It’s been some time since my last blog post. Sol is now 7 years old and started at EtonHouse Malaysia International School in August 2019. So he has had one full year (including lockdown online learning) away from homeschooling. This school runs from kindergarten up to Year 6. It’s a small school with a concerted focus on inclusivity, even if they don’t have all the fanciest resources compared to other International Schools in Malaysia.
We based Sol’s success in school being a) how enthusiastic he was to go everyday b) the level of communication that was given to us in relation to Sol in the classroom c) what individual support was offered to Sol and d) did Sol make any friends?
And we are happy to say that we have a resounding YES to all those questions.
Sol started in a Year One classroom even though he had completed a Year One program at home. We discussed with the school that we felt a successful start for Sol would be where he felt comfortable with the learning and that if the need arose, we would move him on to Year Two after 6 months. Sol’s Homeroom teacher and Assistant teacher were both amazing with Sol – so loving, caring and fun. This made going to school every day a non-issue. Sol knew that he was cared for in the classroom.
Sol’s teachers and the Inclusive Team held meetings with us to discuss Sol’s progress and goals. They asked us what goals we felt were important for Sol and we believe that Sol’s social progress should be a priority. Sol still struggles somewhat to translate facial expressions, vocal tone and body language in other children. This sometimes causes him to become more sensitive to a situation that is probably NO BIG DEAL or read the wrong cues and respond in a way that seems “off topic”. Sol does realise when he has messed up and attempts to fix the situation and this can occasionally make it even worse! You’ve seen the comedies where the comedian is trying to gain the attention of the love-interest and goes from bad to worse – that can be Sol too!
The individual support that Sol was able to access at school academically, was to swap his Mandarin classroom hours with extra literacy hours – this was GOLD! We saw Sol’s reading progress really well with this support. Granted we also spend time with him at home reading (and now it’s everyday), the fact the school was so flexible to his needs, without adding extra hours to his school day was appreciated.
As the school has such a strong inclusivity policy, this meant Sol was able to make friends in the classroom and maintain those friendships outside of the classroom. He still has a standing playdate with one of his buddies that has since left EHM. Sol is now in Year 2 and while he doesn’t yet have his one special buddy, he talks positively about a lot of the kids in his class and gets on with most of them.
School is a bit different under Restricted Movement Order – no outdoor play/recess and very structured movement around the school but it’s a relief to know that Sol is back in school, safe, learning and happy. Long may it last! Not the lockdown part of course……..