Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sophie in School

One of the reasons why I love Ivy school is that it makes this blog almost redundant. In the sense that the teachers have a weekly report where they upload photos of what the children have been doing, and put it on a school website, and parents and grandparents have a password where you can check out what your kid has done that week.

Here is Sophie painting a picture in the style of Paul Klee. Heck, I didn't know who he was until Sophie told me so I googled it, but once you know who he is, you can see her inspired use of square color blocks that she stole off him.

One of the big admin tasks for me this weekend is to write an admissions essay (no kidding) for Sophie to go to the bilingual program in the French school. It's a classic problem of supply and demand, and with just 24 places serving a large expat community, there is a question of how to allocate resource. So they get parents to write an essay "introducing" their child, and indirectly explaining why their child is a wonderful addition to have in a class of 4 year olds.

Multi-lingual education is a big personal research topic of mine for fairly obvious reasons. Fabien speaks French exclusively to the kids, and I speak to them in both English and Chinese, depending on who the other listeners are. How this is tackled in school is another issue though. The French school does one day in French, and one day in English, but following the same syllabus. I think that is one reasonable way of approaching it.

When Sophie is 6 years old (i.e. in 2 years time) one of the things I would consider, if we continue to be in China, is to send her to Daystar Academy. This is where the kids do the Chinese syllabus (in Mandarin) in a sit-down classroom downstairs in the morning, and then go upstairs and do the British syllabus (in English) in a Montessori classroom upstairs after lunch. This means your kid basically goes to 2 kindergartens in one day, and gets native fluency in 2 languages. The draw back is that your kid has a very long day. As Sophie has quite a high sleep-need. She still sleeps 11 hours a night and naps for 60 - 90 mins in the afternoon, I am not sure whether she could do Daystar.

Alex on the other hand is a prime candidate for it. She seems to function with much less sleep.
Partly as a second child, we were much less strict on the sleep training, so Alex gets what Sophie gets in terms of sleep. At the same age, Sophie was sleeping many more hours. However, this is still pretty much within the normal range, although my first kid is on the higher end of it, whilst my second kid is on the lower.