Jack started school nursery in January, and attends five mornings a week.
We were very pleased he got a place as a rising three, although it was a tough decision whether to use his fifteen free hours at school or at his nursery as the staff have been fantastic and so supportive.
About a month before starting school a couple of his teachers came to our house to meet him and introduce themselves. I think this is standard for all new starters, but it was good to have the opportunity to ask questions and explain about Jack’s eyes and vision. The lady from the Sunderland Vision Impairment team also visited Jack at our house, and then the school to share his progress.
The main advice we’ve received is it’s important for him to be treated the same as the other children, and not to feel different or that he stands out – and see how he gets on. That being said, the school are taking his condition seriously and asked us to sign a slip to say they could add him to their SEN (Special Education Needs) register.
Each term, the school hold a coffee mornings for parents where I’ve gone to the classroom with Jack for two hours, and had the opportunity to speak to the teachers. Jack loved showing me around – especially the CD player and kitchen which he likes the best. The teachers have said Jack is quite shy, and doesn’t talk very much, but on the whole he is settling well. Jack has had hearing tests to rule out deafness, and at a recent Health Visitor check she advised she’s happy with his speech progress. He is certainly not shy at home with his brothers!
We’ve had a few problems with Jack saying he doesn’t want to go to school and being clingy at the door (which we never had when he was at nursery – he always ran in without looking back), and testing barriers on the way to and from school – sometimes it’s taken over an hour to walk the short walk. However, on other days he quite happily runs alongside the double buggy and says he’s had fun – he especially likes telling me all about his packed lunch!
One other thing we’ve noticed is that whilst walking to and from school (and walking in general), Jack seems to trip regularly compared to his brother Isaac (now two). He seems to manage well with kerbs and steps, but the paths we use are uneven in places where tree roots are growing under them. Jack does tend to run rather than walk so perhaps it’s just a case of needing to slow down, or learning and remembering where the bumpy bits are!