Friday, April 18, 2014

A Preemie's First School Adventure

After 15 months of being a bubble baby and mom, Emily and I went to school for the very first time!

I enrolled her in a parent-child activity class through our county park authority. Although the course is intended for children who are 16 to 24 months old, I want to provide Emily with the opportunity to interact with others, particularly since she has been cooped up for flu and Respiratory Syncytial Virus season.

I contacted the school to obtain special permission for Emily to participate, given that she does not meet the age requirement. She is currently 15 months old, 12 months adjusted.

Due to her early start on life, Emily is the smallest and youngest one in the class. She is also the only one who is not walking. Emily didn't seem to mind that others were more advanced. Since she hasn't been exposed to many other people, she is very curious about others and is content watching children and adults.

The class consists of arts, crafts, songs, circle time, puppetry, and games. It is also divided into segments, including gross and fine motor skills.

The theme for our first class was spring. We played with a long sheet of contact paper that was taped onto a table with the sticky side facing up. Emily placed various items, such as plastic flowers, large buttons, and colored pipe cleaners, onto the sticky tape.  She learned a lot about different objects by tasting them. At one point, she even licked the sticky contact paper!  We also played with large Legos.

We listed to the teacher read a story about flowers and got to play with animal hand puppets.  Emily had a sheep. She was very curious about the other students and did not appear to be interested in the story or the hand puppet.

All of the children and adults sat in a circle and sang a song that went something like this:  "Hello, hello, hello to (insert child's name, i.e. Emily). Hello, hello, Emily is our friend."  The song was sung until each student's name had been announced.  We also waved our hand puppets in the air as we sang.

After the "Hello song," we sang "Old McDonald." Each hand puppet had a role. Emily's sheep sang and danced, "...with a Baba here and a baba a Ba there a Ba everywhere a baba." Emily rocked from side to side as if she were at a rock concert during the song.  She wasn't interested in holding the puppet, so I held it for her and waved it to and fro.

Then, there was craft time. Since it's Spring, the instructions were to make a cherry tree using construction paper and tissue paper. This task was a little advanced for Emily who would have preferred to rip and chew the paper -- so Mommy helped.  Here's our final product. I think it looks a lot like the real cherry trees that surround the tidal basin in Washington, DC.  What do you think?

The finale was snack time. We had apple juice and a flower cookie.  The treat was perfect for spring and the winter tablecloth was ironically appropriate given the wild weather we have been experiencing on the East Coast!  We had a great first class and can't wait to return to school for more activities.


  1. Hoorah for Emily! This is just the beginning of her adventures into the world!

  2. Thanks so much, Cindy Jensen. I'm getting ready to enroll Emily in swimming classes next!

  3. I did not know there was a day for this! Way to preach awareness :) glad you had such great loving support around you and that your daughter is a fighter, you are all very lucky. Congrats to you on your beautiful daughter!