Posted in Moving

First day of school back in our home country

Luka is starting her first day of school in the Netherlands today. After having lived in Australia for the last three years we moved back to the Netherlands last month. With it still being summer holiday, the new school year did not start until today.

We moved to a new city and Luka is starting at a brand new school. Although she has lived in the Netherlands for 7 years and speaks Dutch, English is now as her native language. At the moment it is easier for her than Dutch. When she speaks Dutch it takes a bit longer, as she translates from English.

No more ‘mama-taxi’ to bring the kids to school. The Netherlands is a bicycle country, where a bicycle is a mode of transport. With separate bike paths almost everywhere and bicycles having many rights on the roads. Most kids know how to ride a bike before they can even walk.

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Flashback to 2008: Luka, not even three months old is riding ‘on’ the bike

As all kids ride bicycles this means that car drivers have bicycle experience as well and know how to pass a bicycle with care. This was not always the case in Australia, where Oliver once got hit by the rear view mirror of a car when riding his bike.

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One thing that remained the same is the lunchbox that she brings to school.

Her school starts at 8.30 am and ends at 2 pm. The difference being that the breaks are A LOT shorter than in Australia.This came as a big shocker to Luka.

Recess:  15 vs 30 min
Lunch: 30 vs 60 min

Another big difference is that there is no school uniform in the Netherlands.

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Luka picked a colorful schoolbag, no more school backpack with school logo

I still remember her first day of school in Australia as if it was yesterday.

Wow, it is almost 2 o’clock, time to pick Luka up again. I wonder how her first day went. I can not wait to hear her stories!

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Posted in School

Very last day of Primary School

When I was driving Kai to school this morning I realised that this is the last time I will be driving him to Primary school. Ever.

After six years of primary school (and a year of prep) the time comes for a new chapter. Moving on to secondary school. Primary school in Australia closes off with graduation. I knew graduation from high school in America, which is a big happening, but I did not expect a big event for primary school. How wrong was I? Continue reading “Very last day of Primary School”

Posted in School

Showcase 2017 – Luka on Stage

With our one way ticket to Europe in our pocket, we have entered the ‘last time to…’ stage. Since we have two children in an Australian Primary School, this has played a big part in our daily life.  Without a doubt one of the most memorable school experience is Showcase.

Showcase is the biggest event for Essex Heights Primary School and it is quite impressive. It is a very professionally run show, with all the children singing and playing instruments on a large stage. We are talking ages 5 to 12 year here. If you close your eyes, that is sometimes easy to forget. Don’t believe me? Close your eyes and listen to the performance of the Year 3-4 choir, roughly 160 eight to nine year olds:

Next to the regular curriculum that all schools have to follow, each Australian school has a focus on special area – whether that is in sport, arts and/or culture. This is what makes each school unique and different from the other. I guess this is what has impressed me most here.

Singing lessons are part of the curriculum and you can choose to learn how to play an instrument. In Year 4 they play the Marimba, so everyone gets to learn how to play an instrument.

Luka is in Year 4 and started flute lessons at the start of last year. She has lessons during school time and band practice before school. Because of this she ended up being on stage five times: Combined Bands, Marimba Ensemble, Year 3-6 Choir, Year 3 &4 Choir and the school song. So no doubt that in the run up before Showcase a lot of time went into the preparation. Quite an experience to be involved in such a large production, but since they do this from the start of school it is something that becomes natural to them, at least that is how it looks.

We will try to make a short movie with an impression of the whole night. So stay tuned.

Posted in Daily life, School

Primary School Sport in Victoria

Melbourne is a city that hosts a lot of major sports events, so there is great enthusiasm in both watching and participating. That love for sports gets seeded very early on in Australia. Next to the normal sports hour in school, there are after school sport activities, sports days and inter school sports – competitions against other schools.

In the almost two years that we lived here, Kai has qualified for some of the school teams, so we got to see what the competition is like. Here is our experience. Continue reading “Primary School Sport in Victoria”