Vuoi leggere il blog in italiano? Do you speak another language?

Friday, August 10, 2012

School readiness

Tomorrow is going to be a big day for our Appu! He is going to take a "school readiness" test, to determine whether he is going to join first grade this term. This is something that is apparently a fixture of the German school system (Rajiv is in preschool at the German School here in Chennai) and, as far as I understand, is a way to make sure that a child is not pushed into a formal school environment before being ready for it. Rajiv will probably not even know that he is being "tested", so there is no pressure on him, or at least that is the intention.

I really like the idea of evaluating the overall development and maturity of a child before making the transition from organized play to a classroom. As far as I understand the test is not about checking who already knows how to spell and add, it is instead about observing the children and making sure they are able to concentrate on a task, have adequate fine motor skills, feel secure enough to face a new environment and so on.

Appu can read very well and can do some simple arithmetic. He used to have a lot of trouble holding a pencil and in fact never even wanted to draw or color, but in the last few months he seems to have suddenly figured it out. Now he can write legible words in huge sloping letters and he even enjoys it, provided nobody is asking him to do it. He is curious - exhaustingly so - and likes to learn new things. He also has that annoying habit that little kids have of remembering word by word everything they hear. He doesn't mind spending the whole day at preschool now, but he does need a few hugs from his favorite teacher to get through the day.

Is Rajiv ready for school? If school was tailored to each individual there would be no need to ask this, but because that is not how it works I think it is actually a very important question. Rajiv's teachers think that he might enjoy a little more challenge, which is why they are thinking of making him join the bigger kids' class, but they are not sure he is emotionally ready. Neither am I, in fact. I think tomorrow's evaluation will be fine, but then we will have to talk more with the teachers and see if we want to just go ahead with it or maybe find some sort of middle path. This might be possible and is probably the main advantage of being in a small private school with very few kids.

Does it sound like I am overthinking this whole school readiness thing? I just think it is so important to get it right and I am glad that the school we have chosen takes this holistic (I hate this word, by the way) approach. Most of all though, what I am thinking is: I am officially the mother of a big kid now, a kid who might be starting School soon! Amazing..

No comments:

Post a Comment