Elie is doing fantastically in her class. Her teacher has quite high expectations for the students and their behavior. As a result, many of the students think she is quite strict and some even call her mean. But we have had a very positive relationship with her from the start. Elie is doing wonderfully and really rising to the challenge of learning a new system for everything, in the middle of her primary education. All of the other students, save one, have attended this primary school since nursery. They are very familiar with the schedule and terminology and the general way the school is run. Elie has had to learn on the run and is doing a fantastic job. We are very pleased with the type of educating they are doing. They are very creative and interactive and employ lots of different education strategies to allow the kids to learn in the way they learn best. Assignments are open ended, allowing the kids to brainstorm and be creative in the way that suits them.
I was a bit nervous about how Elie would do, after all, these children have had one more year formal education than she has. But, as her teacher told me this evening, she is very bright and is not afraid to ask for clarification when she doesn't understand what is going on. To top it off, she is making friends left and right and is loving that. She is self-confident without being overbearing and has apparently made friends with many other students in the school, both her age and older. I found out this evening, from a teacher at the open house, that she has joined the Lego Club at school and been participating in that once a week. She didn't mention it to us, so I'm going to ask her tomorrow. I think it's cool the school even has a Lego Club! I do wonder why she hasn't told us, I hope she doesn't think we would disapprove. I am so proud of her. She is really doing wonderfully.
Isaac is also doing amazingly well. He is fitting right in, age and maturity-wise. He has a bit less adjusting than Elie does to the school side of things, because Year 1 is the first "structured" learning year. So everyone else in the class is figuring out the same things he is. We were a bit concerned that he would be bored because he is reading at such a high level, but the teachers noticed his advanced skills directly and are actively working with him one on one! YAY!!! He has caught on to soccer and brings a ball everyday to school. Which always draws at least two or three other Year 1 boys to play with him. He loves his teacher, who is male and another fantastically creative teacher.
Isaac is feeling a bit of strain about being "different". This past weekend he cried for about 30 minutes, telling me all about how he is so different and how the kids all ask him about America and how he misses his friends. I am sure that the other children are not being mean. I am sure they are just curious. And I know that Isaac's angst is because of his perception that he is so "different". I have talked to a couple of the other moms of Isaac's classmates and there are many bilingual families in the class. Yesterday I talked with Isaac about how they are "different" too. And he said "but they don't sound different!" So he is struggling with that, but I know he will find his way and sort it out. In the meantime, he doesn't seem too bothered and is always excited to go to school and excited to share with us about his day.
I was really, really nervous about Talia. She has always been soooo clingy and I just wasn't sure how she would handle such a long day at school, buying lunch, a new system, etc etc. And for the first three weeks, she did smashingly. There was nary a tear, she would change her shoes and head in for her day. The teachers are wonderful and reported how impressed they were with how she just found her place and was fitting right in. However, this week has not gone so well. Sunday she was sick, but Monday was feeling a bit better. Tuesday we got to school and she began to sob! She clung to my neck and would not let go. I did manage to get her calmed down and she was just fine the rest of the day. When I picked her up she was enthusiastic and happy. Last night she threw up again and so today she didn't go to school, but when it came time for me to go to the open house, she began to sob and cry. Dadam was here and staying with them, but Talia just wanted Mommy. I'm not really sure what is going on, but I hope we can get over this uncertainty soon. I know she likes school and likes what she is doing there. I am really pleased with the phonics reading program they are using and I really LOVE the freedom they give the kids to guide themselves. It's really quite a Montessori type learning atmosphere. We'll go again tomorrow, now that she is feeling better, and hopefully we can get the day going without any tears.
As for MissNoodle, she is doing alright. She desperately wants to begin school. (In fact, she and Elie packed her a backpack complete with snack, water bottle, two babies and a teddy bear, which she then carried around for the rest of the day.) I think that nursery is in our near future, she just wants to be big like The Bigs. And really, who can blame her?
So, it's a big thumbs up from us about the school. I'm so relieved that everything is working out and thrilled that we made such a good choice. It certainly seems like it is just what we wanted for our kids!