Last week, winter holidays ended and Kirby returned to school: his "old" school at the Human Development Laboratory at the University of Houston. Kirby's short stint in pre-K at Woodrow Wilson Elementary simply didn't work out the way we had intended, and right before the holidays we dis-enrolled him from that school.
When we succeeded in getting Kirby into what we understood to be a good inside-the-loop public school last summer, Lori and I felt happy and relieved, because we felt we had resolved what is always a heady issue for inner-city parents. Unfortunately, over the course of the ensuing months it became clear that Wilson simply wasn't the place for him.
For one thing, not every child is a good candidate for a Montessori-type classroom environment. Kirby simply needs more structure than that style of preschool education provides. Moreover, the school was, for whatever reason, never able to effectively provide Kirby with the special education services (Kirby needs help with his communication skills) that were promised for him when he was enrolled. Finally, it was clear to us that Kirby, for whatever reason, simply didn't like his new school. On several occasions, he would throw temper tantrums when Lori and I took him to class in the morning, and in the evenings he would oftentimes be clingy or irritable.
The learning environment at the Lab School is more structured and the class sizes are smaller there, which means Kirby will get more of the attention he needs. After a week and a half, it is clear that Kirby is a lot happier at his "old school" than he was at Wilson. On a more practical note, the fact that the school is open until 6 pm is a huge help to us as well; Wilson's regular 3:30 dismissals weren't too onerous, but the early dismissal at 1 pm every Wednesday was a bit of a hassle.
The point of this post is not to blame or criticize. The fact is that things simply don't always go according to plan, especially as far as young children are concerned. We're just happy that we were able identify what appeared to be a problem for Kirby and resolve it, even if it does mean that the "where will Kirby attend elementary school" question is still unresolved.
Fortunately, we'll have some time to think about it. Kirby's still a year and a half away from first grade.