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Friday, January 23, 2009

No More Tears

The girl still complains of the longer hours at school but she seems to be settling in well now. Yesterday, they gave out some books for the first time.

They've been doing arts and crafts at school, some Chinese New Year card, spring cleaning their classroom etc so school seems not so bad to her for now accept that its a bit dragy. Each kid was supposed to bring a pail and a rag to wipe. I bet she enjoyed that.

Whenever I do cleaning up at home, I would give each of the kids a rag and ask them to help. They both love that tremendously. At this age, they love to help.

Well, it looks like after 3 weeks of school, she has started to get into the swing of things and settling in but then......... there is 10 days of holidays. Then we are back to square one.

I will probably take 10 days blog leave too. Hahaha. So if you don't see me.....


Free Graphics - MySpace/Xanga/Friendster

Too eager to go to Kindy

Last night at bedtime, the little one said....

"Mummy, teacher said she will give me orange, card and lantern. Please remind me ok?" (Teacher had promised them to return the card and lantern that they made in kindy plus give them a mandarin orange each today if they were good in their reading).

I told him, ok I will remind him, but then he said.......

"Oklah. Oklah. Lets go now."

lol. That was at 9.00pm at night. He was so eager to get his stuff that the teacher promised, he wanted to go to kindy in the night. Hahaha.

This morning I reminded him and I told him to remind the teacher if she forgets, to which he replied....

"I am a bit shy of the teacher lah, mummy."

Hahaha. He is so adorable... if I may say so myself. lol.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Vote for a Cause

Sometimes we go through life thinking .... this will not happen to me. And we only care or start to care about things when we are caught in the situation, whether its health, or other circumstances in life.

However, you can make a difference. You can do something to create awareness. You can do it from where you are sitting now. And I hope that you will. I hope that you will help to create Epilepsy Awareness.

Here's all that you need to do.

You can help to promote epilepsy awareness by voting for epilepsy awareness. Please visit http://www.epilepsylegacy.blogspot.com/. You will see on the top right hand corner of the blog a voting badge with a photo in it. Click on the VOTE NOW below the photo. You will be asked to fill in a small form to register yourself to be a member of Wellsphere.com. Fill in your particulars. Click SUBMIT VOTE. Your vote has been cast for epilepsy awareness.

Thank you for spending this little time to make a difference in someone's life ie the life of someone with epilepsy or someone who's loved one has epilepsy.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Online Chinese New Year Game for Kids

I like to let my kids play themed games to help them remind them about an oncoming festival as well as to create excitement for them about the coming event. So since Chinese New Year is just around the corner, I let them play with Chinese New Year themed games and teach them to sing Chinese New Year songs. This is in addition to bringing them to buy new clothes, cookies and decorations to help put them in the mood. :)

Here's an online Chinese New Year Game that my kids like to play. The character is Kai Lan from NickJr.com. In the game the kids are supposed to help collect some coins for yeh yeh (grandfather) to put into angpow packets.

Here is the url to the online Chinese New Year game. I hope that your kids enjoy it too. Cheers!

My Little Super Glue

I was really afraid that my little super glue (that would be my boy) would give me problems when he starts kindy this year. I was worried that he'd cry and cling to me like a koala bear. Hahaha.

Fortunately not. I think it helps that he is No 2 and he has been accompanying me to and from the kindy daily to see his sister. He is very familiar with the kindy by now so there is no problem adjusting.

He loves it. He is still beaming. When I dropped him off yesterday, I stole up to his class behind him. I heard him telling a classmate that his daddy had cut his hair. Hahaha. Actually his daddy took him for a haircut.

When I go and take him home, I love to see his happy beaming face. This morning I dropped him at the gate and he beamed and said "I love you mummy." Then he waved and said goodbye with his big grin.

I remember when he was just a baby, someone mentioned that he is a joyful baby to have around because he is always smiling. He is 5 now and still always smiling. Yup he is a joy to have around.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Will You Be My Friend?

My girl thinks that the way to make friends is to go up to them and ask them "Will you be my friend?"

"I don't think the girls will be my friends, mummy. They all have their own friends. I know that if I go up to them and ask them whether they will be my friend, they will say no because they have so many friends already."

