A New School Year Letter to My Helpers

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As we embark on a new school year, Kyle introduces himself to his first grade school helpers.

Dear School Helpers,

My name is Kyle and I am 6 years old. My mom Katie is typing my new school year letter for me because my keyboarding and vocabulary skills are still “in progress.”

new school year letter

I was sad to leave kindergarten, but I am super excited to enter first grade. Hopefully some of my kindergarten friends will be in my class this year.

Before I tell you about me, my mom has a few requests for the year:

In kindergarten my teachers used a daily communication sheet to help my mom know what I did at school, who I worked with, what I did well, or how I struggled. It helps her reinforce things that happened at school since I am not very talkative when I get home. (click here for downloadable sheet)

Another thing my mom asks is to please write on papers that are coming home. She isn’t always sure if I did something myself or if someone helped me with hand-over-hand. If you write either “independent” or “hand-over-hand” on my papers she would really appreciate it!

Here’s an example from kindergarten that my mom thought was AWESOME. If my teacher hadn’t written “Independent” on the paper, my mom would have thought someone else wrote “cat.” But I wrote it all by myself!

independent hoh

My mom was a teacher once (waaaay before I was born), so she knows how precious every classroom minute is. She wants you to know how much she appreciates the time you take to do these extra steps for communication.

The new school year is a time when teachers ask kids to describe themselves or what they did during the summer. It might help for you to have some of that information ahead of time, just in case I am not feeling very talkative on sharing day.

What I did this summer:

I took a few sessions of swimming lessons, and got a lot further into the water than last year!

new school year letter about summer

My family rescued a second older doggie. Annie is really sweet and doesn’t mind my big hugs.

new school year letter about summer

We celebrated my 6th birthday with some family. Honestly, nothing feels much different from 5 except my hair is longer.

new school year letter about summer

The last summer event was also the most exciting. We went on a big family trip to a lake. I saw all of my mom’s family including my younger cousins who I don’t visit with very often. It was great to see them, but I still mostly hung out with my Granny. (Photo by Aunt Sarah)

new school year letter about summer

My Likes and Dislikes:

I like spending time with my family and petting my dogs.

Here are some other things I like: watching Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and Sid the Science Kid on the PBS kids app, playing on my iPad, reading books, playing ball, tossing hula hoops, eating cereal bars, playing with my mom’s hair, and bedtime.

I am not a fan of fruits and vegetables–it’s a texture thing. On that sensory note, I also don’t like loud noises (unless I am making them). If I taste mint I spit it out immediately.

Homework is not my favorite thing, but we’ll try again this year and see if I am more responsive. Lastly, I don’t like changes in routine. Some of the hardest days for me in kindergarten happened when I had a substitute teacher or para-educator.

Things I do well:

Reading! At the end of kindergarten I could read many first grade sight words. Here’s a quick video of me reading a book by my favorite author:

My talking improved a lot in the past year, and my family understands most of the words I say. Sometimes I need reminders to use words, especially when I am hungry or frustrated.

Songs from Daniel Tiger and Sid are my favorite, and sometimes I reenact scenes from Sid too.

Tablets are a great learning tool for me. Honestly, I am better than most people above 30 years old when it comes to navigating an iPad.

This summer I also developed a lot of great play skills. I spent a lot more time pretending with toys than throwing them. My mom says she waited a long time for that. (I still throw when I’m overwhelmed, so no one is completely safe yet.)

new school year letter play skills

Connecting with people and giving hugs are great strengths of mine too. Sometimes I just need reminders to be gentle or to ask for hugs before I give them.

Every-day things I do well are drinking from a straw cup, eating with a spoon and fork, and going to sleep in my big bed. My parents say I was their easiest kid when it came time to move to a big bed. I always go right to sleep and stay in my bed all night.

Things I am still learning:

Even though I am great at reading sight words, I am still learning how to sound out words. At school I will do some sit-down writing work, but I don’t have the patience for homework when I get home from school. Maybe that will be different when I see how fun the homework is in first grade.

Sometimes I forget to use my words, and instead I run up to my parents screaming. Really, all I want is for them to get me a cracker. I know those words, but screaming is easier.

Whether because I am not ready or because my mom is procrastinating (potty training is her least favorite part of parenting), I regret to tell you that I am still wearing pull-ups and not using the potty yet.

It’s not such a big deal, except I HATE how cold wipes are! So I will probably fight not to lay down for a diaper change. You’ll see pretty quickly how strong I am. You might want two people there for dirty diaper changes until you are used to my hulk-like moves.

Other challenges to expect are that I don’t like to keep my shoes on, I hardly ever wear my glasses (still working on it!), and sometimes I forget what to do when I am overwhelmed. Usually I just scream when people are too loud. Or at mealtime I throw my plate on the ground. At home with my three siblings, meals can be chaotic, but no more than a cafeteria with hundreds of 6-year-olds.

Final thoughts:

Last year, my mom got me all dressed up for picture retake day. Many of my friends had their pictures taken during orientation, but my mom didn’t even want to try. Then she forgot to write a note on retake day. I was so busy playing when the class went to get retakes that I missed getting my picture taken.

This year were were gone on our family trip during orientation. So please don’t forget to take me to get my new school year photo taken this year. You might need an extra helper to help me be still. It just doesn’t make sense to me why I should have to sit on that little stool and smile at a stranger!

Because I am selective when talking to people, communicating daily with school is my mom’s top goal. My goals are about playing and learning. I am super interested in tying shoes, so feel free to try teaching me! Please remind me to be gentle with my friends and help me learn to join in their play.

My mom would love it if I could come home from first grade one day all potty trained, but she knows it is really her job and she’ll get on that soon.

I can’t wait to see my helpers from kindergarten and to meet some new ones. It’s going to be a great new school year.

Sincerely,

Kyle

One more note from Kyle’s mom:
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About Katie

Katie Bee is the author of for Elysium blog: a site about family, Down syndrome, home, art, and writing.

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