Sorry it's taken me so long to update. There has been so much going on between dealing with DS's issues and myself changing jobs, and it hasn't left much time for writing!
The director of DS's school made a feeble and misplaced effort at helping the situation by offering to have DH drop DS off with her in the morning to help her with some special task, and then she would take him to his class. This was meant to avoid the crying fit that would happen every morning at drop off. While it did help to ease DH's separation with DS, all it really did was delay the inevitable. The teacher claimed that she was going to try to give him more choices, and DS did tell me a few times that he "did numbers instead of papers" some days. While the improvement was slight, it still wasn't enough.
Then last weekend we decided to let DS try Sunday school for the first time. It looked like so much fun - free play, songs, stories, crafts, puppets... DS was scared, clung to us, didn't socialize with the other children, didn't look the teacher in the eye. That was finally enough for DH. He knew that that wasn't our son. The next day he told the director that we had done enough talking about it and he wanted DS in a different class. On Tuesday he went to another class and had a great day. Sadly, the director didn't even tell me, but DS told me about it that night. Even without knowing, I knew that something was different. His mood was so much better that evening. On Wednesday the director said that she wanted to put him in a different class (because the other class had more children in it and she was trying to even out the numbers). We allowed the SECOND change only because DS's best friend is in that class, and we thought that might be good for him, considering his previous issues. Also, the best friend's parents have actually come to like the teacher more as the year as worn on.
On Wednesday DS officially moved to that class. The teacher couldn't understand why he had even been introduced to some of the work he was doing, and stressed that his focus should be on sensorial works and practical life works right now. She asked me to give her until at least Friday to just observe him and get to know his needs, and that she would give me a report at that time. I was just so happy that FINALLY someone was even considering my son's needs in all of this.
The change that we've seen in this short 3 days has been staggering. He happily participated in karate this week, played soccer with his friends yesterday, has not hit me once or told me he doesn't like me. He is excited to go to school, has come right out and said he likes this teacher better than his old teacher, and the tantrums are *almost* a thing of the past. Obviously he's still 3 years old, and sometimes his behavior is less than ideal, but suddenly he's sweet again. He's polite. He's reasonable. He's generous. He's loving and affectionate.
He's only been in this class for 3 days. I can't believe it. It makes me that much more sad that we left him in that environment as long as we did, since it obviously had such an effect on him. Our plan right now is to leave him in this class through the summer and if we're not 100% happy with the teacher (we know the director won't cooperate with us, but a good teacher can make up for that) then we'll move him to a different school in the fall.
On a side note, his godmother is in a PhD program that requires her to take a preschool assessment class. As part of that class she did an assessment of DS several weeks ago (all play-based and observation). She told me that while he tested above average in almost all areas, he score extremely high for anxiety. As in, almost clinically high. That is just too sad. He never exhibited these behaviors before, and has been 100x better just this week. I will still be watching him closely, but have hope that our happy son is going to return to us. I didn't even realize just HOW bad that teacher was until he was no longer in her class. They passed each other in the hall the other day and she didn't even greet him. How ugly. I am just so surprised at how this has played out.