She doesn't consider the boys her friends even though she may talk to or play with them. Only girls can be her best friends. Haha. I told her not to worry because in kindy she only had 10 girls who could be her friend, now she has almost 20 whom she can become friends with.

On Saturday, she was happy because she had made a new friend and they had computer class. (She had replacement classes on Saturday to replace for the CNY hols).

When I asked her how she met her new friend, she said, I told the girl........

"If I give you this sticker, will you be my friend? and the girl said yes. OMG! lol.

So I had to teach her a few ground rules about making friends......
  • you don't give something to someone hoping that they will be your friend. In this way, they may befriend you only for your sticker or other things
  • you don't be nice to someone hoping that they will be nice to you. Just be nice naturally
  • you don't need to ASK someone to be your friend. Just be yourself, be friendly, talk to others and eventually you will become friends

I think its important to talk to your child often, especially when they are going through changes to help them through it as well as to teach them important values in life. These values and lessons can't be learned from textbooks. They are things that we all have to learn along the way and wouldn't it be good if we were given guidance and learned these things from young?

On my personal blog today:

Chinese School vs Kebangsaan School Facilities

Friday, January 16, 2009

Communication problems can lead to misunderstanding

Today my girl told me that three of her friends called her "Mrs Selfish". She said they had wanted to borrow her pencil but she didn't lend it to them because she was afraid that teacher would scold her.

She said that she heard teacher saying something that sounds like "jian" but she wasn't sure whether teacher meant "Cannot lend things" or "Cannot bring scissors" in class.

The other day she had also mentioned to me that "teacher said cannot lend and borrow things." The teacher had asked them to bring 5 pencils in their pencil box to school each day. I think this is to discourage borrowing in case the children lose their pencils which is an all common thing. During her kindy days, they were also told to bring 3 pencils each everyday. They are also to sharpen all their pencils and color pencils at home each day to discourage borrowing and going out frequently to sharpen their pencils, I think.

She said that she was a good girl and did not talk much or make noise in class.

Looks like my girl is trying her very best to be a good girl in class but what a pity she was misunderstood. Though this is just a small thing between little ones and it will sort itself out in no time at all, its still a small dent to her already wavering confidence in struggling to get along in a Mandarin speaking world.

"Daddy and Mummy sayang me at home."

After school yesterday, my girl looked happier. When I asked her how was school, she said it was ok. She said that when she felt bad, she thought about home and she thought about "daddy and mummy sayang me at home" and she felt better. That was what we had been telling her. We said that we will always support her and no matter what she can come home to her family where daddy and mummy will sayang her. She then asked "What is support?" Support means being there for you always sweetiepie. lol.

She said that her teacher said that she will give her a present because she sat up really, really straight and didn't move at all when told to do so.

She was also happy that she made a new friend. "Mummy, I cried and got a new friend!" I told her "Thats not the way to make new friends", and that made her giggle non-stop. In my previous post, I mentioned that this new friend is in the same position as her. She doesn't speak much Mandarin unlike the other children. This new friend had been crying for the whole of the first week whereas my girl was ok. Now she is ok and so she went to my girl and said "I will be your friend" and that made my girl happy. The girl's mother and I had gotten together and we are trying to encourage our girls to become friends.

However, during bedtime, it was back to "I don't want to go to school."

This morning as soon as she woke up she said "Mummy, please remember to pack some newspapers for me to bring to school." They are having some recycling project at the school and the first day that the teacher told the kids to bring newspaper to school, most of them turned up with a stack of papers but a few, like my girl, did not, because they did not understand the instructions.

So yesterday, we packed some for her to bring to school because she said that her teacher says that those who did not bring MUST bring the next day. Today, she said, the teacher said they are supposed to bring more papers today. Hopefully, she got the instructions right. We packed the papers for her anyway since it is so important to her that it is the first thing she uttered when she woke up. She must have been thinking about it all night!

During breakfast, she said "Mummy, I don't want to go to school." again and before she went out the door, she wanted to be hugged and looked tearful but the tears were less this time and she managed to control it well.

