Up until now I’ve raved (mostly) about Georgia’s current experience in Reception in her school (save the social issues with C as I have written about here and here) it has been warm and welcoming with lots and lots of positive influences. I do absolutely love the teaching team in Georgia’s current class, they are very caring and nurturing and take great care over each child.
BUT…(there’s always a but isn’t there?) what I haven’t been so forth coming with has been the fact that my perception of what constitutes an ‘education’ is actually contradicted in some ways by the same positive influences I have been so happy with. Read more »
We have spent the past four days or so in London, mixing both business and pleasure family time. While DH and I alternately attended a work-related conference we decided that as it was the Easter holidays, we might as well have G tag along.
Among the various places we visited and this we did, who would have thought, that the most surprising revelation came in the hotel room.
If you have read some of my earlier posts, you might have guessed that we hardly if ever watch any TV at home. So every holiday, Georgia tries to catch up on what she doesn’t actually miss 😉
At the end of our first day, having visited the British Museum and catching up with TL and Ari, we relented and allowed her some wind-down time, in front of the tele, and of all the things she chooses to watch…..A&E as in Accident and Emergency!
For those of you who might not know, the A&E series here in the UK follows 2-3 real-life A&E patients through their A&E experience, so while some cases might be relatively blood-free, some are completely gore-y.
So anyway, even with the range of Freeview channels on, Georgia chooses to watch this bizarre bloody gore. Both DH and I could not bear to watch, so we distracted ourselves reading, but kept an eye on her, and it was really surprising, she was really genuinely interested and not the least bit fazed by it. I half expected her to have a fitful sleep but was pleasantly surprised.
Among the cases that were on that night, LOOK AWAY NOW if you can’t stomach blood and gore!
– A ladies ear that was almost completely detached during a fall; full-view surgery which included cleaning and disinfecting the ear’s cartilage
– An absurd somewhat bizarre gadget related injury, in which a stylus was lodged in girl’s tonsil (it was sticking out of her mouth) – how, I cannot imagine!
You may look again now.
Through it all, Georgia watched fascinated, with unflinching eyes stuck to the TV. She watched riveted.
So….I wonder is the fear or stomach for blood and gore learned behaviour, or do some people just naturally have a higher threshold? We wondered also if it’s because she does not as yet, have preconceptions of bloodiness and goriness and all of it is just fascinating?
And just after the swimming award we have been issued with a Primary Ballet exam notice…
Now Georgia has not always been very keen on going to ballet.
Although she is a natural dancer with a completely natural sense of rhythm, she has on many occasions moaned and groaned (yes there has even been tears) about going to ballet.
However, once she’s in, she loves it, and she comes out asking to come back again. (You know the saying, children know what they want not what they need?)
So anyway, realising she has to do these Ballet exams, her first reaction is.
G: No, I don’t want to do them
Me: Are you sure? You’ll get a certificate just like the one for swimming…
G: Really ? (her eyes opening wide, at the thought)
Me: Yeah sure.
G: Oh, OK then.
So there we are….Primary Ballet exam – bring it on!!!
Georgia asked for swimming lessons after finding out that one of her favourite little people, Owen, goes.
Obviously at age 4, everything sounds like fun and since she absolutely loved swimming, it must be fun too. That was until the ‘hard work’ started! She has asked to stop them a few times, but has never really ‘acted’ up in class, and actually does very well (the competitive spirit helps). Not to mention, after paying a termly fee of £150, you gotta be kidding me, if I let you change your mind on a whim!
So anyway, according to the tick-boxes, Georgia
has developed safe entries including submersion.
can swimming 10m on front and back,
has progressed rotation skills and water knowledge
She still lacks the strength to do the front crawl (completely); although I think being taught how to breathe properly might help (!). She is a natural at breast-stroke and back stroke though.
So after receiving her Stage 3 certificate, she has now decided she would like to do all the other stages, and she’s excited at the thought of swimming in a competition and winning a medal!
Lately I’ve noticed that I’ve started reflecting a little bit more about what I remember from my ‘growing up’ years and how Georgia’s experiences are.
The phrase ‘Hard Reading-ers’ that Georgia dropped in to conversation yesterday morning, just before school, made me reflect about how and when I first realised that academic achievement was or rather had to be an important goal. I actually remember the exact moment the realisation occurred.
It was in Standard 3, I was nine, I was walking up wooden steps in the ‘old’ block of my primary school, Convent Pulau Tikus, Penang, Malaysia. It wasn’t as if, prior to that, I didn’t know about results and Report Books or that I did not know we had tests to take. I suppose prior to that, it never bothered me, luckily I suppose, because good results came fairly easily. Perhaps because, thankfully, my parents didn’t quite make an issue out of it.
Anyway, I digress (this is a blog about Parenting Georgia!) what I wondered really was, how aware she was of what she was capable of (in terms of academics), and whether this had any bearing on the things or work she had done in school.
She has never felt the need to tell me about what other children are doing in school, or in particular how able they are in their learning, but what I have noticed is that several of her little friends have commented on her reading books, and they have asked, how come she gets different, (harder) ones.
