My three oldest are all in school. I am so thankful for our small community and the school we attend where our teachers know us and our story. I am also so thankful to see that schools are beginning to have training on trauma and its effect in the classroom. Navigating new teachers and classroom dynamics is a change for any child; kiddos who have trauma, often have unhealthy coping skills that can be intensified with things change. This time of year is hard on my kiddos as coping skills and trust are put to a test.
We have had fabulous teachers that are willing to learn how to best teach and redirect my kiddos and also are quick to partner and find solutions for classroom. I am encourage this by talking with them upfront about what sometimes shows itself when change is introduced. My crew has healed and grown so much over the years that these conversations have become fewer and farther between. Our story is unlike so many other kiddos who have endured foster care, none of my children have IEPs but our hurt shows up in attachment disorders and anxiety that overwhelms them.
My oldest is beginning a whole new chapter of a new building as she enters middle school. With this change she will go from one to six teachers with the new challenge of changing classrooms. She is motivated by success and getting things just right. This time of year with all the unknowns and questions causes her to be insecure and filled with the desire to retreat. We are working on staying present and the things we can control.
My son will begin 4th grade, a pivotal year of growth where many new habits are made that will affect the rest of his education journey. His greatest struggle is the what others think of him; when he feels insecure the impulse control goes away and the struggle to focus becomes the greatest challenge of our day. I watched this week as he spent several minutes deciding where to sit in his new classroom, that was insightful as I watched his process. We are working on anything we can do to help him feel confident as he starts this new year off. This kid has a heart bigger than the moon and he cares so deeply.
My daughter will begin her 2nd grade adventure, her baby teeth are gone and she is growing in taller by the second it seems. I think back to our first two years together in preschool, at that time I was still foster mom and she was still healing and learning to trust. She has grown so much from our days of me getting called to pick her up early from the principal’s office due to behavior. Attaching to new people is a struggle, when she doesn’t know you, she doesn’t trust you and therefore she will likely not do what you asked. Each year as she heals and grows and with that her trust comes quicker.
School has not always been easy for us, we have had teachers that have worked with our family and our needs. I have advocated, had after school meetings and shared resources as I partner with this team to help my kiddos be successful. This time of year is filled with opportunities and hope for success. We are excited to kick off the this new year as we move towards healing.