Again, I stress the importance of preparing our kids for conversational chinese so that they feel more comfortable and less of a culture shock and change. My girl has not so much trouble in reading and writing. She can copy words of songs etc that the teacher writes on the board and can understand some, not all of it. She had top marks in her kindy class for Mandarin but of course top marks does not get you anywhere in getting along with others and being able to adjust into a new environment etc. Those are important living skills which we must teach our children.

I will never insist that my children score top marks. What I would insist upon is that they try. If they don't try, then they will not be able to improve on anything. If they try, then even if they don't do it so well, they would at least have gotten over the first barrier and taken the first steps towards improvement. Try first and then practise, practise, practise because practise makes perfect. That is what I tell my girl all the time. I talk to her like an adult because I think children understand more than we give them credit for sometimes.

I have one question to ask everyone. This has to do with streaming. When classes are streamed. Which do you think is better for your kids. Do you think its important to be in the top classes simply because the teachers are supposed to be better and more qualified? Do you think its better to be mediocre in top classes or top student in second rate or lower streamed classes? Or you don't think its important to give it any thought. Just let your child go with the flow.

Networking with Other Parents

Its very important to form a network with other parents in your kid's class. You never know, you may need to contact them when your kid is sick and need to catch up with homework or has forgotten what homework he needs to do etc.

I think most parents realise this importance so it was really funny during the orientation. We went like "Hi. How are you? Is your kid in this class too? Can we exchange telephone numbers?" Hahaha. And everyone shared anxieties and exchanged contact numbers and cards freely. In normal social situations, you don't normally exchange telephone numbers as fast as this, would you? lol.

It may be amusing but I think its very useful. You better do it during orientation too as that is the time when you meet the most parents. After that, during the first few days of school, everyone is too anxious looking after their children to exchange numbers and after the first few days, you might not see any more parents as they settle into a routine of having their children to be sent to and from school by bus or relatives etc.

I exchanged numbers as well and made quite a lot of new acquaintances. Unfortunately I did not have time to key the numbers in my phone right away. I wrote it in my husband's little note book and I can't find it now. Haiyh!

There is one particular mother that I meet frequently though. Her kid is also like mine. She doesn't speak much Mandarin unlike some of the other kids who are more prepared. Her girl cried throughout the first week but she looks happier this week. In fact, yesterday when my girl cried, this girl went up to her and said "I will be your friend." and this cheered my girl up tremendously. I believe that this girl went up to my girl because her mother had been trying to encourage her to become friends with my girl. I had been trying to encourage that too to get them to support each other a little bit. Ah... such interferring meddling mothers we are. :P

Like most people have said. Don't worry.Throw them over the deep end and they will survive it. In 3 months time they will be talking like a pro. Blah. Blah. Blah. However, I believe that lots of support and a little intervention when necessary is important. Why let them be miserable for 3 months or even 3 weeks? Starting school should be an exciting process, something to really look forward to with new experiences to learn and new things to explore. It should not be something to be dreaded and feared don't you agree?

My girl is a bit more reserved and timid. However she can overcome it if given the support and encouragement like how she managed to become emcee at her kindy concert in front of 300 parents. The others in her class all look fine to me, a happy bunch, so don't let my story worry you if you have children going to school next year. ;)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

And the winner is.....

Remember this contest?

Due to some unforseen circumstances which I won't disclose on this blog, we were unable to announce the winner earlier. Sorry about that.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the sporting bloggers who participated by putting up a blog post. Your posts were all terrific, so much so, that the organisers had a hard time deciding on the winner. :)

Anyway, without wasting your time further, I'd like to announce the winner now.

*Drum roll* Tadaaaaaaaaaaa!

And the winner is.......

Sting from Magical Milestone with her blog post Kungfu Zen. Sting wins an RM88 cash voucher plus a 1 year free membership worth RM10 from DOMII which entitles her to a discount of 10% on all regular items for the entire year. DOMII is a homegrown brand for little boys clothing. They are located at Lot 172B First Floor, The Curve, Mutiara DamansaraTel +603 7726 8566 Fax +603 5161 6788.

Once again, thanks to all the contestants for being such a sport and participating.

Cheers to all and Happy Chinese New Year!

"I don't want to go to school"

Today my girl cried for the first time about going to school. Previously there may have been tears but she usually fights back the tears so she is just teary eyed that is all.

