On Monday I had two singing children in the back of my car while we were driving to the Dutch language school. I am used to hearing Luka sing, but it was actually the first time that I heard Kai singing out loud. Apparently they like the emphasis that is put on music and singing here. It also gives me good vibes about the way the are cooping at their new school.
The first two school week are over. They have experienced everything twice. From now on everything will be familiar. Not quite, since I do think that they are missing out on a lot still since they do not speak the language yet.
Kai is coping great. He has a lot of energy and is very enthusiastic about everything that he experiences. In the first week he has been observing a lot which was noticeable because was talking so much when he came home. He clearly had not used up his 7000 words just yet. In the second week he already found some friends. He comes out of the classroom chatting to them. I have no idea how he is able to keep up a conversation in just two weeks, but maybe that is easier in male conversations. Somehow it is working, because he already received his first birthday party invitation. Note to self: if ever in a situation with a new kid in class, invite him/her. Definitely a big and wished for confidence booster.
Luka had a pretty rough first week. She was dead tired when she got home and is not speaking about what she experiences in school. The second week has already been a lot better. She went to school skipping. She is laughing with friends and gives high fives to the lady in front of the school that helps the children cross the street. Who is amazing by the way. That lady is there every day and knows everybody. Not only is she keeping small conversations with everyone but she actually seems to know everyone! She also told me that she saw the confidence of Kai and Luka grow every day.
There are already some things that I find really amazing here in Australian schools. A lot of subjects are being taught by specialist teachers, like PE, art, ICT, Indonesian, choir and music. I come from a country where the preschool teachers give all the lessons (with the exception of PE). I personally do not believe that one teacher can spezialise in every subject. If I take myself as an example. I could have made the decision to become a teacher. I can also be thought how to give music lessons. It would however not be very impressive, believe me. Besides listening to music, it is just not one of my passions. Not everyone can be passionate about everything, so why should a school teacher be?
Another noticeable difference here is that the school has quite a few challenges. One the one hand there are handicapped children. Some children have a very clear mental or physical handicap, some even both. They attend the same classes as all the other children, although they do get extra support at some hours. In Kai’s class, of 30 children, there are two children who are a bit ‘different’ as he puts it. At the same time the school has an above average scoring in the national test. So I figure there are also an amount of children who need extra challanges. All children are being challenged at their own level. How that is managed I have no insight to yet. But a big complement for the teaching staff who seem to manage and challenge all the different children.
Kai and Luka are now involved in two separate activities during lunchtime. One is a German lunch club, where they will be able to communicate in German with others. The other is a cooking class for them to get more involved in speaking English in a fun way. If these are the first indicators of catering to different needs then it is a good start!
Well, there is plenty of time to find out how everything works here. I will be one of the volunteers in Luka’s class, collecting and giving out books, so I hope to get a bit more insight that way as well.