Saturday, August 11, 2012

First Day at School - Aussie Style

Well, the last post I did was of L-kun's first day at Japanese School here in Adelaide. Continuing the them, here's L-kun's first day at Primary School... yes, it has been a busy few weeks. Actually, we're already in week 5 of the 3rd term. 

For those unfamiliar with the system here in Australia (or at least South Australia), children join Primary School - into the Reception Year - from the term following their 5th birthday. So that means that they enter and leave kindergarten all throughout the year... a stressful time for children's friends. It also means for children like L-kun entering half way through that they get to do 6 terms (rather than the normal 4) of Reception. Not particularly happy with that gem of a policy.

L-kun was looking forward to school,  but we never really understood if that was just because he hadn't appreciated how life would change (going from ~2 days a week at kindergarten to a full 5 days a week). So whilst he was very excited to be driving to his new school, Mum and Dad were a little apprehensive.

And when I say "excited to go to school", I really mean it. He even had his own strut going on. He just about moon-walked from the car to the front gate.

Pausing only in his dancing to get off a couple of composed cool-as-a-cucumber photos. Poser!

First day at a new place can be daunting... although he had the advantage of a 1 day orientation day prior to the new term starting. I'm still amazed at how quickly he adjusted to the new regime though - and the new surroundings. Hmmm - then again, was that a slightly worried expression creeping through? Perhaps L-kun wasn't quite as sure as the made out to be....

No... it was most probably just him being annoyed at Daddy sticking the camera into his face... When his best friend (from Kindy) showed up, he was all smiles. It's a comforting thing to go to a 'local' school that has a connection to a specific kindergarten... with good friends around to ease you into your new school. And it seemed that in the 2 weeks over the holidays at the end of term 2, L-kun had matured significantly... or was it just his new school uniform?

Now - T-chan and I had turned up for his first day (of course), and perhaps we were expecting something. But this isn't Japan, and there was no fan-fare, no speeches, not even an acknowledgement that this was their first day. The bell went, and the children instinctively lined up to be lead into class by their new teacher. On one hand, I'm sure it is reassuring for the children to quickly normalise the school experience, and not to make them feel it's a MOMENTOUS OCCASION ... but then again, as parents watching your son take such a big step, it was sad that it was all over in a blink of an eye.

L-kun disappeared, to re-emerge 7 or so hours later having turned into a new boy. A primary school boy, having taken yet another step on his way to becoming a man... though unfortunately he'd have to go through being a teenager first (but that's a story for another set of posts, many years into the future).

So L-kun is definitely getting his School-mode on... and it's been interesting to contrast the schooling experience between his normal 5 day a week school, and his 1/2 a day a week Japanese school. Yet, for L-kun, at the moment, these are two completely separate parts of his life. And that might be the subject of a whole new post in itself. When I get a chance to sit down and write it.

PS - and by the way, South Australia is about to change their policy to have a single intake... so after a year or so, their won't be children doing 6 terms in reception.