She has never cried about going to school before. From the first day of kindy right till the very last, she always had a smile and was happy.

This morning she woke up and told me that she did not want to go to school. While dressing up and throughout breakfast she kept on talking about how she did not like the school. She said that she was afraid she will have her ears pulled for being naughty accidentally. I told her there is no such thing as being naughty accidentally. If you are naughty, you are naughty purposely, not accidentally.

She related to me an incident where the teachers asked them to sit straight up with arms on the table. Those who did so were rewarded with presents. The rest were asked to pull their own ears. She said that she sat straight up but the teacher did not see her and so she had to pull her own ears.

She kept on saying that she is afraid that she will be beaten by the teachers. I reassured her that the teachers will not beat for no reason and that she should not be afraid about something that has not even happened.

She seemed to be ok but then I made a mistake. We were early and not rushed. So I thought I could give her a hug before she and her daddy left for school. Normally we are so rushed, we don't have time for a hug just a quick bye bye.

The hug burst the dam and tears flowed non stop. I quickly distracted her by talking about her new roller bag and said a quick bye bye but according to her daddy she continued to cry all the way to the school right up to the classroom. Oh dear.

Hopefully, she will settle down soon, make some friends and get over her fear of the school teachers. She has always enjoyed a close rapport with her teachers and is talkative in class but now she can't anymore because of the language barrier.

Another thing, I spoke too soon about homework. Haha. They still have not distributed the books but yesterday she brought home a few pieces of paper that was supposed to have been finished in class. It was English homework. It was very simple really. Just simple matching and labelling. However, the teacher had asked them to color each and every picture on each and every sheet of paper. That was quite a lot. I wonder what was the point of that. My girl who wanted to make each and every picture beautiful took ages to color the pictures.

Then worse still, yesterday her piano teacher dropped a bomb on us. She told us that my girl had to sit for her scales trial exam on Sunday! My girl is far from prepared as she has just been taught the scales recently very quickly one after the another. She has no time to practise and besides we have things to do on Sunday. In addition, on Saturday my girl has to attend replacement classes for the CNY holiday and we have only two weekends before the CNY. Too bad. I told the teacher we can't make it for the trial exam. Its too short notice. Her Grade 1 exam isn't until June or July. Why do they have to have the trial exam now? Hmmm...

I do not send my girl for any extra activities accept piano. I do not believe that ballet, swimming, taekwando, arts and crafts, speech and drama etc is necessary. Not at this point anyway. So we have just piano. Even then, we are so bogged down. Its crazy.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Why She doesn't Like School

"Mummy, I don't like this school until Standard 6"

Thats what my girl told me. When I asked her why last week, she said it was because she didn't like the teachers (because they were all so fierce) and because she has no friends (because she doesn't know how to converse in Mandarin like they do). Most of her friends can speak Mandarin.

This week when I asked her why, she said...

"Because school is so long."

Haha. In fact, during school orientation, they had informed us that this is a big transition for the kids from kindy to primary school. School hours are very much longer, school premise is very much bigger etc. So they asked us to prepare the kid by bringing them to the school to show them around, talking to them about the longer hours and informing them where exactly to wait for us when picking them home. They also informed us to let the child know that you will sometimes be late so they won't get upset if you are. They also encouraged us to talk to the kids about school. I must add that for some kids, there is also the language transition or barrier to overcome. (Parents who have children going to primary school next year or in the coming years can take note of this).

Extra school activities for my girl's school started this week. I am glad I didn't sign the girl up for any. If she thinks school is long now, it would be even worse if she has to stay back till after 3pm.
We have however arranged for her kindy teacher to come in to speak to her in Mandarin a few times a week to help her during this transition. We don't have anyone to speak to her in Mandarin at home so we are getting outside help for just one or two months. So far its been good. She likes to practise speaking with her kindy teacher and she is comfortable to ask the kindy teacher about phrases in school which she heard and does not understand.

The kindy teacher gave her an assignment to ask her friend for her name and taught her how to ask in Mandarin. She came home with the name yesterday. Her next assignment is to make more friends. Her kindy teacher also teaches her how to ask the school teacher when she wants to go toilet and other simple terms etc.

