I've been meaning to blog about Grace and Noah's parent-teacher conferences at school for weeks. And now with only three days left in the year - and my OCD desire to reach 100 blogs this year - it seems like a good time. (P.S. about that...I feel a little sad to only have 100 blogs, if I make it before Wednesday, but I suppose (and hope) that not enough time to blog means I was busy living my great life, and that is not something to feel sad about! With the arrival of the BBG in April, I think we should expect a spike in cute baby photo blogs, right?)
I met with Noah's two teachers and two of Grace's teachers in November after I came back from the US for their annual conferences. In both cases, it was overwhelmingly lovely to receive detailed, honest, and interesting feedback about our kids from adults who so obviously know them well and care about them a lot.
About Noah: He has progressed in leaps and bounds since last year. His language is coming along really well: he speaks in both English and Danish, using English to help him if he can't say something in Danish, and even though he does not speak Norwegian or Swedish he does understand his teachers who speak those languages to him. This year he has been able to bond and develop friendships, primarily playing with his two best girlfriends or hunting down Grace and her friends across the playground. Lately he has been branching out and playing a littl more with the other two boys his age, and he really seems fascinated by the very little ones (18 months old). Even though in January he will be old enough to move up to Grace's class, we will keep him where he is until August when she will be starting formal kindergarten anyway (no need to add more changes to our spring!). The teachers say that he is sweet and loving and does not usually have behavior problems...he has gotten much better at sharing, waiting in line for his turn to do things, and using his words to communicate his feelings and needs (last year there was a biting phase which we are happy to be out of). He needs to work on being a little bit more independent...sometimes he doesn't even want to try do things himself (like dressing himself) before whining for help, which we also notice at home and are trying to improve. He is a very good eater at school, which is great since eating well at home remains a challenge. In general, the teachers enjoy having him and love his happy,smiling, loving nature. They say he LOVES anything to do with nature or being physically active (riding bikes! running! tumbling! and especially climbing!). In other words, he is a great kid, and we're so lucky he's ours. I was really flattered and appreciative hearing these words about our son.
(from their Lucia show at school)
About Grace: Grace has been going to this school for almost two years now, and her teachers know her really well. They have seen her blossom from being the shy, new girl to being the "big kid on campus". I was really surprised when they told me that she is incredibly popular with all of the other children who really want to play with her. Her teachers said she is a girl who is always very welcoming to new children or new teachers or visitors. Her greatest strength is her gift of language: she is completely fluent in English and Danish and has an advanced vocabulary in both languages. I am told her Swedish is also very good for her age (and for not being Swedish!), and while her Norwegian is not as advanced she is conversational in that language too. She is a bit emotional in her friendships...we had tough period of time in the fall when her best friend felt smothered by her (she is a really intense friend!) and started to push her away (to which she did not respond well). She had to figure out how to play with different people and to share her friends with others. She was really stressed (I think it was related to her four close girlfriends from last year all leaving at the same time) and had to work her way through it, but on the other side now she has broadened her friendships and does not take rejection so badly. She is better able to cope with balancing more than one good friend at a time and not being so intense. She is generally much more flexible now. Her teachers told me that she is one of the most loving kids they know...greeting all of the teachers with a hug everyday and eagerly sharing news of her life and family with them. She is easily able to bond with kids and adults, and articulates her feelings and needs well. She loves anything to do with learning letters, numbers, writing, making art projects...she even eats well at school, which totally blows our mind (but thank God, because she is still really low weight for her age and height right now). They think she is quite ready for formal school and that she will handle the transition well in August, although they will miss her happy, loving personality quite a lot. Once again, magical words to hear from adults who so obviously love and take good care of our daughter.
So three cheers for ending 2013 with such positive reports on the school front. For us, having the Nordic School in Dar is one of the biggest highlights of our life here and these conferences always remind me of how happy I am that (even though it is a very different system from American preschools) our kids have been able to attend.