This morning was the first session of a motor skills group I am going to be doing at the kids' school for a few of the kids who have been identified with gross motor skill difficulties. I am calling it Movers and Groovers for now until I can think of a better name or get used to this one.
I originally thought it was going to be mainly children from Year 1 and 2. It actually consists of seven kids ranging from Years 1 to 4. Quite a large age range to cater for. I think it is going to take me a few attempts to pitch it at the correct level with modifications for the youngest and the biggest ones.
I'm also going to have to find a spot to run it away from the staring eyes of their peers. Today the rest of the kids were doing a run around the school oval so the quicker runners then became spectators...potentially not an ideal situation for some of the older kids in my little crowd who are likely to be getting a little more aware of or sensitive about their motor skill difficulties. The whole school has a twenty minute outside/gross motor time at the same time as I am running this, so I am not having to withdraw them from classroom learning time.
But we're off to some kind of start. All I was really aiming for today was being able to successfully locate the kids, say hi to them and do a couple of simple activities. I already know three of them from having worked as a classroom helper in Aidan and Liam's classrooms last year. The kids all seem quite nice and I'm looking forward to getting to know them better.
Unfortunately I haven't been able to do the usual OT thing, which is to assess their skills first. That's just going to have to happen on the run. Today I also could do it without the toddler. Aidan is off school sick today so Chris stayed home with Aidan and Rosie while I went down to the school. Next week it will be the Karen and Rosie show with greatly increased potential for things to go off-track.
I used minimal equipment this morning. I brought along a few plastic containers for catching beanbags in, and some paintbrushes for the kids to brush their arms and legs with (increases awareness of body parts, and also let me see if any of them disliked the sensation). I asked the school if they could supply some beanbags. Schools would have heaps of those, wouldn't you expect?
Apparently not. I was given the lid of a copying paper box with about twenty old and sad looking beanbags in it. I was told teachers keep taking them and leaving them in their classrooms. Liam's teacher is a bit of a hoarder. I might ask her if she has some stashed away somewhere.
The first week is always the hardest. I'm sure it will get better as time goes on.
As I was leaving, I came across a group of three Mums at the school gate. I could tell from the tone of their voices that they were complaining about something. I don't like to get sucked into those kinds of conversations, and I only knew one of these mothers very slightly (she also has a kid in Aidan's class) so I just smiled at them and kept going. But I heard enough to hear two of them whingeing about how the teachers spent so much time off class, their poor little kids weren't learning, didn't want to go to school etc etc.
This annoyed me. I find it hard not to get impatient with the carrying on some parents go on with. I knew the Mum of the child in Aidan's class (taught by the middle school assistant principal) had specifically asked for her child to be transferred from another class into his class because she didn't like the teacher her child was originally allocated to. So I thought it was a bit much to hear her complaining about a situation that was actually of her own making.
And I guess I also thought that if they all had half an hour to spend at the front gate whingeing about it, that was half an hour that they could have spent in their child's classroom helping out and getting involved. Maybe they do and I don't know about it....but my experience is that the complainers are generally the ones who don't bother.