We are a bit late in teaching her conversational chinese but hopefully with her kindy teacher's guide she can become more confident speaking and start to understand the school teachers' instructions. Quite often she comes home and tells me, "teacher say must do this and this and ..... but I don't know already." She doesn't quite know what she is supposed to do. Even the Malay and English teachers give instructions in Chinese! So it is important that she can understand it otherwise she will continue to feel lost in school.

I think that if you are sending your child to Chinese school, you should prepare them by making sure they understand conversational Chinese and not only written Chinese. My girl is fine in reading and writing but she can't understand spoken Chinese. This is something we had overlooked due to our own indecision on whether to send her to Chinese school right till the very last minute.

So far, all my girl did in school is sing songs, do coloring and origami (no books or timetable yet at this point) whereas her little brother in kindy has started on homework. Very strange. She showed me some worksheets they did in class and it was really simple. Sort of like a revision to guage the kids level of knowledge. It had simple ABCs, plus drawing curves and lines. However, occassionally they had to copy some things the teacher wrote on the board. That involved a good knowledge of chinese writing, otherwise you cannot write as the words are quite difficult so I guess they expect you to have a good grasp of the Chinese language but not other things?

Speaking of boards, my girl was really excited about the overhead projector that the teacher used to teach them in class. "My teacher stood on the table, then she pulled down this long paper and then she taught us from the computer!" she said excitedly and then added "The computer told us a story in Chinese but then I don't understand it." lol.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Monday Blues

Yesterday they had assembly in the morning at my girl's school so they start school 15 minutes earlier. We didn't know this (must have slipped us since they announce everything in Mandarin) so we sent the girl at the usual time.

Daddy saw many parents entering the school, so after dropping her, he decided to chase after her. Luckily, because when they got to the classroom, it was in darkness and no one was around. Everyone had assembled at the hall. So daddy took his girl to the hall and left.

That was daddy's account. Now this is her account.

"Mummy, I cried at school today. I cried a lot. Daddy took me to the hall and after he left, I couldn't find my class. Later an older student brought me to my class. My class teacher asked me to sit beside her because I was crying but her voice was not soft and kind. Maybe her voice is just like that, I don't know."

We're slowly getting into a new routine now. Hopefully we feel more settled by the end of the week. How's everyone else doing?

Monday, January 12, 2009

First Week of School

Day One
Daddy dropped me and the girl at school and left to send the boy to kindy. She looked miserable at first but fortunately she was seated next to a cheerful boy who started playing rock, paper, scissors with her and she cheered up considerably. Anxious parents were allowed to peer into the classroom but as soon as "lessons" started, we were chased away. So we all sat at the canteen. The canteen was crowded with parents and it looked and sounded like a market.

My girl's class teacher looks unapproachable and impatient. She looks the typical fierce type of Chinese School teacher. Even the parents are afraid to approach her. Haha. I saw that some of the other class teachers were more symphatetic, kind and nurturing towards the new kids and spoke English to some of the kids who had trouble understanding. To me, that is the better way of helping a child to settle in. Just our luck.

When the kids came out during recess, I showed my girl her regular seat for break time. The school canteen is small so having a regular seat helps the little ones from having to fight with the older ones to buy food. We were told that since the canteen is small, quite often by the time the little ones get to queue up to buy food, recess is over. So priority was given to the little ones to have catered food and a regular seat. They had bun and milo on the first day.

A majority of the parents were English speaking professionals. Everyone exchanged phone numbers and shared fears and anxieties. We were drawn together with a common thing. Our kids. We made quite a lot of new acquaintances. There are 7 Std One Classes with about 40 students to a class.

I did not have transport home so I had to wait at the canteen till school dismissed! Yawwwwnnn. There was nothing to do since class was in session. I was certainly not going to stand outside the class and be a nuisance to the teachers. So I sat in the noisy canteen where some mothers looked like they were having a party, chatting and laughing loudly. I had my lunch there and packed some lunch for the family. The food looked quite reasonable and food preparation looked clean enough.

We were informed to teach the kids where to wait for us so that we can find them when school dismissed. We kept on changing our minds about where she should wait. The school tried their best to have a good traffic management system but still it was chaotic. They gave us conflicting instructions too. One moment the kid had to wait here, next there. It was all very confusing for the kids.

