Tuesday, February 17, 2009 ;
10:34 AM
13 Feb
Nursery class activities

I spent the rest of the day in the Nursery class after the Tibetan cultural exchange.

ds2's teachers have invited me to join them for the day a few times before but I kept having other stuff on. Finally I responded, and what a fun day I had!

When I got to the classroom after the Cultural Performances, I was greeted with such a fragrant smell that got me hungry! The smell of waffles!

See how popular Ms M suddenly is? All the kids crowded around her, waiting for their turn. ds2 is tucking into his heart-shaped waffle.

Also seen in the pic is the playdough station. One of ds2's favourite activities.

Painting time. ds2 does very messy painting and colouring or drawing. I am heartened to see that most of his friends are the same too. Back home in Spore, that is not the case. His peers seem to all draw very well and paint proper things. ds2 just does big and small circles or brushes over the whole piece of paper.

Puzzle time. The teachers apologised to me for the mess. What mess? I don't think it looks any worse than my house, so it's good!

During this time I just wandered around, helping where I can. I was treated to the yummy waffles too!

I realised they didn't need as much help as the preschool ds1 was at last time in Utah though. In Utah, there was only 1 teacher to about 6 kids. So if there was a mess, I could help clean up while she concentrated on teaching.

But here, there are 2 teachers, 1 teaching assistant and an ayi. I was going to help pick up some crumbs on the carpet when the ayi came swooping in with a vaccum cleaner. Then I walked over to pack the playdough away so the kids can have snack time, but the TA who was already working on it said I can go play with the kids, no problem.

So I just slacked the whole time and walked around patting different kids' heads and talking to them. Very fun.

Snack time!
ds2 put his raisins onto his water bottle cover and kept flinging them around as missiles. I was horrified and told him to stop but he cheekily continued. The teachers said he is not usually like that. Probably did that for my benefit!

His main teacher even said, "I know it's hard but kids always tend to behave differently when parents are around. My kids do that to me too."

During toilet time, ds2 was especially clingy too, wanted me to pull up his pants and hold his hand. The TA said he does it himself everyday! But when I am here, I have got to help him! Man!

It was raining outside the previous day and that morning the sand was still wet, but the kids begged and begged to play outside during free play, so the teacher relented. I was freezing when I went out with them. And to think both ds always didn't have their hats and gloves on!

ds2 was running about with his hood on, fortunately, but he refused to wear his gloves. Ah well, he did this for the worst part of winter already, so nevermind. I hadn't expected the school playground to be so cold. I think it is because of the wind, it somehow blows in very strongly (Bernoulli effect?). Even the teacher and I who were chatting while keeping an eye on the kids had to stand in the small spot where there is some sunlight. Too cold this week.

Look at the other good kids, wearing their beanies and snow pants.

Seeing how they play in the sand provides valuable insight for me. I finally understand how come ds2 can get mountain heaps of sand in his shoes, pants pockets, hair and jacket pockets. Also in his underwear!

He also rode the scooter while his friends cycled. ds2 looks like he is more cautious than ds1. If it were ds1, he might have been more aggressive with the skate scooter and got into more scrapes and crashes with the other kids. ds2 got his foot run over a couple of times by his friends on the bikes but it didn't bother him!

This video clip stopped suddenly at the end cos I thought his friends were going to ride right into him once again. haha.

When they got back into class, every kid was having a runny nose. You know, that normal reaction to the cold wind? I was sniffling too but adults wipe the sniffles away. The kids are so cute, every one with 2 runny lines down the nose into the mouth.

No wonder ds2 always returns home with 2 dried streaks below the nose.

My ayi remarked to me before about ds2's shoes full of sand. She said local Chinese schools would pour the sand away for the kids. And they'd dust the kids' clothes well before sending them home. They'd also clean the kids' faces properly.

Another mom told me that local schools ensure the kids drink water at fixed times and go to the toilet too. They also watch the kids when they eat. At preschool stage, they will help feed the kids too. They will ensure the kids finish all their food too.

