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Have an appointment coming up with our local school, our little ones will be coming to us over the summer holidays and starting new school at the new term. What questions should i be asking? Thanks.
Congratulations. There has been a thread running on this very recently that should cover most thingswww.mumsnet.com/Talk/adoptions/3285511-help-finding-a-school
How old are your new children? (only answer if you want to).
Thank you so much Sanders, this is really helpful, I'm adding a lot to my list. LOs all at infant school.
You may like to consider taking them out individually for odd afternoons (or days) to help with 1-1 bonding. The more academic stuff tends to happen in the mornings, but if you picked one up at 12:00 you could have 3 hours before having to pick up siblings. (Or at 1.05 straight after afternoon register).
If you did want to consider this, you may want to ask prospective schools how they would view it ….
Also explore when they would expect the children to start school - mine both started about 7 weeks after placement which was considered quick but they needed the structure and contact with other kids and I needed a break because they were literally limpet children. What struck me was that the HT had a really well thought out rationale for what she would do with my kids, listened to my concerns and was more than willing to meet me half way. She also worked a lot of additional support into the day in a way that didn’t single my DD out in any way, so she’s never felt less than or stigmatised.
Don’t be afraid to say what you think your DC might need, and see what the school have to offer. If you find a school with experience of adoption, all the better. There are a good few looked after and adopted kids in the school (probably because of the HTs expertise) and it really shows because the school know what they’re doing.
In infants they tend to do the Maths/English work in the mornings when the children are fresher. In the afternoons it will be other stuff like history, science, music etc (or complete free play in Reception).
I think there is a real balancing act between going to school, being like their friends, having the routine, and having bonding time with the new parent(s). Also getting 1-1 time with children adopted as a pair or more can be hard to achieve, so taking them out of school could help.
DD1 was already in y3 when placed, and she really valued the stability of school, and we had her pre-school sibling too. But under other circumstances more 1-1 time with her would I think have been beneficial.
Ask to meet the teacher who has responsibility for LAC , every school should have one, though some are better at making sure their LAC teachers have support and training, and some LAC teachers take their responsibilities more seriously than others. Ask If they are in touch with the local Virtual School, if they looke puzzled you might have a mountain to climb!
My son came to live with us 4 months before he was due to start school. School wanted him start with the others in his cohort. I delayed him by a term, then started part time (he is a summer baby).
It worked well and he has caught up work wise. He needed sleep still in the afternoons and time with me, he is now very bright and doing well.
Academic stuff can be caught up on, but attachment is harder.
If you do take them out for afternoons I would do it after lunchtime since school lunch is part of the 'school day' and eating together, playing together and making friends is important. Whatever they are doing in the classroom I feel (particularly in the afternoons) is less important at this stage than boding with you and making friends.
1) Bonding with you
2) Making friends and finding their feet
3) Academic stuff
Couch any of this in academic language if you discuss it as teachers may not like to think their input is number three on your list!
I am not saying study is not important, I am saying 'When your world has been tipped upside down and shaken vigorously, you are more likely to want to grab a human hand than a text book!'
* 'When your world has been tipped upside down and shaken vigorously, you are more likely to want to grab a human hand than a text book!'*
This, but also worth remembering when your world has been turned upside down, your capacity for learning is shot through so really that first year of school is entirely about settling and becoming secure - any academic growth will be a side effect of having a secure home and school life. The school needs to be prepared to completely hold off any academic expectation until the DC are secure safe in the knowledge that they will catch up when they are really settled. You need a school who really understand that children don’t learn unless and until they are happy and secure.
Good point jelly. You need to feel safe to learn.
Thanks everyone, some really interesting points here.👍
Really? Starting school not long after they come to you? That's a new one
We couldn't send ours to nursery until they have been placed for 6 months. I had to fight to get them in sooner as they had previously attended a different one.
IAm Not that new. DD1 started school (year 3) 3 weeks (or possibly less) after placement. No one even suggested she stay off for longer. She had 5 or 6 weeks, then the 6 weeks summer holidays. It was considered that routine and school were stabilising for her, and that by sending her she would see that we were capable of getting her there properly etc.
Plus, with more than 1 placed it can be a real shock for the new parents, so having some at school can help the new parents adjust.
I think each case needs to be looked at individually.
Thanks everyone. We were really pleased with our school visit. Felt like a warm and nurturing place. Lots of happy faces, kids and teachers and the 2 pupils who gave us the guided tour were tremendous.
Plenty of experience of looked after children and a very can do attitude to it. Very accepting of the fact that we haven't met the children yet and may have to play a lot by ear. All in all we really liked the feel of the place and the people.
Right from the start SW have been keen that the kids start at the new term. Nursery/school has been very stabilising for them and they love going. In many ways we feel we can work with this as they are in at different times which will help with 1:1 bonding time. We are clear though that attachment to us comes first. School seemed happy to support us in this.
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