Day Two
Parents were not allowed into the school compound anymore accept during break time. I did not know this so I had not prepared my girl for it. When I dropped her off, the guard stopped us at the gate. I wanted to show her how to get to her classroom which was a long way ahead. "Tapi dia tak tahu" I told the guard but he did not relent. "No. We will show her", he insisted.

So I let the girl go in alone to the lobby. She looked totally lost. The guard was ushering some other Std One kids to their classes but he missed her out! Finally another guard saw her loitering by herself and shouted at her to go with him. I saw her looking very reluctant (and I am sure it is because I had taught her not to go anywhere with strangers). The guard went and sort of pulled her along but he was back out in a minute. I don't think he showed her all the way to the class. He merely pointed the way.

I was told by another mother who had arrived earlier and gotten in somehow that she saw my girl standing outside the class alone, afraid to go in. So she guided her in. The same mother told me that another lady had gotten quite vocal outside and scolded the guards and teachers for not allowing parents in. "Its only the 2nd day!" she grumbled.

There were a group of parents still loitering outside the gate and the headmaster chased everyone away. "What are you all still doing here? Go. Go home." he said "Your child is attending school, not you." lol.

My girl was afraid to go to the toilet for the first two days because she did not understand what teacher said about going to toilet. She also did not know how to pull the longer flush for the squating toilet. Oh! My fault for not teaching her these living skills! So I showed her how to go in by herself and how to flush afterwards and told her the equivalent words for "going to toilet" in Mandarin.

So now, she goes to recess, the toilet, and then line up outside the class after that.

They had fried noodles and chrysanthynm for break today. I just watched my girl nearly choke on her noodles from afar because she is a slow eater and she was trying to eat fast (because I told her to do so) and she wasn't used to eating fast. Haha.

There is 40 or more students in my girl's class. The school has 7 Std One classes. The head had informed us that we should go and inform the teacher if our child is weak in Mandarin. So I go up to the "unapproachable" looking class teacher and informed her in my broken Mandarin that my girl does not speak or understand Mandarin. I give the teacher the benefit of doubt and hope that she is kinder than what she looks.

Going home is of course chaotic like the first day. After picking up the boy at 12.15pm, we went straight to the school and had to queue till 1.15pm. By the time we got home it was 2.00pm when in actual fact we are only about 15 minutes away from the school.

Day Three
We dropped her at the gate with no incident because this time we had instructed and shown her how to get from the gate to her class.

They had fried rice for break today. Parents are allowed to come in during break times for the first week. The girl was fine by now but I just couldn't resist coming to watch the kids. Its quite fun watching the kids. I try to observe without interfering.

We had worked out the logistics of dropping the girl off in the morning but picking up is still a problem.

Day Four
Hubby sent the girl on his own in the morning. At break they had a hard boiled egg and a sausage. I watched the kids struggle with their hard boiled egg. Haha. Many of them looked at it not knowing what to do. Some of the smarter ones helped the others break it.

Although I had thought my girl how to break a hard boiled egg and help me make egg sandwich before, she still stared at her hard boiled egg for a while. Haha. Later I found out it was because she didn't like it.

I knew the girl had been eyeing some nuggets and wanted to buy them on her own so upon seeing that the queue had cleared, I gave her a dollar to buy. She was so happy. She gave the man a dollar and got back 80 cents. Then she wanted to keep the 20 cents in her coin box. I allowed her to have one nugget and told her that I will take the other home. "Please remember not to eat my nuggets mummy", she said. Haha.

The kids didn't need us now. All of them looked fine. The standard one kids these days are all very well prepared. Hardly any cried.

Day Five
Dad dropped the girl off at school before work. A system has set in. Thats great.

They had nuggets, chips and orange juice today. Not exactly the healthiest of foods but it made the girl happy.

There is more confusion in picking up the kids again. We had been told all week to ask the kids to wait for us at diffrent locations but the location has been changed on Monday. Hmmm.. I don't think the girl knows how to go to the new location. It involves going down two different sets of stairways. Even I was confused and got lost a few times. Will have to wait till Monday to see how things goes.

Otherwise, we are all settled into our new routine by now.

