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

Feb 19, 2010 - Conversations, Parenting, Random    No Comments

Conversations with Georgia: Have a baby?

An on-going obsession in our household is with babies, so Georgia pretends to feed, change, dress and basically anything you do with babies, she does with her Dorothy (a.k.a Thumper). So although it was not surprising this conversation took place, it was still nonetheless very sweet.

Georgia looks at me very intently and then says:

G: Mummy, when you were a baby, and you grew up, did you just decide to have a baby?

Me: Umm…yes

G: Well, I’m going to have a baby too!

Me: That will be nice….

Conversations with Georgia: When I am old….

Georgia is fascinated with gadgets and basically anything that looks as if it may make life a little easier.  She has been impressed by the walk-in baths, the ones with the doors on the side, and fascinated by walking sticks.

So one day as we were getting ready to get in to the bath,

G: Mummy when I am old, please can you get me a walking stick and the open-door bath?

I just burst out laughing….but what a lovely thought.

Jun 23, 2009 - Conversations, Parenting, Random    No Comments

Conversations with Georgia: Brang the past tense of Bring

It’s amazing how Georgia’s english grammar is almost always perfect. We have never attempted to teach or explain to her why we use past tense or present tense – she seems to have picked it up perfectly.

This is evident in the use of : Brang…
As Georgie would say, I brang this baby here today.

After all, if the past tense of sing is sang and the past tense of ring is rang….then why not the past tense of bring be brang!

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?

May 20, 2009 - Books, Parenting    No Comments

Jack and the Beanstalk: Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum

Over the past week, Undy Nursery had been working on a ‘Jack and the beanstalk’ theme.

They read the story, planted beans, watch a show on TV. Georgia is already familiar with the story from an activity sticker book she got about a year or two ago.

This morning, she sang the Fee-fi-fo-fum song and completely had me in stitches. Why, you’d wonder would this song –

I smell the blood of an Englishman
Be he alive or be he dead
I’ll have his bones to grind my bread

 be so funny?

only because – we live in Wales and Undy Nursery School is a ‘Welsh’ School.

I did think they were taking the Welsh-English discontent to extreme until I found out that the words were the original!