Browsing "Philosophy"
Dec 7, 2010 - Parenting, Philosophy    No Comments

A Tale of Two Schools….and having a choice to make.

Choosing a School

I have been meaning to write about this ever since G started at her ‘new’ school, and that was back in September!

In between we’ve had the ‘New School’ experience, the Malaysia-n trip and now we’re in the midst of all the Xmas festivities I realised that I had better write about it before the year ran out!

Choosing a school can be as easy or as hard as you like it to be really, and at the end of the day, the child is still going to get an education (good or bad – is relative). We all want to do what is right and what is best for our children and so we make the effort and visit schools, talk to teachers, head teachers, other parents, listen to friends and relatives and basically anyone who has an opinion. But at the end of the day – the choice is your own and only your own to make.

I suspect it’s actually quite easy if there was no choice and there was only one school, but as we live within the catchment area for two, both very good, under-subscribed schools – it becomes a bit more complicated.

In signing Georgia up to the nearest nursery (attached to a school), rightly or wrongly convenience was completely the basis of my decision – it was a 5 minute flat walk away. If you like me, have grown up being driven and driving everywhere (blame malaysian weather!), and have a very reluctant walker for a child (I wonder why?) you would understand my motives. Still…it was a nice nursery and she absolutely loved one or two of her teachers, and that was nice.

There were however always sneaky little things that quite upset me. The children seemed to have to ‘fight their corner’ a lot. Sharing although emphasised verbally – never seemed to be practised. I noticed a change in behaviour in Georgia in that she used to be very sharing and giving and after a while she stopped and started to be more selfish and wary about sharing. I used to think it was a growing phase and time and time again we would keep telling her that visitors won’t take your toys home – but the message never really got through.

By this time, I had assumed that that was the way things were going to HAVE to be, and that that was the cultural difference. Fighting your corner, or standing up for yourself was always something associated with the Western culture, the submissive, respectful, silent accepting Asian never quite behaved like that! That is until I was convinced to actually go and have a look at the OTHER school!

And what a difference! Yes it is a church school (no we are not christians nor are we religious in any way) but it was amazing to see that with less than 1 mile between the two schools, you would not imagine two more different schools.

The children are actually happy going to school. Their teachers love and care about them and try so hard to make everyone feel welcomed. Georgia’s, now Class Teacher said to me “We have the best children in the World in our class!” I felt like hugging her there and then!

The children among their peers are so friendly and happy and they are always so concerned about their little friends and they willing share everything and take turns!

It sounds like quite the model school doesn’t it? Except that on paper i.e. ESTYN (OFSTED equivalent) reports, this school isn’t Outstanding, it’s only a Good, but in my experience and in talking to all the other parents at this school. No, it’s not perfect, there are computers that could work better, more space for the classes would be good, an enclosed outdoor space that the school could call it’s own would be fantastic, BUT the bottom line is, the children are happy there!

I’m happy that Georgia is there….she makes a big fuss about not wanting to go every morning – but that’s another story!

I suppose the lesson I’ve learnt is that there are Outstanding schools and there are Better than Outstanding schools, the question is whose list are you ticking off? If it’s your own, then you must be going down the right track. My criteria was a school that was going to treat my child as an individual, help her acheive all that she could with enough challenges to keep it exciting yet not too much that it would overwhelm her, and for now, I’m happy with my choice.

Are you? What were the things you looked for when looking at schools?

Conversations with Georgia: Noah's Ark

Georgia mentioned that she saw a video clip about Noah’s Ark in school yesterday, so this morning I asked her…

Me: So what did you learn about Noah’s Ark yesterday?
G: Noah?
Me: Yeah…
G: Noah …..washed all of the BAD people away! (She explained this complete with actions – with a ‘wooshing’ motion)

It was actually quite funny….but the conversation carried on.

Me: Are you sure that was Noah?
G: Yes…wasn’t it?
Me: I thought it was supposed to be God?
G: Oh yeah…maybe it was.

Now….was that¬†REALLY the reason for the big flood? Because I’m sure we could use it in some countries ūüôā

Conversations with Georgia: Mummy, when were you a baby?

We’re in the car travelling back home from Cardiff when a little voice in the back seat asks:

G: Mummy, when were you a baby?
Me: Oh that was quite a long time ago.
G: So where was I when you were a baby?
Me: You were not born yet…
G: Yes but where was I?

…. what would you have said, given that Georgia is just over 3 years old.

Dad eventually joins the conversation:

D: Mummy and daddy did not know each other then, we were only babies. So you were not born yet.
G: But why?

Jan 6, 2009 - Philosophy    No Comments

In a Big Girl Bed now…

The Tomy bed guard came off¬†about a week¬†before Christmas when Georgia decided that she was going to be a big girl now and sleep in a ‘Big Girl Bed’.

