Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Trying Weekend

This weekend just gone was trying. In every way you can use the word. We went and had a look-see at the Montessori school in Balmain on Saturday morning. I love Montessori classrooms - they have the most beautiful resources and I love how everything seems to be made from the same wood. I love how it feels a little bit 50s almost. Harriet had a great time looking through all the resources available to the children in the classes she would be in. At one point we were asked to leave a room because Ted was playing with the bells and only the children who went to the school were to be using/touching the materials. Hmmm...methinks the concept of 'Open Day' is a little lost in that.

Anyway, despite my love of the resources the problem with Montessori really seems to be the 'director/ess' of the room (aka the teacher to non-Montessori types). Really, everything starts and ends with them. And unfortunately the teachers just didn't connect with us (or Harriet). One of them made *me* scared! Which is a shame because the fees are about half of what Harry's school charges and goodness knows it would be nice for our mortgage if we didn't have to pay out that each year. And to those who cry "But what about the public school?" I can tell you that from two graduates of the public system, there is just no way we could put our children in the local public school unfortunately. It has no funds, no resources and we've been told that as native English speakers our children would be left to their own devices as the teachers struggled to get ESOL students up to speed. Isn't it sad that they don't have the money to cover that? Plus the insane focus on rewards is less than inspired to say the least.

So, back to our weekend. I made a pair of pants for Ted and you can see him modelling them here. Unfortunately they were about three times too long from the waist to the crotch so a little adjustment or five needs to be made. He, however, thought they were funky. Ted is just so hilarious at the moment. He has a true sense of humour and enjoys teasing me with such ideas as suggesting he have a pancake for breakfast...pause..."poo pancake!" and then collapsing in giggles. At two I can't remember Harriet being particularly into jokes like this, it continues to amaze me how different they are.

Ted also likes to insert an extra syllable in most sentences. So "Go this way" can become "Go this uh-way" which of course sounds like "Go this away". "In-uh bed". "Mandy sea-uh-side" (trans: Milly-Molly-Mandy Goes to the Seaside. Turns out he loves it too, go figure! Adorable). Confusion can occur. However he doesn't get frustrated half as easily as Harriet did/does. He just says it again and again until he's understood. There's a game Harriet plays in Japanese at school which seems to be a bit like "Eeny meeny miney mo". She counts "Ichi, ni, san, shi, go swat-ay kudo sih " (by the way I have NO idea what she's saying beyond the counting and therefore have no idea on how to write it so can all Japanese writers and speakers please a.) forgive me and b.) let me know what's she saying!). Ted LOVES this game and now adds counting to five in Japanese amongst his skills (counting to four in English and recognising all numbers up to 10 as well as most of the alphabet is also in there).

Then in the afternoon we finally broke out Harriet's bike and went to the Sydney Park cycling roads. There's this cool little space where there are faux roads complete with traffic lights, pedestrian crossings, cul de sacs, speed bumps and other surprises for children to cycle around on. We've been meaning to go there for about forever and finally made the trek. It got off to a rocky start with James trying to teach Harry how to ride her bike, but I took over and James took Ted to watch a kite crashing on the hill. A much better combination of skillsets. Harriet was confidently coasting after a little while and even made friends with another girl who was there riding around confidently. As you can see, the most important aspect of her bike riding is ensuring that Bear is involved. Bear's bike seat was a defining force in our purchase of a bike. There was this way cool funky retro yellow bike with white wheels that we were looking at BUT it couldn't hold a doll seat at the rear. So sayonara funky bike.

Here's Ted telling me all about how the kite would go high, high, high in the sky and then...CRASH into the ground. He's been talking about it all week too. He really loved that crashing kite.

Cute Ted Fact #26: When he goes to sleep he has to hold on to the book that he read just before lights out. He grips that book for dear life and if you try to prise it from his fingers you'll very soon realise just how asleep he is.

This week has been hard and I wanted to say a big THANK YOU to my beautiful friend Jay who I know reads this blog. You rock my world gorgeous woman. xxx

1 comment:

Sif said...

Beautiful as a Montessori classroom may be, the Montessori doctrine leaves me cold. They really don't allow for cross pollination of ideas. Everything is so precise and controlled and sectioned off. Montessori seems to stifle creativity to the same extent Steiner does. Both are too prescriptive.

Our children are in public school and we definitely have to supplement their learning even though they attend a well resourced public school where the vast majority of students are English primary language speakers. I see all formal schooling as a compromise, though.