Sunday, August 1, 2010

Julia Gabriel Bilingual Playclub

Ryan attended PlayClub yesterday. He seemed a little more reserved compared to last week, perhaps because he hadn't had his usual nap prior to the class. He wasn't cranky though and he was still interested in the activities. I was happy to see a fellow SMH mummy (Sue Lin) with her son Cayden in Ryan's class. It's always nice to meet a friendly face.

The outside activity for that session was waterplay - the children stripped down to their diapers and played with water in troughs. Ryan loves this - he was the last one to leave and he lingered on even after the teachers packed up everything and poured away the water from the troughs. I think I will set up something similar for him when we move to our new place, he will love it.

Next week, we will be having Parent Chats in class. That's when we can have a dialogue going with the teachers, so I hope to get some insight on some thoughts that I've been having.

My first issue is that there are a large number of children in Ryan's class which makes the class a little chaotic. I'm not sure whether this makes a conducive learning environment. There are always some children running around and distracting other students from the lesson that is going on. The teachers do strive to get the children to be orderly, to sit down and to pay attention but the teachers usually fail and then they have to implore the parents to control their children. The more children there are, the more disorderliness there is and the more time is wasted.  One of the teachers told me last week that it is usually the new students who run around and don't pay attention (Ryan was an exception) and they usually settle down after a while. Ok, I understand that, but as new students join in all the time (Ryan joined in Week 4), I'm not sure that there will ever be a time when the entire class settles down.

My second question is - how exactly is Ryan supposed to benefit from this class? How will I be able to assess whether the class is right for him and whether we should continue? When I put Ryan on the waiting list for this class a few months ago, I was thinking that the class would encourage self-expression and promote self-confidence. Now, Ryan has reached an age where he is starting to talk and he seems perfectly comfortable with his level of self-expression. He's not a rowdy/noisy fellow but he's not afraid of expressing himself when he has something to say. More importantly, even if he is in fact less expressive than others, so what - I don't want him to be someone that he isn't. So how do I assess whether the class has any value-add? I suppose this would be the most pressing question for me.

On to next week then. Next week is going to be more interesting. There's Parent Chats, followed by class photo taking, and the outdoor activity is Ryan's absolute favourite - swimming!


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