The adventures of a born-and-raised-in-Michigan girl (OK, woman) who's moved to Bavaria with her husband, kids, and dog.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Kindergarten Update

We are moving forward with Nicholas' switch to the HPT (socially therapeutic) Kindergarten, across town. We met with the Principal last week to begin the registration process. Because the city will be funding his attendance (recall that it is thousand$, plural, a month to attend), we have to jump through a bunch of bureaucratic hoops first, including a medical exam by someone at the German Dept. of Public Health.

But no complaints, in the end, the "money letter" that will be issued by the city will be worth the wait. We anticipate he will start in November or December, perhaps January at the latest (whenever the letter is issued). The new group forming is indeed limited to eight children, and will have two teachers. A great ratio for intensive German immersion, the teachers will work one-on-one with him and the other children to facilitate the interaction.

From the kids' perspective, it's all open-ended play time, but they are actually pretty structured. First, it is an all-day program (8:15 to 4:00) as it is considered to be intensive therapy, and there are no half-places in the program. So a big change for him there. Second, there is a continuous evaluation approach, so if it is 11:00 on Tuesday, you know that half of Group C is in the pool with the physical therapists and one teacher, and the other half is with the other teacher painting (or with the speech therapists, etc.). Even for the "free time" periods, they guide the child to play in such a way as to strengthen their weak areas (for Nicholas this would be language skills, I assume).

The initial feeling by the Principal and evaluation team is that Nicholas will not need to be there the full three years (ages 3 through 5) of Kindergarten, but probably something like a year to 18 months instead... as his issues are temporary in nature (he has no permanent developmental setback, etc.). So that is good news -- he will be able to return to our local Kindergarten for at least a year before starting school (age 6, i.e. 1st grade) and can make some friends closer to home.

They do a very detailed evaluation annually, which will occur upon enrollment. From there it is the continuous evaluation approach by all disciplines on the team, with lots of parental communication (we are required to meet with the teachers/team a minimum of every six weeks, preferably more frequently).

At this point, we know that his file is in the hands of the German Dept. of Public Health, so hopefully someday soon we'll get a letter with our appointment date and time.

So now we wait for the mail to arrive. And focus on getting ready for the fall holidays...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was great to hear the update. Hopefully, you will hear quickly about the letter of acceptance.

Uncle Peter and Aunt Regina

5:20 PM


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