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Sharing - Too many activities?

  1. #17
    OX Jess is offline Registered User
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    Thanks for all the comments.

    In my mind 5-morning-a-week nursery class is not 'too much', as I know children go to the school mainly to play - singing & dancing, climbing up and down the stairs to train gross motor skills, doing artwork to train fine motor skills, storytelling time, snack time, theme group play (e.g. last week they played 'fire squad'). 3 hours is easily passed and I think it is certainly GOOD for my kid. The bonus point is that he, so far, LOVES going to school. Every day I ask him if he likes his teachers Ms. So-and-So, he nods with a small smile which makes me feel that the teachers there are pretty good. I believe kids are very sensitive to the difference between those who are loving & caring and those who are harsh & strict. As I work full time, instead of having him stayed at home doing almost nothing than playing with his toys aimlessly or taken down to the park to play with other kids for an hour, enrolling him to a nursery class is good for him. But, only for half day, I wouldn't enrol to a full-day course when he is only as young as 2! (This is another issue I can share later).

    The dilemma I am facing is: whether I should get him into other classes at the weekend, say, a toddler football class, a music/dancing class, a Sunday school, swimming class, etc. or simply let him enjoy being at home with his mummy & daddy. As you will see, my intention for enrolling him to these classes is again to let him "play". I have no intention yet to subject him to any pressure to perform this and that well. I may though when he reaches his primary school age. Then on the other hand, I am thinking, am I 'obsessive/pathetic' to always thinking about getting my just 2-year-old to all sorts of extra-activities? Let's not talk about the costs (the costs of all those activities are not cheap, as you all must know), he doesn't have much time left at home and play quietly by himself. But now, after talking to some of you here, I will drop the idea of enrolling him to all sort of activities at the weekend, though I will bring him to a 1.5 hours Sunday school which is just right downstairs of my building.

    I think I got a direction now: he is only 2, I may engage him into more activities after he starts his kindergarten say, at least 3~4, but not now when he is only 2.

    On another subject, I received a call from a friend who has put her 2-year-old daughter into a full nursery (Mon ~ Frid, from 8:30 ~ 4:30pm). School has started nearly 3 weeks now but his daughter, since then, woke up crying many times a night, screaming, whenever my friend mentioned the word "school", her daughter repeated "no no no - no school, no school..." She is, in my eye, obviously terrified of the thought of going to school. Some kids have stronger adaptability but some have weaker. I am not 100% sure what is the real reason behind her daughter's night waking, screaming, crying behaviour, however, at the back of my mind, I certainly doubt it is because of the sudden change of environment - schooling. To me, sending a 2-year-old kid to a full day school is FAR TOO MUCH - she is suddenly away from her most familiar environment (home) for 8 hours a day! Teachers might not be as caring and loving as a 2-year-old kid expected... I don't think a kid as young as that should face all these new changes to such an extent. What makes thing even worse is that some techers don't treat 2-year-olds as 2-year-olds, they expect them to be very well-behaved or else they shout at them with very harsh tone. This is another reasons I guess, why my friend's daughter refuses to go to school. 2 years old should be treated as 2 years old... they are still BABIES, only a bigger size!
    Last edited by OX Jess; 08-26-2011 at 02:20 PM.

  2. #18
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    OXJess,

    Just would like to share my experience a bit with the whole-day pre-nursery. When we went searching for a good pre-nursery school in our area (out by Yuen Long) we visited no less than 8 or 10 different nurseries. Some of them were truly terrifying, I have to say.

    One nursery we visited--we were there at the after-lunch time when children lie down for a rest/nap. First, the school was very crowded. Second, the lighting was poor. The windows were high. The rooms were cold and colorless with plaster walls with nothing on them and there was no walking space as hundreds of children were crammed into these barracks, each section overseen by a "teacher."

    You could hear whimpering and crying all over the room--some of the children seemed very frightened. I stood there observing as I a little boy, probably barely 2-years-old stood tugging on the skirt of one of the "teachers" and whimpered and pleaded with her for attention and she merely ignored him and looked the other direction--this went on for about 10 minutes while I was there. We saw other schools that were very similar.

    Needless to say, we checked that school off of our list pretty quickly.

    It took us a long time to find a good pre-nursery school were were comfortable with. The one my son ended up going to was quite unique as it was authorized to take children with various disabilities and had a special section for children with hearing disabilities. I really liked that about the school because it affected the entire atmosphere as children were integrated and taught respect and care for one another no matter how each child looked or their differences/difficulties.