Clearly (or it seems clear to me) from these types of comments, they are quite aware of how they are compared with their peers (self-comparisons?), although I have never noticed this with Georgia, I do wonder why? Yet, perhaps it’s because we do so much with her that it’s a given, the work from school is going to be easy, and our conversations on her school experience focus mainly on the social aspects of it. Who did you sit with at lunch time? What games did you play? Learning questions, are always secondary or maybe even tertiary :).
I wonder if someone will come along and point out, that my realisation of results and academics equate to a ‘loss of childhood’. I am most certain that was not the case though, as the thing that struck me most was, all it did was ignite a hugely competitive fire, I HAD to have straight As, bar Art, PE and Chinese.
Do you remember your first important realisations? Have they affected you or the way you parent?
This morning as we were getting ready for school, we had this conversation.
G: James said that all the Hard Readingers have to go to the front.
Me: What is Hard Readingers? And where is ‘front’?
G: Hard Readingers are the people who read hard books, loh (Hokkien accent). We have to go to the front at Assembly.
So apparently, Georgia is a Hard Readinger. I suppose if they knew, she would also be a Hard Math-er, Hard Cello-er, Hard Writer (that one’s correct ;)) and we would be Hard Demanders!
If the saying ‘You are what you read’ is true, and a large part of me firmly believes so, I am seriously worried about the reading books that are being sent home from school; Georgia’s school and I imagine hundreds of other schools around the country.
If I digress a bit, and generalise an awful lot, and very much through an immigrant’s eyes, Britain and the British are well known as a country of ‘moaners’. They admit it themselves, everything and anything is always ‘dark and gloom’.
In fact, I have a lovely lovely sweet neighbour who is a lovely chap except everytime I’ve ever spoken to him, he complains about something, or other, usually the weather, which he has absolutely no control over! Nothing is ever right.
Anyway, back to those dreaded reading books. Georgia’s reading books from school are from the Oxford Reading Tree series. They’ve been around a while, I gather and I suppose in itself, from an educational perspective, they are fairly well written with step-wise developments on words with progressively more words per page.
What I just can’t get over are the stories and how depressingly negative they are! Bif, Chip and Kipper along with Wilf and Wilma, are on the whole pretty interesting characters (well, as interesting as pen-drawn characters can get). But the things they get up to and the conversations they have though are enough to make me want to slit my wrists! (No kidding!)
Take for example, the latest story Georgia brought home. It’s called At the Seaside.
The words of the story go like this:
The family went on holiday. Wilf and Wilma went, too.
The hotel had burned down. ‘Sorry’ said the man.
They looked at a new hotel. ‘Too expensive,’ said Mum.
They looked at an old hotel. ‘No, thank you,’ said Dad.
Every hotel was full. ‘Sorry!’ said everyone.
They had to go home. But the car broke down.
A farmer stopped his tractor. ‘Can I help?’ he said.
The farmer had a bus. ‘You can stay here,’ he said.
‘What a good holiday!’ said Wilf.
Copyrights OUP 1989
At least this book ends in a slightly more positive note, but really, surely it’s not necessary for children to have such a depressingly negative start. I must add, though, even in the books with slightly perkier or funnier stories, they typically end with ‘Oh no!’
Do you think these (infant and primary school) 5-year old’s reading books could have been a significant contributing factor to how ‘negative’ (again, gross generalisation here!) British society has become?
Georgia came home with a homework sheet on Monday. In it, she was supposed to draw what she wanted to be or do when she grew up.
This was what she drew.
I know Obstetrician is a big word for a 5-year old’s vocabulary, but it’s very specific, she’s not interested in doctor-ing children, just babies, particularly helping mummies with their babies being born.
Yesterday, Georgia’s school (Infants) held a Mothering Sunday service in Church, (yes they did know it was a Monday).
As a parent of a child in a church school, we find ourselves attending church not for religious purposes but mainly for the events the school organises at the church.
I do enjoy these visits; Georgia certainly gets very excited by them and it’s lovely, the effort that the teachers and the school go to, to make each occasion meaningful.
A short introduction by the Reverend, was followed by some really lovely singing by all the children. I don’t think they were hymns but more songs about mums. The one I remember most is ‘Mummy’s love is very wonderful’…in part because Georgia has been singing it over and over again 🙂
And then the time came to give out Mum’s presents ….and Georgia’s class each made a Pot of Love for their mums.
How lovely is that? It even came with instructions!
Georgia has been trying and trying (top marks for persistence) to get us to give her some money for tuck (malaysian equivalent: canteen snacks). I’m at pains to do that, purely because it costs 40p for a snack which might otherwise cost 10p.
My take on that is that, if she needed a lesson in spending money, she could do it without ‘donating’ to the school.
Having said that, this morning, at 6.30am when her little voice piped out, “Please can I have tuck?” She was quite shocked, when I said “Yes”.
And then she tried a little bit more:
G: So you’ll give me money for tuck?
Me: Uh huh.
G: How about if you give me ALL your money?
Me: What would I do then? I need money too.
G: You can go and work and get some more money.
Me: How about if you start doing some work too, and then you can get some money too?
G: (thought for a while and then said) OK, I can work too.
Me: OK. You could draw and write some stories and we could sell those stories?
G: Oh no! … I want to just do work like you. Just e-mail and all that….
Ssshhh…the secret’s out now. I get paid to just email! 😉