Wow! I absolutely loved Emerson. Thank goodness! The gentleman who showed us around was just lovely which helped of course. He knew all of the kids by name and seemed to genuinely love his job. It wasn’t too far to get there either. Amanda came with me again as did Bec – Will’s mum. They both seemed impressed too.
Academically and extra curricular activities wiseÂ I guess it was on a par with Heatherwood. There were excellent cooking facilities, art rooms, automotive workshop and woodworking areas. We looked around the junior, middle (where Beth would be) and senior schools. The middle school are moving around the corner next year to new premises at an old primary school. This is off of Heatherton Road in a Court which was a plus. Even the main school though was away from the road. There were high fences everywhere. They were so conscientious of each individual’s difficulties. For example one child was a runner so they had him in a brightly coloured vest to highlight this. Every room had visual schedules. The playground had that stuff on the ground like in McDonalds playgrounds. When I asked about discipline they said that they like to use a positive approach. The class sizes are bigger than at Heatherwood, about 12 – 15 with one teacher and one aide. I explained that Beth may need extra work to start with as she has an aide nearly fulltime at the moment. This didn’t seem to faze them as they have classrooms that they can do more intensive work one on one if necessary.
Basically it comes down to gut instinct. While Heatherwood is an excellent school it is a very long way from our home. I didn’t get that ‘feel good’ feeling from there either though it may have been the shock at how different it was than mainstream school. I did get that feeling at Emerson however. The man we spoke to said he’d like to come out to our school to assess Beth in her current environment and to transition her over a few Tuesdays. Next step is to gather all our paperwork and assessments and organise Paul to come and check it out with myself and Beth. I feel so relieved!