We're pretty excited for her.
For the majority of her day, she'll be the only child in her classroom with Down syndrome.
I know lots of people who compose informative letters about their child with Down syndrome and send the letters home to share with the families of typically developing students in the same class.
I think that's a super idea.
But every time I tried to sit down and write one, I just couldn't get it to sound right.
It was either boring...or overly informative...or none of anyone's business...or all of the above.
And, frankly, it presumed they even cared to know.
When I thought about my own emotions as a student going in to kindergarten I never, EVER remember being worried that the parents of the kids in my class would like me.
I worried whether the kids themselves would be accepting.
So, that's the audience it felt most natural to target.
We made little "About LC" books to share with her friends.
Some other parents of kindergarteners with Down syndrome have asked about the book, so I thought I'd share it below for anyone interested in doing something similar.
First, I wrote text that was intended to be kindergarten-friendly and in a format that would be as appealing as possible.
The text of LC's book can be read by clicking on the picture below:
I wanted the story to be as much about the reader as about L.C.
I also wanted the book to facilitate conversation at home with parents, in case the student had concerns or other questions.
We made a full sized, laminated version to be read by the teacher or kept with the classroom library.
If L.C.'s teacher doesn't feel the conversation needs to happen...GREAT. But if she DOES feel information needs to be shared, I wanted her to be equipped with tools that could be used without lots of effort or prep on her part.
We also made a smaller book for each of her classmates to take home. Those books included a page with our family contact information and a page that invited them to get in touch with me if they ever had questions or concerns. It let them know we were excited to be sharing the year with them and their kindergarten student and didn't include much information that was Down syndrome specific at all.
In case you're interested in putting together similar books, here's how I went about creating books for LC's classmates.
I streamlined things as much as possible, since I knew I'd be making more than a couple. Also, I reminded myself not to make them overly precious. The kids weren't going to be wildly excited about the thing. I only needed something that would hold up long enough to share a few times if they wanted and be appealing enough to mention to an adult when they arrived home.
I shrunk the original big book down and ran it on cardstock, front and back. I laid out the pages so that the 18 page book could be put together with 3 pieces of cardstock and 3 slices of the paper cutter.
Since I printed each book individually, we went ahead and included a dedication page in the front. You wouldn't have to do that step...
Cut the pages in half lengthwise...fold 'em...stack 'em...
I made a semi-cover just to add a little stability and color. You could skip that step, too.
Punch a couple holes at the folds...
Tie it together with about 12 inches of ribbon or string or whatever.
And, to celebrate back to school, we're happy to share our word template with you so you can create versions of your own mini-book.
Just email me and let me know how you plan to use the book. (We're only willing to share with people using them directly in their own classrooms or the classrooms of children they're sending to school.)
Then, I'll send you a word template that allows you to edit the text and import your own photos.
Here's to a new school year! Hope your's is off to a happy start!