If I'm like this for preschool, how the heck will I survive college?!
We've been looking in to some more preschools for Ryan. There's one nearby that is actually on a petting farm and taking care of the animals is a part of the curriculum. Ryan would LOVE that. But it's also probably more expensive than our mortgage payment each month. I emailed the school to ask about prices.
There's one that's a little less expensive, but still rivals the cost of some car payments. The one thing I really like about this one is that it's partnered with a special needs program so that there are both typical kids and kids with special needs in the class. What a great concept! It's part of a local university and I love that our future teachers are being trained to expect inclusion.
I thought of something that made me sad though. I'm pretty sure that before we had Lauren I would have not chosen this school specifically because of the partnership with the special needs program. I probably would've not wanted Ryan to be in a class with kids with special needs. I would've thought he wouldn't benefit. What could he learn from them? How sad and closed minded.
Them. Like people with special needs are such a different class of people. I am so incredibly sad to admit that I think I felt that way a little bit. Sure, I knew of people with special needs. But they were the kind of people I would avoid eye contact with in order to ensure I didn't have to engage in conversation. How uncomfortable would it be if I couldn't understand the person? What would I ever talk to them about? Someday someone will feel that way about my daughter and that breaks my heart.
I want Ryan to be in an inclusive class. I emailed the petting farm school to ask if they have any kids with special needs enrolled. Why? Because he has so much to learn from everybody. All people do things differently. Kids with special needs adapt and learn new and inventive ways to accomplish things that might be easy for somebody else. How amazing would it be for Ryan to learn those kinds of things? I want him to see that people that are different from him are equals and opportunities to develop great friendship- whether different in physical ability, cognitive ability, skin color or personality.
I'm excited to be looking at preschools for Ryan and I hope that we find an amazing preschool. But I'm realizing it has to be a school where Lauren would be welcomed with open arms when the time comes, or I just won't be comfortable sending Ryan.