Monday, January 21, 2013

Still crying

Now let me see...*counts the days on the calender*

It's been 14 days since Peanut started her school, and my goodness, she's still crying I'm quite mentally and emotionally prepared for this because she's a mummy's girl and is very, very sticky to me. So I more or less expect this from her. My mum told me I took a month to recover from the shock of going to school when i first went to kindy, and I vomitted almost everyday (really pity the poor teacher who have to mop up my spew..). So i should be grateful i don't have to deal with any vomitting from Peanut.

Though she still cries everyday, it's still not as a bad as the first few days. Everyday is the same old routine. She wakes up fine. I don't have to nag at her to wake up. In fact she seems quite excited every morning to go to school. Sometimes i'll prepare some snacks for her like a nutella sandwich, or some raisins. Though her school prepares snacks for them, she once told me her classmate brings food from home cos his mummy prepares for him, and she wants the same thing. Okay long as she eats something. Sometimes she'll tell me to hurry up and drive faster (school is just less than 5 mins away) because she wants to play. So..all these are good signs that she loves her school rite? However, the moment i stop my car in front of her school, she'll start with "are you going to work mummy", if it's the affirmative, she'll start her"i'll misss you at school mummy...x100"

I'm touched, i'm truly am touched, haha i really need to go to work! Everytime she starts her whining, i'll either say i miss her too, or i will change topic. If I indulge her whining more, she'll go on and on and on..Once I open the car door, the teachers will be there to 'greet' her and "carry +hug" her if her crying goes overboard. She'll hang on to me while sobbing while I faster give her a kiss, wave goodbye and drive off!! I'm truly gone in 60 seconds haha.  I have no idea what happens after that, but the teachers have mentioned that she's fine the moment i leave, and she sounds very happy and excited when she calls me after school everyday, so i'm guessing that she actually enjoys herself?

Everyday, i ask her what she does at school. Sometimes she'll layan me, sometimes no. On days she layan me, she'll tell me what she learn at school. Once, she belted out a chinese song. When I ask her what it means, she just shrugged. Since we are a non-chinese speaking household, it's quite funny to hear her singing in mandarin. It's cute.

Fingers crossed, let's not keep my hopes up, but I hope she stops crying within a month .

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Choosing the right kindergarten

I started looking around for a suitable kindy for Peanut in the second quarter of  2012. Was a bit kiasu as I was worried that the kindys i want later might be full. It happens right?

I first started off by identifying the location that I want her to be in and decided that she should be at least somewhere near where we and her Popo lives so it'll be easier on all of us.  One of the kindys that was on our shortlist was a christian kindy that was recommended by my MIL. I also went on forums and started reading up reviews on kindys near our house and shortlisted around 5 kindys.  After shortlisting those, I called each of them up. This is where I try to get a first impression of these schools. Out of these 5 kindys, 3 of them took their time to answer all my questions and was very welcoming when i said I would like to pay a visit to their kindy. The other two, however, were very short and curt in their replies and did not bother to elaborate on their activities. They sounded impatient and when I tried to make an appointment, I felt very unwelcomed so naturally, I cut these two kindys out. If they were already impatient with my questions (one sound like a pasar malam auntie) then how could they be patient with children?

My questions were pretty simple over the phone:
a) what methods of learning will they be using?
b) will the kids be well prepared for primary 1?
c) will  mandarin and malay be taught in school, and if yes, at what age?
d) are there any additional optional classes that they can choose to take up after school?
e) how many students are there in a class. 
f) school hours and if there's daycare, what are the latest pickup time

Armed with these answers, we then visited each of these potential kindys. The first kindy we visited was the Christian Kindy.

a) Christian Kindy

  • On first impression, i like this kindy. it's big (it's a 3 storey building of its own), though quite old,   with a playground,and has been around for around 20 years. 
  • Love the principal. She was very welcoming and showed me all the books that will be used in her classes. 
  • Teachers are experienced and seems loving. 
  • Montessori method of teaching 
  • Saw a chart where children are reminded to drink their water (good first impression haha) 
  •  They incorporate bible teaching in their lessons
  •  Very cheap fees - RM150 per month
  • Menu for breaks and lunches looks healthy. No sausages / nuggets / fries 
  • Classes are dark and looks a bit gloomy 
  • Though clean, toilets are all squatting kind, and it's dark and gloomy too, and old. Mirrors are cracked and have patches on it because it is too old. 
  • Maximum 25 students in a class - I think this is a bit too many. I don't know how the teacher and her assistant  are going to control 25 4-year olds, and get them to learn. When I passed by a 4 year olds class in progress, the teacher was teaching them reading with a big chart. I noticed that quite a number of students were looking disinterested and not paying attention but the teacher did not seems to do anything about it.
  • Outdated learning tools - the teacher showed me a cassette tape with an audio book that  they use in class. A cassette tape! I haven't seen this since.........17 years ago???
  • Much further from my house compared to the rest of the shortlisted kindys 
  • They only start  teaching mandarin when kids are 5 years old. Kind of disappointed in this. I prefer Peanut to pick up other languages sooner, as they pick up language faster when they're younger right?
  • No daycare
  • Kids temperature are not checked when they enter school
  • lots of stairs& hidden corners (kids can get lost easily in moments of emergencies i.e. fires?)
  • In case of fire, i can only see 1 possible exit