    Originally, I made a BIG DEAL that I only wanted my son in that program for half-day even though it is designed as a full-day program with even an extension option for parents who work late. Children can literally eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at that school! At the time, we had a helper whom we weren't impressed with and were trying to replace--our helper wasn't good at all with little children (great at housework, though) and so I felt safer having my son in that school most of the day than at home. He loved it there. He did cry a bit for the first week or so but after awhile when he walked through those doors he acted like he "owned the place"--he felt very comfortable. I don't think the program was too much for him even though he was there from 9 am until 3 or 4 pm. It ended up being about 3 hours of "class", 1 hour for eating etc., 2 hours for rest/nap and 1 hour for playing and songs before time to go home. So, that was my experience. Even though my son was a "baby" at that age he was always a very active baby and he would have been completely bored if he had been at home, I think--especially given the constraints of houses in HK.

    :)
    “Many women have described their experiences of childbirth as being associated with a
    spiritual uplifting, the power of which they have never previously been aware …
    To such a woman childbirth is a monument of joy within her memory.
    She turns to it in thought to seek again an ecstasy which passed too soon.”

    ~ Grantly Dick-Read (Childbirth Without Fear)

    Mother of Two
    JMW, boy, born November 29, 2007, 9:43 pm, USA
    MJW, girl, born March 17, 2011, 4:14 pm, HK

  3. #19
    OX Jess is offline Registered User
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    thanka2,

    I trust there are some really GOOD schools and some very BAD schools out there. In my view, I don't require a school to have very brilliant & sophiscated academic curricumlum for kids. How I judge if I want my 2-year-old to study in that school is by seeing if the teachers have a 'heart' for taking care of a group of 2-year-olds. As a mother you must know what I mean... What a 2-year-old wants? They need 'some' discipline but not in a very strict & harsh way. They can feel freightened for all sorts of reasons so when they are away from Mommy they need comfort from their carer, in that situation the carers are their teachers. When they cry, they need to be pampered/soothed/cuddled and even carried, but to be honest, how many nursery teachers do really have a HEART to care about a group of 2-year-olds? Not EVERYONE of them.

    My friend went to see the class this morning from outside of the classroom as she wants to understand why her daughter is so against going to school. One scene really upset her: there are about 24 students in the class, 2 teachers are in charge, some kids run around and refused to sit down despite how much the teachers wanted them to. A local teacher then shouted at the kids in a tone as high enough as to be heard by my friend standing outside, "Don't run around, you all sit down." Is it really the way to treat a bunch of 2-year-old kiddies? I am not a trained teacher I can't say from a teacher's point of view. But I wouldn't do it to any kids as young as that. To my mind, first, this teacher doesn't understand it is really 'difficult' to get every 2-year-old sit down as calm as a kitten (is she asking for a mission impossible?) second, is it necessary to raise her voice like that? She will only scare the kids but won't make the kids like her & like the school. However, the teacher-student ratio is also a problem: 24 students are in charge of by 2 teachers so each teachers has to look after 12 little monkeys! [email protected]@@
    One of the reasons why I chose my son's shcool is because of their teacher-children ratio: 36 kids in charge of by 6 teachers plus two cleaning ladies; so each teachers looks after 6 kids, which is acceptable in my eye! My son's nursery is not at all any 'brand name' school but as long as my son tells me that he likes going to school and he likes teachers Ms. So-and-So, I am pleased! I did on two occasions peep into the class to have a look how the teachers treat the kids and I saw the teachers held the kids on their laps or carried them in arms to calm / soothe them, but not left them there to cry like some schools, which I am very impressed.

    Going back to half-day or full-day nursery school, I know it's a very personal choice. I chose half day does not mean those chose full day is not right. I think your family condition will also affect your choice. My son is looked after by my mum & dad so to a certain extent I want my son to have some time, at least few hours a day with them as I know my son will be smoothered with so much love & care. As my mum & dad are so fond of looking after my son, I don't really NEED enrol him into any school in order to give them a break! However, if I didn't have my mum & dad to help me, and have a very poor helper, I might get my son to a full-day nursery without better alternative
    Last edited by OX Jess; 08-26-2011 at 04:30 PM.