We have been told that there will be very little or no homework for this first 3 weeks. So far the kids are doing simple revision ABCs, coloring, singing, origami etc. So, we haven't been tested yet on the homework load which Chinese school is known for. ;)

What is my girl's conclusion about the first week of school? She doesn't have any friends because she can't speak Mandarin to them. She doesn't like the teachers because she does not understand what they are saying. She thinks she won't like the school until Std 6! Omg. Haha. She is afraid that she will be beat by teacher. She had already saw one teacher walking around with a rotan. She is afraid that she will be beaten even if she tries her best but makes a careless mistake. Looks like the culture of fear has already set in.

Other posts I wrote today:
A Healthy Mom is a Happy Mom
Countdown to Chinese New Year

Friday, January 09, 2009

Ist Week at Kindy for First Time

My boy is attending kindy for the first time this year. He is 5. On the first day, his daddy accompanied him since I had to be at the primary school with his sister.

He was beaming all the way. He was happy to be in school. It makes him feel important, I think. He likes the idea of having a teacher, making friends, doing homework, having food breaks etc.
He complained that his daddy was disturbing him in the class by taking photos of him. Haha.

On the second and subsequent days, I was able to be there for him. He was still beaming all the way. I saw that he followed instructions very well. He wanted to bring tissue papers for his friends who cried. He sang the songs they taught him happily. He smiled at his teachers and said Good Morning and Goodbye to them. He said Hello and Goodbye to his friends and proudly proclaimed to me that he has 11 friends now. Haha.

I wonder when all this novelty will wear off for him. Hopefully not. Anyway, I am glad that he really likes preschool. I would have a real headache to have to deal with tears at two different locations for two different kids at two different times throughout the whole week. So fortunately at least one kid is happy and feels at ease. Phew!

Primary School Orientation for Standard One Students

This is a belated post as I have been too busy to publish any blog post. In fact, the next few posts are all belated posts too. I have all these blog posts stuck somewhere in my head. Haha.

We attended school orientation for the girl who is in Standard One in a Chinese School this year. The orientation was over two days. The parents are separated from the kids. The kids have their own orientation and the parents attend talks, fill up forms and pay fees.

The first day was mainly talks by the heads of school and teachers. 4 hours of talks in Mandarin! Fortunately I could understand about 70% of it. Hubby could only understand about 1%. It was quite tiring to have to sit through 4 hours of talks in Mandarin. Phew!

The second day we had to fill up forms and pay fees. School fees and books came up to RM350. Ouch! Oh and we musn't forget about the donations must we. We're in a Chinese School. During the talks the head reminded us that we are a government assisted school not a fully funded one, so parents have to pay for electricity bills, maintenance and expansion etc. Hence, the frequent requests for donations.

When handing up forms the class teacher asked us upfront for the donation forms. The lady in front of me mumbled that she didn't have it ready. "Bring it on Monday then" said the teacher. Another mother came to me and asked me to translate the form to her. "Sorry, I don't understand it too and was just about to ask the teacher", I told her. I saw a few people donating RM50 to RM100 so we also followed. Ouch again!

The parents sat in a classroom to fill up the forms. We all looked like we were taking an important test and it felt that way too. We were all anxious. Hahaha. One thing I noticed. Form filling appears to be the mother's job. The mothers sat down and filled up the forms patiently while the dads gathered around in groups and chatted!

During orientation, my girl did shed some silent tears. I saw her eyes were red but she held back her tears and tried to be brave. "I don't like the school. I don't like the teachers. I don't understand what they are saying." she said.

On the second day, we were told to give the kids a dollar to buy food stuff at the canteen. She was happy with that. She bought a packet of fishballs which costs a dollar, using up all her one dollar allocation. :)

However, we decided to cater food for her to help her settle in easier. The school canteen is not very big. During recess which is broken up into two sessions, half the school will rush to buy food. The older ones have no problem but the little ones have to fight in the queue and by the time they get to buy their food, recess is over.

With catered food, all she needs to do is go to the same place with her name and number or it each day and eat whatever is offered for the day. She can learn to buy food and fight for a place to sit later on, all in good time but there is no need for me to rush to teach her too many things for now during this transition period from small school to big school, from English to Mandarin.

I'll write about their first week at school next week.

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