Freetime 2.023 Apr 2006
Christopher is all set for a week of freetime, like he did last year with his Kindergarten group, ages 4 to 6. They'll again be at St. Peter Ording on the North Sea for 4 nights away from their parents. Since he's done this before, he's not apprehensive about it at all, and is almost looking forward to it.
A trip like this is not a normal part of German kindergarten, but Christopher does not attend a normal kindergarten. Lisa at An American in Aachen has posted about her son's poor experience with German special education in "Kids who fall through the (canyon-sized) cracks...". Our experience has been extremely positive, although there are some major differences in our situation. For one thing we are dealing with a charity-run kindergarten and not a public school. It's run by the local chapter of Lebenshilfe, a very fine organization that primarily helps the "intellectually disabled" and their families. For another, we live in a fairly well-off suburban/rural county with more resources to devote to education than a typical city. And finally, Christopher was offered specific therapy for his speech problems, and in fact the state of Lower Saxony has made a priority of pre-school speech. Lisa's son suffers from dyslexia, and it sounds like Aachen has nothing specific to offer him other than the Sonderschule.
But now our adventure with the German school system is about to begin. As I mentioned before, our local Sonderschule has determined that Christopher belongs in a regular school. Everything we have heard about our local elementary school has been very good, and our initial contacts have been positive, and they seem to be willing to work with us and with Christopher. We'll find out soon enough. Einschuling, the celebration of the first day of school, is on 2 September.