b) Kindy B

  • Principal was very warm and friendly over the phone. Took the time to explain. 
  • Can feel that the principal loves kids
  • Montessori 
  • Near our house
  • 15 kids max in a class
  • you can drop your kids off on Saturday mornings if you have errands to run and they can watch over your kids by giving them work to do / or do some reading 
  • They have day care till 630pm on weekdays, an option if you need to do so
  • Toilets and kitchen area are very clean

  • school is small and cramp
  • Walls are not so clean in the school, can see finger prints, some graffitti by the kids 
  • Lots of children's books in the house but all look so koyak 
  • Saw a stack of matrresses thrown haphazardly in a corner in one of the rooms for those daycare kids (doesn't give a good impression)
  • Principal is too easy going and cincai. When asked if there's school uniform, she said depends on parents (??) and since some parents say don't need, then she feels there's not a need to. Feels very unstructured.
  • She said she just decided to do this because she used to open a tuition centre, so as more parents asked her to open a kindy, she decided to open one. Sound so...random, and not thought out properly.

Kindy C

  • Principal was very warm and patient over the phone and took her time to explain everything in detail. Asked me to visit her school in the afternoon so that she can show me around fully since classes will have ended by then.
  • 12 students maximum in a class (i like) 
  • Bright, airy, has a facebook page where I can see tons of photos. Kids look happy, and there are lots of arts and craft / nature type of activities. Looks very well balanced and not too academic.
  • Montessori method. Can see lots and lots of montessori tools around the school arranged neatly
  • Lots of optional after-school programmes (need to pay additional fees of course but prices are reasonable) - mandarin, karate, art, Little Mozart music class, CMA mental arithmetic. Mandarin and Maths are already taught in their normal school hours, so these are additional if you wish for them to learn more. 
  • Mandarin and malay are taught to 4 year olds
  • Huge garden, with a  playground, and a vegetable / herbs patch 
  •  Kids are given hand sanitiser lotion and their temperatures are checked before entering the school 
  • Lots of shelves with their names on it to put their school bags / shoes / water bottles 
  • Fees are very reasonable. Daycare option is available if there's a need. School doesn't use mattresses, but uses cot beds instead which are light, airy, and easily cleaned.
  • School menu  looks home cooked and healthy. No sausages / nuggets crap.
  • Feels very structured.
  • Toilets are very clean. They have toddler sized toilets. 
  • Students need to wear uniforms. Might not be a necessity to others but somehow i feel that wearing uniforms are important; if not it doesn't feel like a school at all haha
  • Lots of exits in case of fire


Can't think of any yet so I guess you know which one I chose in the end haha

Peanut's first week of Kindy

Today marks day 7 since Peanut began her new school life. Truth is, I LOVE sending her to school. I'm probably gonna get  tired of it later but for now, I'm really relishing every moment of it. I feel so...motherly.

School so far, has its ups and downs for her. She cried more and more each day wtf. Seriously, shouldn't it be the other way round?? I still hung around at her school for day 2 and 3, as the classes are only 2 hours then. During those few hours, I hung around with other parents /grandparents just like me. i.e. The paranoid-cannot-let-go type and got to know them a little bit better.  And realised..we're the same after all. :)  Yes, it's pretty hard for me to let go, because I have never left her alone with strangers for hours. So as I did my mommarazzi duties at school, I tried to stay away from her view, so that she'll get used to the fact that I'm NOT going to be there all the time. She tried to stay strong in the class, but when she saw other kids crying and wailing, she started to waver.. her eyes became really watery..her lips trembled..and finally she cried and  begged me to stay with her. kesian, and hence i flew to her side. Every night before school, i will try to make school sound as much fun as possible. Trying to psycho her so that she'll look forward to it. Does it work? I don't know, and I don't think so because she still whine each day.

