For the past two summers, Ellie has attended a private preschool during the summer. Each summer I have watched her thrive socially. She loved this place. I loved this place. I thought that they loved her.
This past week, I contacted the preschool to get her enrolled for the upcoming summer. They politely refused to take her back this year. I am devastated. I feel defeated. I feel as though everything has been an upward battle.
Their reasoning: they are not able to provide they type of supervision that she needs. They are not equipped to handle special needs. Why the sudden change? Ellie started this school before she turned two. She has always been placed in a slightly younger class to account for her developmental age rather than chronological age. This year, she would be 4.5 years-old. She would be placed with the 3yo group. The 3 yo group has a much larger student-to-teacher ratio and the rooms contain toys with smaller parts. The owner and teacher recalled how much Ellie loved to put stuff in her mouth. How much she chews on the crayons and paint brushes. They refused to listen to me when I told them that she has greatly improved with the sensory oral seeking behaviors in the last 5 months. That's right, it has been 5 months since they have seen her. They have not seen how far she has come. How much she has changed. How she STOPPED mouthing objects. Yes, I understand their reasoning. They are worried that she will choke in a classroom with less 1:1 care and with smaller items. I understand that. Yet, I am sad. Part of me thinks that they just "don't want to deal with it" and the mouthing is their excuse. Denied.
Ellie's teacher is trying to get Ellie approved for ESY (extended school year). This is both a good thing and yet a not-so-great thing. Yes, I think it is good that she can get services over the summer and yet, it is only 2 hours a day, 5-6 weeks out of the entire summer. There isn't a strong routine and again she would miss out on spending time with typical peers. It is a viable option if we are not able to find her a more traditional preschool setting for the summer.
Currently, I have found two preschools that provide classes over the summer that would like to have Ellie in their 3-4 yo class. I have appointments to tour each facility next week so that I can see if one of them is a good fit for her. They both have their good points and bad points. One is significantly cheaper with a larger student:teacher ratio, while the other one is pricier, has less students per teacher, but has a long waiting list.
I am hoping to have something lined up for her this spring. Ellie needs some type of program to keep her active, engaged with other children, and to help reduce her risk for regression.