Our firstborn is off to school!

Because we were ill when the new school term started, Q only started school this week. Since we knew he would not have the luxury of parent accompanied orientation days like the rest of his classmates, we did our best to psych him up as far as we could. We talked about how fun school would, be, that there would be playground time, oodles of new friends and, most importantly, it would only last three hours and he would still have time to go do all the fun stuff we used to do, like the zoo.

All things considering, he weathered his first day at school fairly well. He had never been to an accompanied class before after all. There was the usual waterworks but we claim small victories like the fact that he didn’t kick up a fuss on day 2, wearing his uniform happily and trotting off to class albeit in a more somber mood. Teacher reported some intermittent tears but we think he’ll get there at some point. He burst into tears when I came to pick him but calmed down by the time we got home and was quick to tell Evan he had a great time in school even if he cried.

The decision put Q in school was a deeply deliberated one as we considered homeschooling for a long time. After considering our family’s needs and lifestyle, we decided we would send him to school, but to one that was a more relaxed and play-orientated one. And most importantly, a school that understood that loving the kids is always more important to educating them, however crucial that was.

We were originally attending the accompanied cherrytots class at Cherrybrooks- which we loved, but their kindy at 4.5hrs, was longer than we liked. We settled on Gracefields Kindergarten @Gilstead. We really liked the school even if it is not Montessori. (We figured maybe I’d just go get certified. Heh.) The school is a Christian school and runs slightly more like an “old style” kindy with a more relaxed approach to education. The fact at they have three playgrounds and fees that did not cost an arm and a leg didn’t hurt. Also, seeing as our housing plans are still up in the air, their more central location suited us well.

So, In what seems like a twinkling of an eye, we begin this long journey of school. And because we live in a tiger mom rampant age of tuition center placement horror stories, school pressure related child mental meltdowns and suicides, and an incessant barrage of enrichment class ads that tell you that good parenting means packing your child’s day with classes; I do worry for my children but take heart that we are acutely clear that that is not how we want our children to grow up.

A child psychiatrist friend (and soon to be godfather to my kids since he’s marrying Godma) once reminded us that in the face of rat races that can sometimes begin as young as birth, it is our duty as parents to protect our children’s childhood. That they are still meant to climb trees, wade in rivers, catch ants and run through open fields of hope, freedom and unbridled joy.

To our dear son Quentin:

As you embark on your schooling journey, it is our deepest prayer and hope that you will never lose your sense of wonder about the world around you, or your natural curiosity for new things, your tenacity to keep at something till you succeed and the humility to know when to ask for help. And most of all, that you will always rest secure in the knowledge- deeply embedded in the depths of your soul, that you are loved unconditionally and supported unequivocally.

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Letter of the week- We made it!

 

After 26 llllooonnngggg weeks, we finally made it through all 26 letters of the alphabet! We’ve been faithfully sticking them up on our cupboard and here you see it- all 26 letters, upper and lower case alphabets!

Its our first education milestone since we started the Growing Tree Project. And while Q’s been able to sing his ABCs for a while already, I think this take-your-time method has really helped us enjoy learning, learning the alphabets and its place in our lives more. Sometimes when I feel like maybe he’s not “quite getting it”, he’d surprise me by correctly identifying the alphabet in random words we come across: street signs, words in books, names of his friends… Interestingly enough, he seem to like some letters more than others!

We’ve been working on writing some of the alphabets and we started with the letters of his name. We’ve gotten through all the different letters of Q-U-E-N-T-I-N (not so steady on the E and N just yet) but we’ll get there soon enough I think. He writes the letter Q very well ( a circle and a line) and I look forward to hitting this new learning milestone!

Letter of the week- Z

We finally made it to the Letter Z! I had great plans for the letter Z since Q’s favorite place in the world began with the letter Z: The Zoo! Unfortunately, between my crazy schedule (its peak work season) and the terrible weather (too hot, too cold, too wet), we did not manage to go to the Zoo to see the Zebras.

