Posted in Idle Chatter, school daze

what i did in kindergarten

One of the new nightly traditions around here for my six year-old is the "let me tell you what I did at kindergarten today". Sadie snuggles down into her bed with a stuffed animal (usually a bunny, more recently a pony) and Boo, and usually leads off with, "You know what we do all the time so I don't need to tell you!" to cover the part of her morning that includes hanging up her coat and backpack, changing into her inside sneakers, and finding a spot on the rug in her classroom. And then I hear about what her class might have played in the gym, what letter of the alphabet they're working on, who logged some minutes in the "time-out chair" and whether or not it was a day that they met with the fabulous music teacher. 

And sometimes Sadie asks me what I did when I was in kindergarten.

I think that my kindergarten teacher was pretty fresh out of university, and that sometimes her boyfriend would join our class to play guitar while we sang.

I don't remember much about what I learned about numeracy in kindergarten, but I do recall going through worksheets to practice uppercase and lowercase letters. Neat penmanship earned a sticker, and one of my goals was to end the year with more of these stickers than my friend Eric (I don't think that I did).

There was a sticker chart on the wall, and I know that I had a gold star stuck on it when I learned how to tie my own sneakers (velcro wasn't yet an option!). I'm pretty sure that only reason why I was mastering shoelace tying was to get that gold start and keep up with my classmates. 

My classroom had a sand table, a water table, a nicely-sized "house" with the usual kitchen stuff, table, and doll cradle inside it. There was book nook with a carpet, and the tiny little tables and chairs, of course.

I wanted to wear dresses everyday (obviously, I hadn't yet had the experience about walking across the massive school field in -25C weather!), but I think that I only had two dresses (one yellow with tiny white dots, the other a rose-coloured floral with ruffles), so my mom made me alternate those with pairs of polyester pants in red, blue, and possibly green. When it was cold outside, I wore tights with a small diamond pattern underneath them. I'm not sure how much of my kindergarten waredrobe was bought at a store beyond those polyester pants – I do know that my mom made my dresses and a lot of blouses. My school shoes were brown t-straps like these, which I didn't even consider fashionable in 1980.

I wore a homemode princess costume for Halloween. I think that my crown was cardboard covered with aluminum foil, and my cape was a lovely organza printed with flowers! We also sang a song about yellow pumpkins, and my teacher had hid little tissue ghosts all around the classroom. I was especially good at finding them!

I don't recall how many field trips my class went on, but I know that there was one that was to see a performance, possibly a play or opera version of Cinderella, and we got to go backstage at the theatre and see a dressing room. And there was one that was to a warehouse or factory full of stuffed animals, which kind of blows my mind now, because what were all of those stuffed animals doing in Edmonton? Was it possible that all toys weren't made in China in the 1980's???


Posted in Little Person Updates, sadie the sequel, school daze

those kids that I write about sometimes are still around

There is something sort of backwards about parent-teacher conferences here; I had a twenty-minute chat with my three year-olds preschool teacher (memorable comment: "Sadie applies yellow to all colours indiscriminately") yet had a mere ten minutes to cover four months of progress with Madeline's second grade teacher. 

Regardless of the brevity of the latter conference, everyone is doing fairly well. Even if I don't like how much of an informational black box Madeline's school is, she's happy to participate and her teacher has really been encouraging her reading skills. Madeline's entire grade – so, about 115 students – put on a play last week; Neverland had an astoundingly large population of pirates and Lost Boys, but Madeline sang and danced and spoke her one line in the play with enthusiasm.

Sadie is moving up from the Caterpillar Room to the Butterfly Room. Her preschool supports the multi-age classroom concept, and I think that she's the oldest kid in her current class. I am a little sad that she won't be finishing off the year with her current teacher and friends, but I also think that it will be nice that she'll be familiar with the new room and teacher before the summer break. In theory, this should make the transition back to school in August easier, right? 


Posted in elementary, dear madeline, ex-pat confidential, madeline vs BKK, saigon, baby, school daze

january’s theme: too busy to post

Today, at the first toddler playgroup of the year, I was expecting to exchange "Happy New Year"s with the other parents, so the excited "Oh my gosh, I can't believe how fabulous that Villa Market you had in BKK is!" from one of the moms that I am friendly with caught me off-guard. And it was funny to me – I can remember when I was extremely frustrated with grocery shopping in Bangkok and Villa seemed anything but fabulous, but now, having a Villa Market nearby would seriously make my year. I miss being able to buy edamame and sweet potato fries (and frankly, a whole lot of familiar comfort food) for my kids. Grocery shopping in Saigon means that I am confronted with whole aisles of MSG packages and I've been to three different shops looking for whole wheat flour and haven't found it yet. I am very homesick nostalgic for my former life in Thailand these days … 

Madeline's class wasn't assigned any homework over the break, and she vehemently refused to have anything to do with practicing math, no matter how many times her dad bugged her about it. "I don't have any homework ! I am on a holiday!" she would tell us, sharply. I usually laughed when they were having a row over homework, because she spent so much of the break from school reading – reading signs, websites,  and subtitles (in Toy Story 3, our latest DVD purchase) – and I guess she never thought about the practice that she was getting! (And I can't begin to express how amazed I am that I have a child who can REA !)

I am also amazed, this evening, at what some of my fellow foreigners in Saigon try to get away with. We have a web-community here, "Nguyen's List", if you will, and today there was a post from someone who  would be delighted to sell a second-hand Maclaren Triumph baby stroller for $230 USD, which is plenty more than what they cost brand-new. I am somewhat tempted to post that I am giving away a second-hand Mac Triumph for free, just to stop someone from being taken advantage of. Sigh.

I'd write more but my husband is newly addicted to Angry Birds and playing it right next to me!