While aftercare programs must take children registered to their home pre-schools, they usually do not accept a child registered elsewhere, especially if he’s in special education. Last year, when I realized that Matan needed more social contact than the 8 children in his special education class, I contacted the program near us, but they kept putting me off. I got the sense that the fact that he was in special ed worried them. They told me that I would first need to get one of their pre-school teachers to agree to accept him. I did so, but then she was laid off and I was left with no where to turn. Fortunately, the fabulous people at Ponti’s, see earlier post, accepted him, and he’s spent a very productive year in an after care program with regular children where he eats lunch, and then spends the rest of the afternoon in various kindergarten-level activities. We were lucky to get a fantastic teacher who adores him and helped ease him into the class of children a year older than he is.
This year his special ed program is moving to yet another neighborhood with a longer drive, and I really wanted to get him into a local aftercare program so that he would remain friends with kids in the neighborhood, and because it makes it much easier on me since I don’t have to drive through rush hour traffic to pick him up. The preschool near us is a short walk through a quiet park, about a block total. Getting him accepted became my main mission for July.
Two years ago, when Karen was in kindergarten, one of the teachers told me she would love to have Matan in her class. But I had no personal relationship with her, nor did I have her personal number. I made several failed attempts to find her at pre-school, but apparently they had moved temporarily due to renovations and I couldn’t locate her.
Last week, I set out to find her, and this morning I finally managed to catch up with her in person. As soon as she remembered who I was, and both my children, she said she would be thrilled to have Matan. I started telling her how he had already been in regular aftercare, and how well that was going. She didn’t ask any questions, just sat down and signed a form I needed from her to get Matan in. Walking out I felt ready to break out in some sort of Sound of Music tune. This means that in addition to aftercare, he will also have a place to spend his days during the long breaks for Rosh HaShana (3 weeks off school) and Pesach (another 3 weeks). Plus once we get him approved for integration into a regular class twice a week, we’ll have a better chance of getting this same teacher, which would be amazing…and convenient!