Monday, April 27, 2009 ;
7:17 AM
10 Apr

The Kindy class organised this event in conjunction with the current theme of modes of transport.

All the kids could bring whatever they want to school, as long as they had wheels. So they could bring bicycles, tricycles, roller blades or even remote-controlled cars. Just as long as they can have fun with their friends.

Parents are invited along for a morning tea.

ds1 brought his bike of course. He loves his bike. The school kindly arranged for the parents (like me) who don't have own transport to send the bike in with the school bus. The bus driver will place the bikes in the luggage compartment at the bottom of the coach.

ds1 brought his helmet and guards and gloves to school himself. See, he put them on by himself and got the helmet the wrong way. But I didn't point it out lah. Sometimes, needn't point out all his mistakes... :-)

Here he is with his good friend, JH. JH is his best Korean friend. JH brought roller blades. He looks so cool.

After riding a few rounds, ds1 himself stopped for a water break. Good to see him so independent in school, when at home, I have to chase him around the whole day, asking him to drink water (cos Tianjin's weather is very very dry, once they don't drink enough, they start to have cracked lips, nose bleeds, sore throat).

The school has these wagons. The kids who don't know how to cycle or prefer to play in the courts than cycle can use these. They are so much fun!

But ds1 liked to ride too much, so he didn't ride on the wagons at all.

There were double-tandem trikes too.

Soon after, the kids tried to cram as many of them into the wagon as possible. It was entertaining for me as well. They were shrieking away, haha.

Another friend brought the wiggle scooter (also known as "plasma car racer", "twist and swing car"). I first tried it in Singapore in 2006 and then saw it again in the Discovery Museum in Utah in 2007.

Even after a numerous encounters, I still marvel at the ingenuity of the person who came up with it. A mechanical wonder. It can go forward, reverse, turn etc just by twisting the steering wheel. You do not need leg power at all. Just keep the feet on the feet pads on the wiggle scooter and twist and turn with your hands.

Sof's mom was so keen on this that she borrowed it from YK and rode on it around the track herself! A woman of 30+ racing around with the kids. All the moms laughed at her. But she didn't care, she had loads of fun.

3 musketeers? This reminds me of Slumdog Millionaire. I watched it on DVD here in Tianjin. It's very unforgettable, and of course made me cry.

The kids who were playing on the courts.

Clip of ds1 riding around the track.

The teachers had 2 bikes themselves, with seats behind, so they also got the kids who wanted rides to queue up and get a turn.

This is the queue for the ride with the teachers. They get to go on the teachers' bikes for one whole round on the track. ds1 also didn't do this cos he was still racing around on his bike! He rides too fast, rather dangerous, so fortunately he has safety gear on, otherwise I might not be able to relax and enjoy the morning tea.

The last half hour was dedicated to S's dad, a German guy who volunteered his time to come show the kids how to change a car tyre (or tire, if you're American).

One of the kids had asked this Q during the inquiry cycle phase of the UOI, so now they are getting their answers!

S's dad is a very funny guy, so the kids laughed a lot and were very engaged in the demonstration. He not only showed them how to change a tire, he taught them the terms of the jack, the wheel etc in German as well.

And he also made them calculate how many nuts and screws each wheel has and therefore how many the whole car needs (on the wheels only).

The kids are raising their hands eagerly to answer the different Qs he posed them. ds1 as usual, put his hand up for every single Q. He is so enthusiastic!

After that, since it was 12pm already, I decided to join ds2 in his class then follow the school bus back home (i.e. catch a free ride, haha).

Their last period on Fri is Library, so I went there in time to catch him being so very exuberant in the library. His best friend (on-and-off) in class, Is, is shown in the foreground.

One of the best things I like about them being in this school is that the school is all the way till Grade 12. I like it that the moment they start school, they feel like they are part of a huge family, with many older "brothers and sisters".

ds2 is on the half day program and so does not meet as many older kids, and he doesn't have CCA yet. But ds1 has so many friends from the upper grades, and he has learnt so much from them.

They also get to enjoy facilities that were built for kids of all ages in mind. So they learn to navigate in a bigger setting.

For eg, the library. If we were back home in Singapore, I'd probably put them in a PAP kindy or some kindy where there'd at most be 4 levels, from age 3 to 6 (nursery, pre-K, K1, K2). The library would be entirely for these ages. I don't suppose they'd have a teacher-librarian, nor would they have to have library cards and check books out themselves. I wouldn't know, maybe the expensive ones like Pat's Schoolhouse and Eton Preschool have, but not those I would've sent my kids to, anyway.

And the playground, or the cafeteria, or the entire school building. The kids have to learn how to get around. From his classroom to the toilet, how to go and come back. From the Chinese class or PE lesson in the gym, how to get back to his classroom or how to go to the cafeteria from there, if it is lunchtime?

Having different types of equipment in the playground. A huge spider web for older kids. ds1 told me he climbed right to the top where the big boys are. He felt so happy. If he were in a normal kindy, they'd have the appropriate playgym set for the kids aged 3-6. ds1 will not feel that proud of himself, I guess. So it's good for challenging himself constantly, and good for his self-esteem?

Of course, there are disadvantages to everything. That could be another post on its own. Both ds have learnt so many words and songs that must've only been from the mouths of older kids. Both of them fight and get beaten up a lot more than if they'd been in a little kindy.

Both of them, but especially ds1, have been bullied and made fun of by older or bigger kids.
Like ds1 told me, while climbing up a metal structure in the playground during lunch, he fell from the 3rd level, and knocked his elbow really hard on the metal piece below, nearer the ground. He said all the older boys laughed at him. It was really painful, but ds1 has learnt to laugh together with the rest.

A few months ago, he'd have been very very mad that others laughed at him and he'd have cried.
His friend, R, took him to the school nurse. That's how I learnt of the incident, cos the nurse left a note in his school comm book about an ice pack to his elbow, but that it wasnt serious because he could still move the elbow joint.

Back to the events on that day.
On the ride back, my usually clingy ds2 didn't sit with me but asked to sit with Xiaomei (literally translated as "little beautiful")!!! He ditched his mom for a pretty girl, so soon??!?

And the worst thing was, his best friend, Is, asked to sit with him but he refused and sat with Mei instead. That fellow. Back home, I told him to be nice to Is also, and please sit with him in future.

A boy needs his buddies too, right?

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