Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Star C Class at Venus Kindy

To those who want to read... and read... and read...

By local standards, we are paying quite a fair bit for Rosabelle’s bilingual kindy – though we can get a discount if we pay upfront for a semester (i.e. 5 months). She gets a half-day English teacher in class, an American lady - some ‘bilingual’ kindys only provide one hour of English and charge similarly…), but importantly, I feel that she’s happy here. Over the weekends, when we get back to school (like today, after China had its 3-day holiday for Labour Day), a lot of kids cry and refuse to go to school as they are used to days of having their families around them and can’t switch into school mode so quickly. For Rosabelle? She tells us ‘I want to go to school’ over the weekends, and though she was clingy for the first few days, she learnt to just automatically walk over the hold the teachers’ hands when I send her off. When she missed school one day when she was sick, she got all gloomy and when probed, admitted it’s because she misses school, haha!

So thankfully, it is a HUGE relief for me as I can’t imagine the emotional torture of having to question whether sending her to kindy so early is the right thing. I console myself thinking that if this were in Singapore, she would have started school in January already, heh! Teacher says she participates more actively during English lessons (at least in the beginning), and loves kids, kissing/hugging them, and is much better at retraining from beating kids. They figured it being a new environment, she just wanted to protect herself and make sure that these are all friendly people first before she let down her guard (rawrrrr!). Sometimes it’s also out of affection but she just greets people a tad too roughly, heh! She even knows it’s wrong and will come to the teacher and admit her mistake.

From discussions with the teachers and their monthly feedback (which I in turn give feedback upon), the teachers say she’s a natural leader, sings loudly in class (to the point of screaming at times!), knows who are her friends (and will even ‘chope’ seats for them at meal times – Oh no, so Singaporean!), has a long attention span (of about 30 minutes, as compared to others who can only focus on one task for about 15 minutes before getting distracted), and has a strong drawing foundation. They all know that Rosabelle can relate things pretty well, or more specifically, the mother (i.e. yours truly) will clarify with the teachers if I hear of anything strange/suspicious. It’s good because kiasu/kiasi mummy can then ‘check’ on what they are doing in school, especially now she knows the teachers’ names and stop referring to them as Ayi (haha!). She also knows her friends’ names now, as opposed to ‘我不知道!' when I first asked her. Her favourite teachers differ from time to time, like Xiaoxue Laoshi who puts her to sleep, or Meng meng Laoshi who brings her to the toilet, or Sammit Laoshi who carried her to the doctor’s to apply ointment on her head when she fell from the playbed and hit the side one day).

I pick her up most days, and they don’t allow us in until 5pm as parents can get noisy waiting at the lobby, and these days, we can only fetch from outside the gate as apparently, there was another recent attack in a Chaoyang kindy, sigh… But at least they really do their checks – when Wayne picked her one day as I purposely hid in a corner, the teacher checked with the security uncle who confirmed Wayne is the father.

When I start work next week, Nainai will do the honours of fetching her, heh (that! It’s good that this kindy takes precautionary measures, like when Rosabelle fell sick over the Qing Ming weekend (just when we were raring to go to the zoo with some of the friends…), with a mysterious fever shooting up to 39.8 degrees, where I had to give her fever and cough medicine. She had red spots of her palms, nothing like HFMD (not raised), just spots maybe from the high temperatures in her body, but when I let her sleep in late and go to school late that day at 9:30am (she asked ‘where are my friends?’ when we got to the classroom), the school doctor took a look and advised me to bring her back to rest properly, and also in case the rest of the kids were infected. Oh well… that would be what I expect of other kids so that I know my girl is safe.

Only thing is when Wayne does not fetch us (business trips – that’s when our girl misses him and asks for Papa to sleep with her, and chats with him when he gets back till she falls asleep, wanting him to be around everywhere in the house with her, so sweet; or can’t drive on Tuesdays), sometimes it’s hard to take a taxi from our place to her school (and back) because with increasing oil prices, and parking charges that have increased at least two-fold, a lot of people are not driving cars, so getting a taxi is next to impossible during peak hours, not to mention when it rains at times. I’ve had to resort to taking a shuttle bus from Carrefour to just about anywhere and hop off and take a cab home. So these few times, I have a standing agreement with a ‘black cab’ driver to pick us up – he charges RMB5 more than another guy, but his car is bigger/cleaner, and he seems more reliable, heh! If it works out well, we will use him long-term for sending Rosabelle to kindy, then me to work. However, this driver does not work in the evenings and especially if we need to bring back the bedding every two weeks, lugging so many things and walking a distance, then waiting for a cab, is not funny!

There was once when there absolutely wasn’t any cab nor even black cab to take, and we took the bus! Luckily our was the second stop from the depot, so there were seats, and we took about 4 stops and got down, but walking there and carrying her for about 10 minutes to get to school sure wasn’t funny! In the end, we reached school late close to 8:40am, and along the way, she asked where we were going. When she finally saw her school, she actually shrieked and was so excited, haha! Or on another time when I quickly booked a cab when going to fetch her, as it was going to rain, or yet another time when I struck gold and as I was walking in the rain after having come down from the bus, I saw a cab and quickly stopped him, asking him to wait for me as I picked Rosabelle from school – can’t imagine walking out to look for a cab carrying so many things in that weather!

Overall, I really am quite happy with the kindy – they even organized an excursion – the whole school went to Beijing World Park on one morning, and though I packed biscuits/grapes etc for her, she did not eat them as the teachers decided the kids should not carry their heavy bags, so they brought food for them. They also use Sanyuan milk, which is reassuring, given so many new cases of milk-tainting in China these days, sigh…

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