Preschool Open House – Pookie

by beagooddad on October 2, 2006

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We have gone to two preschool open houses over the last couple weeks. Since the kids go to different schools, they were very different events.

Pookie’s open house was for parents only. Since Pookie’s class is for special education, I think they expect parents to have a lot more questions. The teacher showed us the routine they use on a normal day and we got to see first hand some of the tricks they use to help the kids learn to transition to different parts of the day and to keep track of where they are in the grand scheme of the day.

Everything is super highly visual since most of the kids in the program are very visual learners.

We learned that Pookie does fine asking to go to the first play area during the open play portion of the day, and even the second play area, but after that he just wants to be able to go where ever he wants.

We also started talking with the teacher about some of the visual clue cards we have been putting around the house. The teacher seemed thrilled that we were trying to use a similar system to what they use in the class, but gave some pretty significant change suggestions.

Instead of having cards relevant to the area where we put them, the teacher wants us to use a big 3 ring binder with all of the picture cards in it. The pages and cards are color coded. So far we have red for toys and green for food. It is kind of a portable dictionary for Pookie.
He is getting really good at doing some basic replying when we ask him questions and provide a simple “I…” or “I want…” prompt without using the cards. The teacher wants us to focus on the cards even when he can answer without it. Using the cards helps establish eye contact because he has to hand the cards to us and then say what he wants after we take possession of the cards.

It also helps him build his ideas without a prompt. He goes flipping through the book, finds what he wants, sticks it to his sentence strip and then has to find us and give us the strip. He’s becoming a much more independent speaker.

Another thing that I’ve noticed is he does seem more proud when he tells us something using the strips. Maybe it is because he knows that it is really his idea instead of just paroting something we are saying.

There are a few places around the house where we are supposed to stage the picture cards, though. They are places where he is supposed to learn a script. Things like washing his hands, going to the bathroom, and getting ready for bed. Anywhere he needs to learn a sequence of steps.
We recently put up the cards above the sink for washing his hands and above the toilet for going to the bathroom. As he does each step he points at it and says what he is supposed to do. He is getting very good at working through each script. He only does the toilet one after the diaper is dirty, but we are hoping that the routine will became natural for him and when he is ready to potty train, he will at least know how it is supposed to work. Plus, as he learns the routine, it might inspire him to want to go on his own.

Since this post just became very long, I’ll do a separate one for Geetle’s Open House sometime soon.

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