Saturday, February 26, 2011

Settling into School - 2011

It's the end of week 4 of the school term, nearly half way there. Both girls have settled into school routine, and hubby and I have as well. It took us a while to get a routine going as the first two weeks were out of sync with early 7am starts for Ashleigh to attend water ballet practices (for swim carnival in the 2nd week), concert band auditions and Caitlin had her swim carnival on Day 4 of Kindy.

Ashleigh is managing exceptionally well in Year 7 with the demanding timetable, new environment, new teachers, new friends and new classrooms. It's a big leap from junior school to high school. They are now expected to take more responsibilities from taking notes (there are fewer notes from teachers), homework, time management and also to ensure they get to school on time and get to classes on time. Instead of staying in the same classroom, the girls move from one room to another depending on the subjects. Each girl has a slightly different timetable to the other. The timetable runs for 10 days and repeats itself each fortnight. From week 4, teachers start giving out detentions for incomplete homework, late for classes, general tardiness etc. I guess the honeymoon period is over for them.

To my surprise, Ash has been highly organised with her homework, extra curricular activities, books etc. After being reprimanded once for being late for Maths class, she came home and worked out a way to be more organised in the mornings. Each girl gets a locker in school for their books and bags. They are not allowed to get anything out from their lockers except during recess or lunch. No loitering around lockers. This means that Ash has to have all her books for the day organised and grab them during the breaks. She's worked out a method - she bought 3 different carry-all folders from Smiggle, organised one colour for each session (before recess, after recess and after lunch), place the relevant books in the folders each morning. Then, all she has to do, is grab the session's folder and head off to classes. I was impressed and it really made me realised my girl is growing up. I have been consciously making more time to spend one on one with her to ensure she gets enough attention at home. I am glad she's settled and enjoying high school, participating in many activities from water ballet, talent quest at camp and playing the flute in concert band as well as flute ensemble. Ash also ensures she makes time to visit Cait during lunch breaks and has been very kind to buy her ice-creams or jellies from the tuckshops on warm, hot days. Needless to say, Cait is also enjoying these lunchtime visits and treats.

Caitlin is doing great in Kindy. She's had some tears especially on Fridays after school, I guess the busyness of the past week comes crashing down and gets to her. Often, she falls asleep in the car and will continue sleeping for another hour or more when we get home. I am glad I have not returned to full-time work as yet. I knew it was important to have Fridays off for some 'me time' and also to spend with the girls after school. Caitlin has had the advantage of being familiar with the school environment as well as knowing a few of the older girls in school who have welcomed her into their circles. She loves her Kindy teacher and her music teacher. No homework yet but the reading program will begin next week. She will bring two books (the girls have been assessed and determined which is the right level) home each night, which we will have to help her to learn to read. There is also a log book that parents/grandparents/siblings who helped them read have to note their observations down. Ms. Z, her teacher has stressed that it's important for the girls to understand and comprehend what they have read and not to focus on reading and getting the words correct. In term 2, parents can help with the reading program 3 days a week where we go in for about 1 hour and have one on one sessions with our daughters and also a small group of girls in the same level. I have really enjoyed the one on one sessions when Ash was in Kindy and look forward to Cait's.
Cait is also enjoying the attention she receives from the older girls at junior school, and all the Kindy girls do because they look so cute in their uniforms which are too large and over the knees. Absolutely adorable!


  1. I almost burst into tears with pride when I read the bit about Ash being able to sort out her files into the various sessions! (and she is not even my daughter!) And the bit about Ash visiting Cait during her breaks and buying her ice cream and treats...dear oh dear..excuse my hormones today. On a much senile note, I'm glad both girls are settling into their daily routine well (and parents too!). Wow, ,kindy sounds gruelling, but I have to remind myself that its Sydney's kindy, and that's a year before Yr 1, right, where as in Perth, kindy means entry level - and there is actually 2 more years to Yr 1. Kindy is all play for Kaitlin here. Tell the girls I say HELLO!

  2. Thanks for the lovely words Cyn. I am so proud of my two girls. Your turn will come when Kait goes in 2 years. Gets confusing with the same names but different meanings.