In this new school, K brings a file home at the end of every week so that he can share with us what he’s learnt in school. I was browsing through his English and Chinese worksheets and realized that he really has a LOT to learn in order to catch up with his peers. Some English worksheets look unrealistically difficult to me. Within this four day week, he’s already had to deal with apostrophes, singular/plural, “a” versus “an”, different permutations of words ending with “ar”. On the one hand, learning grammer a wee bit earlier might mean he gets less of a transition shock when he goes to primary one. But on the other hand, its really very sad for a five year old to have so much less opportunities to do unstructured things in a school day, by unstructured I mean things like drawing nonsense/scribbling any-o-how/doodling rubbish/folding paper aeroplanes on scraps of paper (he does these a lot in the old school). Today’s file even came with three pages of Math homework to complete (because school is closed tomorrow for Teacher’s Day?) and a Chinese phrase “一块石头” to learn for “听写” *gasp*!
Other than the steep learning curve that K has no choice but to step up to, we are all very happy with the school so far. When asked whether he likes the old or new school better, T chose the new school and reasoned, “because so nice, the new school.” When asked whether he likes the old or new school better, K chose “old school and new school”. He thinks the “Zoophonics class are fun” but misses the old school “because I can play the cubes and car … cubes, you can make anything you want.” KL feels that the new school teachers are more caring. I feel that the new school teachers really make an effort to be encouraging. K comes home and tells me xxx teacher said this about me, yyy teacher said this about me. So far they’ve all been positive things. He didn’t use to say so much about the teachers in the old school. T also has been humming to himself a few new songs (I haven’t figured out what songs are these!) when he does his puzzles so I think he really enjoys the music lessons (usually in the afternoon) in this new school.