It has worked well so far with the duvet pinned in the sides of the bed to keep her from rolling off – it hasn’t happened yet…fingers crossed!

Nov 13, 2008 - Parenting, Philosophy, Random    No Comments

A little distraction…

It’s hard to find ‘the’ balance, and harder still when it’s emotionally relevant.

I try to find a little time in my day for my own ‘me’ time, usually when Georgia’s napping and I always aim to fill that time constructively. Now constructively does not mean for my sanity or peace of mind, constructively really means – a sense acheivement. These days it’s a case of finishing up my 2 000 or 3 000 word chapter to meet my mid-Dec deadline of the Principles textbook.

Typically though, procrastination rules and i often find that in that one hour of time that i have, it is swallowed completely by writing long chatty emails to my classmates the other side of the world (Marie in Aus, Jac in Penang, Mei in US); stopping a while to catch up on Facebook, reading reading and more reading – The Star, BBC News….and worse of all are the lovely often deliciously provocative blogs of other mummys. Why and how are they able to acheive so much in the same amounts of time that I have in a day?

The bigger questions arrives every Thursday, for this is when Georgia spends a full day at St Johns. I’m so glad that she is now a full time convert – it has no longer become a war to get her going to St Johns.

It is also when I arrive home from Tescos after our early morning grocery shop before ‘school’ and I find the house unusually lonely and quiet. And as I try to focus my attention to the seemingly¬†mountainous task of writing I am distracted by the quietness of the house.

Without Georgia here, there is a sense of stillness which so easily slips in to occasional awarenes of looming loneliness.

I do¬†miss my girl when she’s at nursery.

Happy happy happy!

The wisdom of our children forever astounds.

A couple of days ago, after a fairly traumatic day which involved my often shouting – No! No! No! to Georgia, we had a very enlightening conversation. I’m sure all Parenting Experts will at this point say¬†‘She’s challenging her boundaries’.

I asked her, “Do you like Mummy being angry?”

Her immediate vehement response, “No!” and then she goes on to say…

“I like mummy to be happy happy happy,¬†and daddy and Georgie to be happy happy happy!”

Now, please tell me, how do I help her maintain this as a life-long policy?

Sell it to another little baby….

A lesson on Impermanence. What is a good age to teach impermanence?

Georgia, aged 2 years 4 months has now learnt that when she grows out of her things – clothes, shoes, toys etc., the get passed on…usually by way of Ebay.
I do wonder though whether it’s good/healthy/ decent parenting ?

On one hand, we do explain that we will be able to buy new things with money made from the sales of the old, on the other, should a 2-year-old really be that aware?

'Me' is You and 'You' is Me

Not that I’m a paranoid parent or anything, but ocassionally i check Georgia’s developments againsts ‘Your child should be doing….’ lists through random google searches. Mainly to know what to expect, and of course the ‘kia su’ in me, jumps for joy when I find out that her development is way advanced for her meagre two-years.

So anyway, I remember reading recently that, at two, expect your child to attempt to use ‘me’ and ‘you’ but also to mix them up, and that is precisely what Georgia has been doing.

‘Mummy, or-or with you’¬†

‘When mama talks to you….’

‘Daddy, po-po you’

Feb 28, 2008 - Parenting, Philosophy    No Comments

Fighting her own corner…

We went for Georgia’s two year assessment this morning and it all went really well….except for the bit (now¬†burned in my mind)¬† that the Health Visitor commented that Georgia would probably benefit from some group interaction to ‘learn to fight her own corner’.

Why would my sweet two year old child need to learn to fight her own corner?!

She’s a perfectly confident little Miss, and is quite happy to assert herself when she needs to but beyond that, she doesn’t like pushing and shoving around and is happy to wait until everyone has had their turn.

So how can learning to fight her own corner then be associated with ‘learning to be confident’? This is what the HV decided to turn it in to when I protested that as ‘Asians’ (Orientals in British terms)¬†we do NOT fight. Perhaps it didn’t come across right, I certainly don’t mean we are ‘walk-overs’ but I have found that typically we tend to ‘let¬† things lie’ to avoid confrontation unless really necessary.

Still this doesn’t mean that Georgia is lacking in confidence…granted she is placid and quiet but she doesn’t sit by and get bullied. She quite happily fights back for her own toys if they are snatched from her.

Still I can’t see how going to play group is going to, in the words of the¬†HV,¬†encourage her to put up her hand in class to say “I know the answer”.

After all, from what I gather, the typical attitude in UK schools is based on….it’s NOT cool to be clever!
Now THAT’S significantly more worrying!