The Western schools and Chinese schools are different in this sense.

ds2 doesn't drink his water if no one reminds him. But he has since learnt because I got angry with him bringing home the full water bottle every day, untouched. So he does that independently now. And he feeds himself. He might not finish his food, and whatever is left is in the snack box for me to see.

He does get into accidents. Sometimes he pees in his pants on the bus because he fell asleep (and because he did not go to toilet in school at all). And every day he comes home with dirty streaks on his face, paint on his clothes, marker ink on his fingers, sand and dried playdough bits in his shoes, hair and clothes.

Which system do you prefer?

I have gotten used to this one, so I am fine. I wasn't too happy with his dried mucus-encrusted face initially, and his frozen urine on the pants. Cos the wet pants freeze up in the sub-zero temp, and his thighs are pink and blue when I change him at home. But, he hasn't suffered anything serious for this.

The kids learn independence early I guess. In the process, they might get sick a little more, and much dirtier, but they are still happy.

To get them less rowdy and calm them down in an organised manner after the exuberant high from playing outside, there is music and movement!

ds2 got whacked on his head by the rhythm stick his friend was holding and cried, but only for 2 seconds cos the music came on and he started dancing!

Both ds are similar in this aspect. They may not follow the teacher or the music. They dance their own steps. So ds2 also provided lots of laughs for me, Dh and ds1. He was doing everything differently from others!

This is the second part of the "Jack in the box" song. I find this song very cute and catchy. Just listening to it once that day made me hooked on the tune.

Ds2 had this "punch the air" move, wonder who he learnt that from.

There a girl dancing beside ds2 who said "Owww!" towards the end. At first I thought ds2 bumped into her but it was another girl hidden by the bookshelf who did. She only showed herself towards the last part of the clip.

After the action-packed songs, they were then asked to sit down and then sing another song. Also with actions but not as energetic. It effectively gets them to transit into a quieter calmer mood.

Notice ds2 will regularly check if I am still there, watching him? The teachers told me his best friend in class is the one in light blue sitting next to him. They hold hands when they walk to the library, so sweet.

Then it was Library time. Each class has a Library period and during then, the Librarian teachers will read them a story (lower grades) and then they can pick a book to check out and bring home for the week. They return that book the next week when they have Library period again. For higher grade levels, they are given projects or topics to research during the Library period and then they also get to borrow books home.

Since the start of school last year, both boys usually bring home more non-fiction than fiction. Books about dinosaurs, insects, birds, trains, aeroplanes, soldiers etc. Sometimes ds1 brings home DC magazines on Superman, Batman.

A couple of times, they came home with Greek legends, Fairy tales (Aesop fables, Grimm Brothers, Hans Christian Andersen) and some silly tales. I have enjoyed most of those titles they chose. When I was a child, I read a lot more fiction, so I am learning to appreciate their passion for non-fiction and gaining new knowledge each day (eg what kinds of spiders have 6 eyes, 8 eyes?).

ds2's class listening to the Head Librarian's rendition of "Panda, Panda, What do you Hear?". Both Librarian Teachers told me both my boys are always super attentive during the story sessions, and Dh pointed out that this random photo definitely proves that. ds2 does look mesmerized, despite the fact that we have read this same book together countless times already.

After they pick their books from the shelves, they queue up to check the book out. It is very cute to see them observing the rules, saying hi to the teachers and then saying "Thank you!" when they receive their book after it's been checked out.

After this, it was time to go home, cos ds2 is on the half day programme. Only 6 are on the half-day schedule. So I joined the school bus which will bring us back home. Just before going home, ds2 had his moment in giving out the candy and cookies and star boxes to his teachers and friends. He was so happy and proud of himself!

His teachers were so sweet and lovely by gushing over their gifts, even the lone cookie, and giving him hugs and kisses, so you can imagine how delighted he was with the attention.

After we reached home, he said he wanted to bake more cookies to give out again!

rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow

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