One of my biggest worries about moving to Tas was about how R would adjust here. She was 7.5 years when we shifted and had done more than 6 months of class 2 in Bombay.
The spouse’s boss helped us get admission in the local government school here. When we went to meet the Principal of the school before the session started in Feb, he was so good that I was wondering how can a Principal be so amazing! He took out time to explain about the school to us, took us to the uniform shop, showed us around the school himself, showed us R’s class and even had an informal chat with R when I told him about how I was worried that she may not understand the accent. He told us while we were going that he was sure R would adjust easily.
Now its four months since R is attending grade 2 in her school and I must confess it has been a lot easier than I thought.
Funnily, they don’t have textbooks. And they are given 4 books a week to read as homework. and 4 StoryBooks. I mean that’s not even homework!!!!
The third day fed up with not getting any homework ( if your kids went to regular school in India you would understand what I mean) I went to the class teacher and asked her ‘Teacher don’t you give any homework or is R not telling me anything’ She said they were given 4 books to read. I said but they are STORY books. Yes she smiled that is homework!
Oh I smiled back dumbly. I guess it took me quite a while to get used to the fact that here there is more emphasis on applying the knowledge than just learning by rote. Also here parents are allowed to come and visit the teacher, just generally talk to her and sit with the kids to do something called a ‘morning job’ Me, being the typical Indian mom, worried about what teacher would say, would just drop R and walk away. Rkept insisting I come into her class and sit with her and be involved but somehow I just kept away. Also taking a 18 month into a class full of toys and crayons and books is really not a great idea eh?
Slowly I realised that this at least let me figure out what they were teaching R. There are no exams, no homework no pressure. This is like a dream education system. They teach kids to apply their knowledge instead of learning by rote. Infact, folks told me that R will be ahead of the other grade 2 kids since she had already done half of grade 2 in India. To be honest, I realise now that she is not really that advanced. Since a lot of what they teach here is ‘applications’ of knowledge, R often falters! She is so much used to learning stuff by rote that when it comes to application, she often pauses, takes a breath and thinks before answering!
In short, from what I have seen in 4 months, this education system encourages kids to think, to apply what they learn and to enjoy the process of learning. I am glad we made this shift, if not anything, but for the education here. I am crossing my fingers, we continue to stay here so that my girls ‘enjoy’ the process of learning all their life!