I can still remember the smell of my elemntary school. There was a distinct mixture of heavy duty powdered cleanser, concrete, gymnasium wax and dust. It was the smell of my elementary school experience and it's universal, really. Or at least it seems to be the same in every elementary school in the Mid-West. So when I took my son on tour of his new school and he mentioned that the smells were the same as his old school, I smiled. "Yep!" I said, as we walked the empty halls. "It smells just like when I used to go to school, too." He giggled. Smells are very powerful for him. His sensory processing is different than that of typical kiddos and odors are a big deal to him. Just like so many of us, a familiar scent can help him cope. I was a bit relieved that he made the connection.
The school was empty but for the secretary. She was kind enough to let us look around. I showed him his room. The door was locked and the room was not yet put together. All the furniture was piled up into towers. There were no name tags on the tiny lockers and no colorful posters on the walls. All of that will come next week when teachers return to infuse their rooms with life.
Next, we went down the hall and checked out the bathrooms. Weird, I know. But if you knew my kid, you'd understand. We counted the steps from his room to the bathroom and back again. Twenty-Six steps in all. Totally do-able.
Then we went out the back door to the playground. "WOW!" he said, excitedly, "that's the best playground ever!" I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Playgrounds are important when your five year-old has the gross motor capabilities of a ten year-old. It WAS a pretty great one.
After the playground we sat down on the grass to talk about what to expect in the next two weeks. He's still very hesitant but he is coming around. I mean, they have a pretty awesome playground after all. That will soften the sting a little.
As we walked around the front, we stopped back inside to thank the secretary. "See you soon! Are you excited for school?" She asked him. "I don't know" he said. "Well I'm excited to see you again. We are going to have a great year" she offered. He smiled. "OK" he said. "OK"
What kinds of things do you remember about your elementary school?
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