Thursday, May 5, 2011

Chinese Kindergarten

             We have been looking at Chinese Kindergarten for Little N. (In the States Kindergarten is right before 1st Grade -- whereas here Kindergarten is kind of what we could consider preschool.)  We've looked around and most of the public/private kindergartens have a lottery in which you put your kids name in (or at least the ones we've looked at) and they draw to see if you will get in. We found a kindergarten that is a Presbyterian Kindergarten which is about a 10 minute drive from our house.  The thing that makes us a little leery about going and putting Little N in is that it's from 8:30 to 4:30.  Which is just a very long day for Little N (and could be very overwhelming because for the most part it's all in Chinese) and unfortunately Little N takes after me (Caristy) in that new things and change are just a hard thing to deal with.  I talked to the director of the program to see if we could get him at 2 pm because after 2 it's just nap time, snack time and sort of a free play.  She is gonna talk to the teacher and see what happens.  If we can pick him up at 2 pm it will give us a little bit more free time to spend as a family.   Right now it's a wait and see kind of situation.  We will probably have to make our decision about this next week sometime.
      The thing I found interesting was the explaining and watching that the principal was doing.  I'm sure she has noticed that both my kids are very different personality wise.  Little N is shy and if he doesn't want to do something he will let you know. Little N once he warms up to people he is willing to talk to them and be a good friend.  But like me -- he is a little bit leery of other people and he won't open up to people until after he's gotten comfortable with them. She also noticed that Little N was walking on his tip toes which if he always did that is a disability concern.  I told her that he just figured out that walking on your tip toes is kind of fun. Little M is quite different he for the most part is a smiley guy, warm and for the most part will go to anyone.  But just like Little N if he doesn't want to do something he can get very stubborn!   Like today the principal was talking to him and he just went up to her and wanted her to hold him which just surprised us however when it was time to leave the observing area for swimming lessons he was very angry and threw a temper tantrum.
      I didn't realize that once we moved over here our lives would become more ridge and less flexible. I thought I had a couple of years left before we were stuck with the school schedule.  With John's job being what it is we use Mondays for our weekends.  We will go on a car ride and then go hiking or exploring.  John is just going to have to ask for some more help so that we can use Fridays & Saturdays for our free times.   So we are kind of losing our freedom to stuff as a family.  I'm sure we will figure out a new normal. 
        The kindergarten is pretty interesting in that it really doesn't introduce writing (in Chinese or English) because like the principal said was that their fingers aren't developed for that quite yet.  Basically they are establishing socialization, respect -- for parents, teachers & others, responsibility -- taking care of your dishes, brushing teeth, keeping your cubby clean, responsible for your stuff.  They have a time of singing and learning scripture, swimming lessons (they have a pool on campus and they have swim lesson sometimes in the morning and sometimes in the afternoon depending on the day) and they have different theme lessons -- right now because it's spring they are learning about planting and everything that goes with it. 
          Little N will be in for a shock because basically he will be immersed into Chinese and for the first couple weeks I'm assuming he will have some rough days with trying to figure out what is being requested of him but I have a feeling he will catch on quicker than we will.  I just anticipate a sleepy Little N because of all the learning he will be doing and I'm so excited because then he will be able to talk and communicate with some of the kids in our neighborhood and play with them.  The disadvantage is that he could quite easily start correcting my pronunciation which my little brain hasn't been able to hear the different sounds that are being made. 


  1. It's not exactly the same, but pretty similar...... I am continually amazed at how well kids come into Head Start not knowing a word of English or much about American culture - they pick the language and culture up so quickly! Even the ones who seem hesitant at first adapt very quickly and it's not long before you can see they're thriving. I had one little boy who started and didn't know a word of English and was very quiet and reserved. Not more than a month later he was coming to school with a smile on his face, joking with other children and really enjoying school. You are right, those kids are at such an advantage to us with their brain development and how quickly they can pick up a new language (not to mention adapt to new situations)! I know you know all of this in your head, but I would imagine it's much tougher to actually do it! I hope you find a little encouragement in this and know that he will thrive - because you have created such a powerful base of Christian values and educational opportunities! I will be praying for him and you (and the rest of you) as you make this decision. Love you!

  2. I love the idea of having them learn basic life skills during the first year in Chinese Kindergarten. I think that will be especially helpful for Nikolas. He'll be immersed into the Chinese language in an organic way rather than being forced to learn letters, start writing in Chinese and such.

    I'm so proud of your family. I think Nikolas, with your help, will do just fine getting acclimated into this environment.

  3. When we lived in the twin cities, we actually looked into putting Silje in an immersion school to learn either Spanish or French. If there was an Chinese immersion school, we would have been all over that! You have such a neat opportunity right at your fingertips!

    I hope your family can find their new normal. Cover it in prayer. I've found that always smooths out the road.

  4. woooah.. 8:30-4:30 sounds so long! i guess that is just normal there.. they probably think having kids go to kindergarden for half days is sill haha

    i'm sure you will find a new normal :) and i think little N will pick up the language easily after some time. when i was a child i spoke english, spanish and a bit of polish! like it was no big deal! my grandmother spoke spanish and i had a polish nanny who spoke very little engilsh. too bad i don't remember any of it. (well other then the english.. thankfully haha)

  5. That's what we are having a hard time with is the length of the classes. But we think that the kindergarten run that long so parents who work can pick up kids after work and not need to worry about daycare. Because 1-3 grade is only 1/2 day.

    I am very excited about Little N going to so form of Chinese school it's just a matter of if they can work with me so that it doesn't need to be such a long day for him.

    The thing about this kindergarten that I really, really like is that it's a Christian Kindergarten & it's like the only Christian Kindergarten in the area. We will see.....hopefully they will work with me on just the length of school because I do think it's a great opportunity for him to go and experience!!


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