Snugglebug's new class is three days a week in the morning. We missed the first day due to a doctor's appointment, so we started on day 2 of their week.
I stuck around on the first day to observe the class and students to make sure it would be a good fit. I had not had an opportunity to do this prior to his start date because our ARD was so close to his third birthday.
Snugglebug's anxiety of new situations is higher than the average three-year old. So, staying behind on the first day had another purpose...to help him ease into things. We've been working on various techniques to help him deal with his anxiety, and I was able to show the teacher our techniques throughout the morning.
Our first technique is nothing unusual. We let Tigger, Snugglebug's best bud, go to school with him. Tigger has the great ability to break the ice and test things out for Snugglebug. Tigger's not afraid of anything. He'll jump out and try new things where Snugglebug would never dream of it. Oftentimes, Tigger can show Snugglebug just how much fun a task can be and get him to try it. Stuffed animals are just magical that way.
Our other device is the use of a microfiber cloth (the kind used to clean eye glasses). Snugglebug will become so anxious that he will actually bite and chew his fingers till they bleed. The cloth gives him an outlet for his anxiety, something similar to a worry stone, and keeps him from chewing on his fingers.
While Snugglebug was extremely anxious, the other kids were glad to see him and welcomed him with open arms, inviting him to sit next to them and even offering their chairs. It was so wonderful to see the other kids so accepting. He never said a word but automatically had new friends.
He was timid at first and didn't want to participate, but as the morning wore on he became more and more interested in the tasks at hand. Less than an hour into the class, he was giving the teacher high-fives for participating. It was at this point that I started to cry. I explained to the teacher how rare it is for him to give a high-five on the first day and that we have good friends who still don't get a high-five. It was a huge step!! I knew at that moment that he would be just fine! He was going to love his new class, his new teacher, and the other students.
I wasn't wrong!! The next morning I told Snugglebug that he had school today. On any normal day, it is a battle to get him dressed and out the door, but on day 2 of school, he was more than willing to get ready. In fact, we were ready 15 minutes early. We ended up just sitting in the school parking lot waiting for them to open the doors.
On day 2, I walked him to his classroom, where he walked right in and made himself at home. We said goodbye at the door, and I headed to the office to fill out mounds of enrollment paperwork. He never whimpered or cried. He never wondered where I was. He had a great day! His teacher even video taped him dancing with the other kids. He had a blast! Day 2 was a huge success!!