preschool? Often this is a very good route to go and is at no cost to the parent. Unless the needs are very minimal (ie 20 minutes of speech therapy a week) then districts usually offer the early intervention preschool instead of sending supports into a private preschool.

    If you have good insurance, I might also look into private evaluations for speech at least, and occupational therapy. When you have private evaluations done, don't sign to authorize reports to be sent to the school district. Review them first and hand deliver. You want to know what's inside to make sure it's appropriate before sending it to your child's school file.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I love faith-based schools. For a child with issues, however, I would wait to see w hat the school district comes up with after t he testing. They can offer good early interventions that can help your child all through his school days.

    Good luck, whatever you decide :)
  9. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    Hum... sounds like the Special Education was not as cooperative as I thought!
    I actually talked to her face to face when difficult child was been evaluated for preschool through the school district. But I was told that he had very few chances on being put into the pre-k since he was already in a five star program at Head Start. I explained my concerns and that since transition were not easy for him, pre-k would be better so he can get use to his environment before Kindergarten. They told me they understood, but they had to follow the rules of eligibility... Bunch of B.S??? Should I ask for something in written? But then, is it worth fighting and maybe stigmatizing difficult child...? I'm thinking he is still young, and hopefully therapy and accurate diagnosis will help him more then arguing with school system. I belive in the importance of school, but life is more than school... I don't know if I'm ready for the probably upcoming school battle.
  10. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    They do have to follow rules for eligibility but those rules are all based on the outcome of his assessments. The last I knew, eligibility has absolutely nothing to do with what program he's in now.

    Don't worry one minute about stigmatizing him. The earlier kids get needed therapies and interventions, the better for the child (and the better for the district as it causes them less in terms of dollars and disruption if delayed). Do put your request in writing directed to the director of Special Education, then they can't dance around about it, they will legally be required to follow through. Just so you know, it's not optional for the district to let this go, it's the law.

    I also wouldn't expect a battle--sometimes when the school discovers they are dealing with a parent who is clearly going to educate themselves vs. a parent who is just going to go along with what the district wants them to know, they shape up real fast. Writing a request will give them notice of that. Read up on Child Find:

    Personally if I were in your shoes and had insurance or can pay out of pocket, I would also pursue private evaluations while you're waiting for the district to get its act together. Reports and recommendations from reputable professionals can carry a lot of weight. FYI: Interaction with other students does fall under speech therapy so that would be a good route to pursue.
  11. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Hi! I'm not sure if these are in all States by the same name, but here in NYC we have "SEIT's". They are Special Education Itinerant Teachers that actually come to the preschool (whether private or not) to work with the child. The link I'm including gives a very clear breakdown of what they do functionally - while I don't know anything about the company, this is a service provided by the DOE.


  12. keista

    keista New Member

    Because we never know what that right thing is. Even far in the future we can look back and second guess ourselves. Focus on what you think is best at the moment. You are researching, your are exploring, and you are looking for the best possible outcome for your child. NO ONE can ask you to do more than that.
  13. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I was thinking about you today. You stated that you were not sure about placing J in the faith based school this summer because of his challenge with transitioning. You also state that Head Start is closing for the summer. So, J will need to do SOMETHING this summer (or are you a stay at home mom or have someone come into the home to watch him?). If you need to provide some sort of day care for the summer months, whatever you decide will also be a transition for him. If you really are leaning toward the faith based school, the summer months would be a good trial run. If it doesn't work out, you can also get him back into Head Start when it starts up again (still will be a transition period no matter what you do this summer).
  14. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    Thanks for all your imput everyone! I will be sending that sample letter from the archives so the school district gets my official request for him to be evaluated. At least it will get things rolling, even if things are at a stand still in summer time. I work from home, so indeed I need to have all 3 kids somewhere this summer. It won't be fulltime daycare, but the idea to just keep them and having to work with 3 little monkeys around: not exactly my idea of stress relief! lol
    husband and I talked about your ideas, our situation, etc and decided for the faith based preschool. Baby girl goes there already, so it will work out good. And I know they are very flexible when it comes to schedule changes which is great for us. Besides difficult child, I think it would help my stress level if I have that flexibility. A "zen" mom is a happier mom and then everybody is happier! right?? lol
  15. seriously

    seriously New Member

    If the school district found him ineligible for early intervention they must still hold a meeting that includes everyone who evaluated your child as part of the eligibility process. Not just the Special Education director.

    If they refused to evaluate your son for early intervention they should have issued a written denial (called "prior written notice") stating why they believe your child is NOT a child with a disability and therefore does not qualify for evaluation.

    Here are links to more specific information that will help you understand the early intervention process and the procedural safeguards (i.e. the rules the school district must follow or be subject to sanctions) that are intended to protect the rights of parents and children.



    Placement is a group of services that are determined by the child's needs. Not the other way around. So the fact that your child was currently in a Head Start preschool should not have been a reason for finding that he is not a child with a disability.

    If he was not found to be eligible, it certainly sounds like he should have been. At the minimum, the school district was required to issue a prior written notice saying why they wouldn't do an eligibillity evaluation. If they did an eligibility evaluation and didn't hold a team meeting to review the results then they have again violated IDEA regulations.

    As others have said, early intervention services are there because they are important. The more intervention that is done early in a child's life the more successful the child is likely to be in the future. Which also means he may need fewer interventions to be successful at school. It can make a huge difference in your child's long term success.

    It certainly sounds like the Special Education person was hoping you were ignorant and willing to buy her "he's in a good enough placement now" line even though YOU know that the placement is not helping your son progress as he should be doing.

    The letter you write will depend on where you were in the process when you were told he wasn't eligible. IDEA says that if a parent requests special education evaluation orally, it is the school district's responsibility to help the parent put the request in writing.

    New to IDEA 2004: if a child attends a private school or preschool located in a school district other than her home–address school district, the parent must write to request evaluation from the school district where the child's current school is located, even though the child will ultimately be served by her home district if she qualifies for services. So you need to be aware of whether the preschool you choose is in your home district or not.

    If you want more help with this, why don't you post in the Special Education forum?