Day 4 onwards, parents are no longer allowed to stay in the school compound and school hours are back to regular programming. Day 4 was the toughest because she knew I was not going to hang around anymore. She begged and begged for me to stay, and kept repeating "but i'm going to miss you" over and over again. Oh well..this time, I just drop and ciao!! Not like I have an option also as I need to get my butt off to work.  I could hear her screaming (shrieking more like it) and kicking and thrashing (I heard tables and chairs moving, and things falling down O_O ) when i left and the teacher was trying to hold her down. The teacher later apologised for leaving red marks on Peanut's arms  because she was holding Peanut too tightly to prevent her from trashing about. Gosh..think Peanut is one strong kid. I know she can be really strong because I have problems in holding her down too when she wants her way. And the poor teacher is very skinny and I'm obviously much bigger than her!  She (the teacher, not Peanut) must have been traumatised. But I guess it went well because Peanut later called me after school and  said she had fun! and she can't wait to get to school the next day. These words are not to be taken seriously as i have learned because the same process (crying and whining and the "i miss yous" ) happened again the next day, and the next. T T. I'm just thankful there are many teachers around to hold and comfort and play with her when i leave for work. There's one day when i saw her hugging a teacher tightly and sobbing as I quickly run out of the door. I'm secretly happy though that she allowed the teachers to touch her and that she'll speak to them, because this would never happened prior to school!!!!

Today is Day 7 and as usual I just drop her and go within a few minutes. There's still a little bit of crying, but it's no longer as loud and dramatic, and it stopped within minutes after I left the school.  (me thinks she's just putting a show to make me feel guilty for going to work). I think she's beginning to like her class teacher because last night, she made a drawing for her teacher, put it in a huge envelope and said she wanna give it to her today. Aww...So hopefully, by next week, she will stop crying once and for all! Hurrah!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Peanut's first day of school

It's been almost a week since Peanut started her first day in kindy. She started on the the 2nd of January which fell on a Wednesday. School was only an hour (830 - 930)  for the first day, and 2 hours on Thurs and Fri (830-1030). I like the idea. It gives a chance for these newbies who has never gone to a school in their lives to get used to a whole new life in the next 20 years haha.

Preparation for kindy
I have been hyping up Peanut on school since June 2012. Knowing her and her shy personality, she WILL definitely need time to get used to  new surroundings so I have been bringing her to look at the school constantly which happens to be just 5 minutes away from where we live. Selling her the idea on how wonderful school is, how she's gonna make new friends, and how she will get to play in their playground with swings and slides. The kindy has a HUGE garden and there's lots of space to run around. She was pretty sold on the idea, especially when she saw the playground slides. She's a huge fan of slides.

It was great that 3 weeks before school starts, the kindy also organised a playgroup for 3 days, where parents can bring their children into the school and just hang around and get used to the new place.

First day of kindy 
I have to do mummy duty for the first three days of school. Took half day leaves so that I can hung around like a paparazzi to make sure there's no major sniffles / dramas from her.  I'm already prepared for the worst. Peanut is very shy when it comes to strangers, she will not say hi, she will not talk,  she will hide behind my back, she will not let anyone touch her!! So basically, I  was not expecting an easy breezy path since the school is full of strangers.

Would you know it?? I woke up late for the first day of school! Damn the alarm.. Fortunately, lao gong whatsapped me at around 8am just to see how we are, and i was woken up by his ping. Rushed through the shower, woke up Peanut who was very excited and she jumped out of bed in a nanosecond, and she even had time for a shower. Made some milk for her and we were out of the house by 815am and reached school just in time. Fuh.

Honestly,her first day of school was pretty much a breeze if you wanna compare it to days after. She didn't cry much (just watery eyes), and even let the teacher hold her hand and lead her to her classroom. Usually she would have resisted people touching her.   Being the mommarazzi, I stood outside her class for that 1 whole hour haha. 1 hour flew pretty quickly. I took her for breakfast at Old Town Kopitiam after as I need an ice cold kopi kao to wake me up. Usually I prefer to go Papparich Kopitiam  as I like their decor much better but I needed a change for my usual half boiled eggs and toast. I haven't been to Old Town for the longest time  and i was pretty impressed by their breakfast menu sets. SO many choicesssss compared to Papaparich. I like!! and it all comes with coffee / tea. Nice! I'm a new convert. Good place to go  if you need to go for your usual coffee / eggs/ toast in an air-conditioned place and you need to bring your anak along.(clean and not so crowded mah)

I wanted to do a happy dance right after the first day of school. I thought i have winged it and was pretty convinced that Peanut rose above my expectations and that she'll have no problems adapting to school at all. I thought i got off easy. I must say I am pretty delusional. Someone should have warned me that some kids can get sucked into a bubble of happiness on first day of schools. And that the bubble will burst on the second day.

More school episodes to come next!