So, to make up for it, we pretended to build our own zoo! We pretty much have all the animals in our animal menagerie and our lego set has “gates” so we spent a happy afternoon building ourselves a zoo. In our zoo, of course, the crocodiles would live harmoniously with the Pandas and the goldfish next to the lions. Its a very peaceful, friendly zoo.

Methinks a trip to the zoo might still be in order next week.

Letter of the week- Y

I must admit, the last few letters of the alphabet are hard to get through- first, cos my schedule is beginning to take on a manic pace; second, we are getting a tad “bored” of the process, especially since the Letter Y ain’t that exciting.

But still, we persevere. And cos, next week is the last week in this series!

We welcomed our letter of the week simply by playing some yoyo. Q scored two toy yo-yos at a recent birthday party and we had some fun learning how it worked. I suck as a yoyo player (?) and he was just as dismal so I cut the string and we played Make Believe Yoyo- you know, you simply fling your arms about and the yoyo would kinda fly everywhere. We completely aced this game. Yeah, we made great “make believe yoyo-ers”

Then we found some empty Yakult bottles and made little Yakult robots. Cos, Yakult (one of our favorite drinks) begins with Y! That was a happy, messy fun activity. We simply poked holes (yeah, very tak glam) and made robot sounds. Q made a flying robot. He simply threw the robot about the garden and declared he was flying.

I drew in wings. Cos, life, my friends, lies in the details.

 

 

 

Letter of the week- V

Thanks to the Wiggles, Q’s instrument database is considerably large and Violin and Viola are one of the instruments that he’s relatively familiar with. Personally, I don’t know how to really explain the difference between both so I kinda glossed over it (yeah, I rock that way. Hahaha.)

Anyway, that’s how we started our exploration to the Letter V, we watched videos of violin players (ooh! videos also begin with V!) and played air violin and made screechy sounds all through the house. We only stopped cos Evan (now 4mo) started to fuss; we figure he must not have liked our mock violin.

V is also for volcano and we actually have a home volcano kit that we didn’t manage to get to. Bummer. Things has been kinda hectic and I really need a (V is for) vacation so we’ll get to it at some point. I’m sure the eruption will be cool enough to warrant it’s own post!

Letter of the week- U

We spent the best part of the week in Myanmar and only got to our letter of the week right at the tail end of the week. Luckily, it was the letter U and I knew the underwater craft would go down really well with Q.

If I haven’t already mentioned, Q is a big fan of all things underwater. We have birthed a croc (via a cord egg toy) and Finding Nemo is pretty much his favorite movie.

After (U is for) unpacking from our trip, we settled down to work on our letter crafts and for to making the letter U for umbrella first. Which, was a bad idea cos Q decided he HAD to go play with his kid sized umbrella that my mother bought him a while back. I would (U is for ) usually hunt him down and insisted he completed his task but I kinda gave up and we ended up only getting to the second craft later in the evening.

We ended the evening by watching the videos of one of my favorite Disney music- Under the Sea (Little Mermaid).

Review: Ace! Festival- Our Island

Our Island turned out to a really gem of a show, if a little slow to pick up pace.

I’d be honest and say that after the first ten minutes of the show I was ready to walk out- the squawking of the actors (they each spoke a different gibberish language as supposed to English) was a tad annoying.

The show picked up in pace and storyline after about 20minutes to a strong climax and finish- the overall plot was strong and the use of gibberish added a certain charm to the whole experience. Q- and the other kids, seems utterly non fussed by the non-English-ness of the whole play and my 2yo found it decidedly hilarious!

From the synopsis:
Three diverse and comical characters are washed up on a mystery island. Why? We don’t know. How? We don’t know. What we do know is – that they REALLY don’t understand each other! They must overcome their fears and phobias, and work together to escape from the island. First, they need to learn how to communicate with each other in order to work together. Using physical theatre, comedy, music and mayhem to raise some important questions and examine preconceptions about stereotypes, this is an international collaboration about international collaboration!