Sunday, June 30, 2013

Preschool Nursery 2 First Parent-Teacher Conference

It's been half a year since Lil Pumpkin started Nursery 2 {N2} and yesterday we met her teachers to discuss her progress in school. This year even though we do have the usual parent-teacher communication tools available, I don't really feel as strong a connection to her teachers as I did with her Nursery 1 teachers. Maybe because her form teacher is a {new??} Chinese language teacher, and doesn't know how to use these tools effectively because they are in English, or maybe we just got really lucky with her Nursery 1 teachers.

We were eager to meet the teachers and find out more about her life and development in class. Our appointment was at 5pm but since the appointments dragged throughout the day, we got to see the teachers only around 5.30pm. Well.. it gave Lil Pumpkin more time to play in the school playhouse so that was all right. She was happy to show me her yellow builder's hat and fix things in her house with her toolbox haha. I love the creative stories she tells :)

Lil Pumpkin goes to preschool only 3 times a week because we feel that since she's in Nursery 2, there's no need for her to attend class every day because she'll have the rest of her formal schooling days to do that and she should get more time to enjoy her childhood and time with her grandmother, who takes care of her when she's not in preschool.

Her teachers feel that she should attend preschool more often because if she doesn't go consistently, she'll miss out on things that her classmates have learnt and subsequently "lag behind", even though they've noted that she's a fast learner and in the "average range" when compared to her classmates. So does that mean if she attends preschool everyday, she'll be in the top range??

I think they are not used to parents being as laid-back as us. Her English teacher told us that some parents even ask for homework for their Nursery 2 kids... whhhhhaaat? She even asked us if we intend to send Lil Pumpkin to our local primary school as it doesn't seem like we understand the stress that school kids go through now, and hence the need to prepare Lil Pumpkin for it now. Yes, we want to send her to a local primary school, and yes, I do have the primary school parent jitters actually. There's no problem sending her so preschool more often now as we intended to bring her at least 4 times a week later this year even before they said anything to prepare her for going to class 5 times a week from Kindergarten 1 onwards next year, but that doesn't mean that I'm expecting her to attend class just for the sake of doing well in school.

Lil Pumpkin should learn because has a thirst for knowledge, of being curious about the world, of wanting to better herself as a person. I still believe that learning goes beyond a classroom and syllabus, and is even found through free-play. It doesn't mean that if she's not in school, she's not learning anything.

Sometimes I wonder if we are toooo laid-back, but hey, aren't we only kids once??

Anyway, other updates this semester are that Lil Pumpkin
  • is very curious, explores and experiments with her senses
  • is very sociable and cheerful
  • verbalises what she observes
  • speaks clearly enough to be understood without contextual clues
  • attends to a story without distraction
  • still is not able to express herself in Chinese
  • is sensitive  to scoldings {aren't a lot of kids like that?}
  • seems to feel stressed when she wants to say something but can't

In any case, I don't want to feel like we are short-changing her in anything... be it opportunities to learn in school, or opportunities to enjoy her childhood.



mabel :) said...

the last two points seem like just a filler points on the teacher's part. even adults can get a little sensitive towards scoldings, and get stressed out when they are no able to convey their message to another party!

i'm all for being laid-back and letting the children enjoy their childhood - especially if we, the parents, aren't too worried about their progress! :D

An Apel a Day said...

In the US some kids only go to preschool 2 days a week for a few hours.

I sent Isaak to one preschool two days a week the first year (when he was 3). Then he was 4, he went to two schools, so 4 days a week. I didn't send him more because I felt like he needed more. I sent him because he enjoyed it. He kept asking, "Is it the day I go to preschool?" One preschool worked primarily on academics, while the other school just wanted kids to have fun, being social with one another and they learned about exercise.

I think you do great with your little Pumpkin. Kids need to spend time with their family to! They need time to just be a kid!

Unknown said...

I think it sounds like you're doing a great job with her and funny how there you are considered "laid back" when here that would be considered very normal to not send her every day lol. She will LOVE you so much more later on in life for having that extra opportunity to spend time with her grandma :) It's important to let them be KIDS while they're still so young, and homework?? AHHHH! There's plenty of years for that later on as she gets older. That's SOOO young to pressure them with all that lol. Kids are like sponges, and when they learn, they learn FAST! She sounds like she's doing wonderful and you guys too :) You do what YOU feel is best for your family :)

Stacy said...

Speaking from the same corner of the world, I AM surprised to know you only send her 3x a week. From my accountant point of view... if I'm paying for 5 days, my kid goes for 5 days. :p Of course that's assuming she LIKES school - if not, then I'd be looking for another.

But why not, while you can, later I'm guessing there won't be a choice.

simplemum said...

Wow! You are indeed laid-back to send your little one just 3 times a week for pre-school! I believe in no homework and minimum stress in pre-schoolers too. After all, they are gonna endure at least 10 years of formal education, if not, 16 years of education before they have their mortar board. So I agree that children should enjoy childhood as much as possible. Rote learning is boring for kids and they should enjoy the pre-schooler years as long as possible. Thanks for sharing. Btw, I have finally figured how to paste the wordless wednesday on my blog. Sorry to take so long after linking up to your party. I am not a tech geek :P

Ai Sakura said...

Mabel: some of the feedback came from a checklist where the teachers just mark on their progress :) kids should definitely have time to enjoy being kids!

Alissa: I think it's great you gave him the opportunity to enjoy both systems and see how he copes with them!

Brandi: yeah, that's probably why the teacher asked if we intended to send her overseas or not haha.. because our mindset doesn't seem to reflect how most parents here think I guess

Stacy: I was thinking that she won't have a choice later, so while she can choose to attend some days and spend it enjoying other things in life, why not? haha but ya, not economical at all!

Simplemum: no prob at all :) thanks for sharing too!