  4. #20
    carang's Avatar
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    oxjess, i must say that i disagree with you a little on your first paragraph.

    it all comes down to WHY a child is crying. if a child is afraid and you give too much comfort, they feel like they have a reason to be afraid. they are getting attention for it. it's often best to say, "no need to be afraid" and help them to "brush it off", if you know what i mean. besides, if there are 20 kids in a class, it is impossible for a teacher to be comforting/carrying every child. therefore, it is better to give a little comfort but NOT to make a big deal of it.

    as for the second paragraph, all i can say is if you've never been in a classroom with 24 2 year olds, then yes, it can be ok for a teacher to use a raised voice. sometimes it is necessary, just to be heard!

    parents/teachers of very young children need 2 voices. voice # 1 is a praising, higher pitch voice that denotes praise and accomplishment. voice #2 is a firm, sometimes louder (depending on the situation) voice that commands authority.
    it is absolutely VITAL that BOTH of these voices are used and developed, so that the children can understand when they have done something wrong.

    if you've never been in this type of situation, then i'm afraid, it IS difficult for you to understand what a teacher needs to do in order to accomplish some order in the classroom.

    and yes, it IS possible to have a group of 2 year olds all sitting nicely and listening. but in order to do this, you first must get them all sitting down.

    i find in hk, parent often "reward" the wrong behaviour. rewards should come from the correct/more appropriate behaviour.
    thanka2 likes this.

  5. #21
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    nicolejoy is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by carang View Post
    just to clarify, i NEVER said that school 5X/week is too much. i said that overwhelming him with extra activities when he's already going to school 5X/week MIGHT be too much. he DOES need time to chill out and play with mummy and daddy, too!
    I know that you didn't say that school 5 days a week was too much (I don't think anyone said that you did?) - but both erina320 and penguinsix did say that. It was towards those comments that my previous post was directed.

  6. #22
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by carang View Post
    oxjess, i must say that i disagree with you a little on your first paragraph.

    it all comes down to WHY a child is crying. if a child is afraid and you give too much comfort, they feel like they have a reason to be afraid. they are getting attention for it. it's often best to say, "no need to be afraid" and help them to "brush it off", if you know what i mean. besides, if there are 20 kids in a class, it is impossible for a teacher to be comforting/carrying every child. therefore, it is better to give a little comfort but NOT to make a big deal of it.

    as for the second paragraph, all i can say is if you've never been in a classroom with 24 2 year olds, then yes, it can be ok for a teacher to use a raised voice. sometimes it is necessary, just to be heard!

    parents/teachers of very young children need 2 voices. voice # 1 is a praising, higher pitch voice that denotes praise and accomplishment. voice #2 is a firm, sometimes louder (depending on the situation) voice that commands authority.
    it is absolutely VITAL that BOTH of these voices are used and developed, so that the children can understand when they have done something wrong.

    if you've never been in this type of situation, then i'm afraid, it IS difficult for you to understand what a teacher needs to do in order to accomplish some order in the classroom.

    and yes, it IS possible to have a group of 2 year olds all sitting nicely and listening. but in order to do this, you first must get them all sitting down.

    i find in hk, parent often "reward" the wrong behaviour. rewards should come from the correct/more appropriate behaviour.
    I would like to say that I had the privilege of observing carang "in action" this summer and she really is pretty much "the master" of classroom behavior management for tots. Otherwise, she wouldn't be able to do what she does with the level of excellency she does it--for as long as she's done it and garner the shining reputation she has as a children's teacher in HK.

    HK parents could (and need to!) learn a lot from her strategies. The "behavorist" techniques she alluded to above work. Children need appropriate boundaries and rewards and consequences for behavior at at every stage. It's not really about "strict vs. lenient", IMO but about teaching children appropriate behavior in different situations through modeling, positive reinforcement and if needed, negative consequences--it's never too young to start learning good habits. :)
    “Many women have described their experiences of childbirth as being associated with a
    spiritual uplifting, the power of which they have never previously been aware …
    To such a woman childbirth is a monument of joy within her memory.
    She turns to it in thought to seek again an ecstasy which passed too soon.”

    ~ Grantly Dick-Read (Childbirth Without Fear)

    Mother of Two
    JMW, boy, born November 29, 2007, 9:43 pm, USA
    MJW, girl, born March 17, 2011, 4:14 pm, HK

  7. #23
    carang's Avatar
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    thanks, thanka.
    ps> i know you weren't referring to me regarding the 5x/week. but wanted to clarify in case it sounded like i was saying it is too much...

  8. #24
    carang's Avatar
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    oops> that last ps was for nicolejoy.

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