Lennie's school day.

My son Lennie loves going to school! It was hard to imagine saying that a couple of years ago, when he was younger and we were getting our heads around his diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy -  but Paces school has enabled us all to feel that way. There was a time when I couldn't imagine ever finding a setting which would be right for my precious boy, but Lennie has been coming to Paces since he was 18 months old,  first through the outreach service, then nursery and now school.

I used to take him myself everyday before our Local Authority provided transport but now he goes in a taxi everyday with another little boy who lives locally.  Every weekday morning we have the same routine as Lennie feels safer and less anxious when he knows what's about to happen: he wakes up ridiculously early and I remind him that its a school day and that later he will be going to school in the taxi. We have breakfast - current favourite is croissants and mango- , play with that mornings favourite toy and then watch TV for 20 minutes before the transport arrives. When I take him to the taxi, he says " bye mumma, see you later, have a good day! " 

When he arrives at school he is supported by the amazing staff to take his coat off independently. This is something that he finds a little tricky due to his cerebral palsy but every day he's getting that bit closer to achieving this goal.   There are 8 children in the class and 4 staff members. This high ratio is fantastic and I feel so confident that Lennie is being both cared for and supported all day.

Next comes the introduction to the day where the children sit together and wish each other good morning. They sing a lovely good morning song. Lennie often sings this to me at home. 

The lying programme comes next and focuses on a series of movements which  can then be used in everyday task's. Each movement will eventually help Lennie to be more independent in eating, drinking, sitting, standing, writing etc. when he comes home he shows me these movements and repeats the teacher's language. He especially likes to say " Well done Lennie!" at the end. 

Snack time arrives next, one of Lennie's favourite times of the day. The children are encouraged to eat and sit as independently as possible. its amazing the progress that he has made in this area, staggering in fact. 

Every afternoon there is a focus on different parts of the curriculum and each child has personal targets depending on their individual needs and ability. One of Lennie's strengths is numbers and counting and he loves to engage in these lessons. He is learning to expand his attention and concentration which has been tricky for him but slowly with the individualised targets and support, he is doing great.  The rest of the day may involve a nature walk, trip to the local swimming pool or art and craft. All linked to the curriculum, all with independence at the heart and all tailored to individual children's needs. It's so nice to know that Paces school is determined to expand the children's exposure and experience of their world. 

Lennie comes home about 3:45. He is hungry and tired- not unlike any typical child after a day at school. After a snack, he may tell me bits about his day and he may not. Depends how he feels. Luckily, the staff always write about his day in his notebook and I can also pass in information that way too.  I feel lucky that Lennie can access Paces school, not just because it's a conductive education school - of which there are only a handful-  but also because it is the most wonderfully supportive experience for parents too.

The feeling that my child is in an environment which understands , supports and believes in him reaching his potential is priceless. Lennie has faced and will continue to face many challenges in life, but Paces school is intrinsic in dealing with these and I'm so grateful for it's presence in our lives.