26 February 2009

School Update

I attended "Meet the Teacher" on Monday, 13 February. It was very interesting for me. It was great to meet each of the children's teachers. There were assigned times for the parents to hear directly from the teachers an overview of what is covered in the next few weeks/year.

Zoe's teacher told us that the children will be assessed for the "Best Start" program. The teacher observes and records what the child already knows. It's used in all the schools in NSW. They are busy learning individual letters and the sounds they make. They are taught a story and hand motions for each letter. Zoe especially likes this. This week it's "talking Tess". They have also been learning sight words. This week, Zoe brought home the first of the weekly Readers, "Can We Get a Pet?". I had to laugh because the kindy parents were all gathered together waiting for the children after school. Someone said how was the reader. Another said, lots of strange animals. A third said, Yeah, it must be geared to an American audience. Then they asked me how did I like the Reader. I hadn't really noticed - animals like Moose, Skunk, Racoon, Beaver are not unusual in my vocabulary. Too funny!

Tristan wearing his sport uniform

Tristan's teacher explained that he is in the second year of Stage 1 learning. Each stage takes 2 years to complete. Tristan's class will have swimming lessons for 2 weeks in March. The lessons are every day and take the most of the day, between bus there and back, lessons and lunch. They'll be having class at the Peninsula Leisure Center. Tristan has 20 spelling words and homework each week. Tristan has been bringing his Readers home. He is working hard to get 20 books read (3 times each) so he can achieve the first reward.

I spoke with Tristan's teacher today about his placement and the level of books he's bringing home to read. I think the levels are the same in the US and AUS. I am judging this from having Tristan bring level books home for the last 2 weeks. He must have been rusty or nervous or some combination when they tested him the first day of school because he reads at a higher level. Teacher agreed based on her observations. She is tested him. We'll discuss the results and what we might do next week.

Clara wearing her Sport Uniform - the Yellow Ribbon is for the Victoria Bush Fire Victims

Clara is in Stage 3 learning. She has weekly spelling tests - 30 words a week. Teacher has DEAR time on their schedule - it stands for Drop Everything And Read. Clara can take some University of NSW tests. We have decided that she will take the tests in Mathematics, Writing, and Computer. I told Clara that I think she is getting a better education here....and she agrees.

They each have Aus Kick on Thursdays. They also have library, computer, and Scripture once a week. They have school assembly on Fridays at 1:45. During that time awards are bestowed, that's when Zoe received her award last week. They also sing "Australia Fair", the national anthem of Australia.

Clara has volunteered in the canteen. The canteen is amazing. All the lunches and snacks are fresh made on site. The prices are reasonable too.

Clara likes to walk home most days. Yesterday on her way home from school, she was admiring the Cockatoos, when one pooped on her face!

1 comment:

TheHarriman Family said...

It sounds like you are in a great school! We love hearing all about the cultural differences. How fun! Clara is looking so much like a teenager! I can't believe it.