Nate spent the first 3 of his "real" school years at Strongsville Early Learning Preschool. WOW is all I can say about the progress he made during those 3 years. Nate started at SELP when he was 3 years old. He was inattentive and unfocused. He didn't know his colors, shapes, numbers or letters (because of his inability to focus). We were soooo nervous about him starting preschool, until we met "Mystery".
I'm not going to call her by name in this blog, but I will say that "Mystery" is THE BEST TEACHER IN THE ENTIRE WORLD. Our little nickname started as a play on words with her name, and ended up turning into our term of endearment for her. We don't have a clue how she tamed our beast, and it is a total mystery as to how she worked her magic with Nate and taught him so much in so little time. Matt and I always say that if we ever winw the lottery, we would pay her hundreds of thousands of dollars, buy her a new house, and pay for her kids' college, all she would have to do is be Nate's teacher until he is 18. That's how much we love her.
"Mystery"--let's see, amazing, wonderful, terrific, fabulous- there isn't a word that is powerful enough to describe her. She's been my go-to person for advice, questions, confidence boosters, strategies and so many other things. She started out as Nate's teacher, and ended up as my friend.
I remember the first time I met "Mystery" was at preschool orientation. I was so nervous about leaving my baby with a stranger, but my mind was changed in an instant. From the moment she met Nate, she had some kind of wonderful control over him. She's a "Nate Whisperer". The first 2 years at SELP, Nate was in a class of 4; there was a teacher (Mystery) and 2 teacher's aides. Who could ask for a better situation? I knew that Nate would be getting the attention and guidance that he needed in order to succeed in school.
Nate's first and second years at SELP were super. "Mystery" was always in touch with us through email, phone calls, and conferences. We were constantly being updated on his progress and were able to see his progress in the numerous videos she took of him in the classroom. "Mystery" was able to take a child who couldn't sit still for more than 2 minutes, and turn him into a child who has developed a passion for learning and love of school. We were completely amazed when he started exceeding his IEP goals, and delighted when we had to rewrite his IEP in the middle of the year to create higher level goals.
The third year that Nate was at SELP, was the best year for all of us. His school day was lengthened, so instead of going to school for about 10 hours a week, he started an extended day program which entailed 20 hours of school a week. Nate was awesome, awesome, awesome! He started spending time in another classroom, interacting with "typical peers", he was attending, focusing, and learning! Nate started recognizing his colors, shapes, numbers, and ABC's. He started doing puzzles on the iPad, cutting, coloring, and WRITING HIS NAME!!!