Friday, May 20, 2011

My Sparkles

As I sit here about two and a half years after moving to Australia I am so grateful for the way the kids have settled in to their new school this year. Slade's most common response to "How was your day?" is "Awesome"! It really is delightful watching how excited he gets about school.
Last week he did Naplan tests, which are national literacy and numeracy tests written all over Australia in years 3, 5, 7 and 9. (There's a whole long story relating to Naplan: The tests have become quite controversial, not least because there is no national curriculum as yet, but also because the results are published for everyone to see and so there is a feeling that schools are judged purely according to these results -- from four tests written over 3 days. I've also been told that it's all very political and one theory is that this year's tests would be really hard as there's a national curriculum coming in next year, so the government would use next year's results (from comparatively easier tests) to show the successes of the new curriculum! There are lots of stories of children being kept home "sick" or some schools organising excursions for certain children so they're not in the class to write the tests and their results can't bring down the averages! Nevertheless Sheldon takes the position that the tests are really just a snapshot in time. The results are useful to see how the children are doing at a certain time, but parents are encouraged not to place too much emphasis on the tests and the results.)
Anyway, Slade was a little nervous the night before the first tests, but came home feeling very positive that he had tried his best. And when I asked him what was his 'sparkle' for the day (a term that came from his teacher who asks children regularly about their daily sparkle), it was Naplan.
He continues to learn to play the violin in his music class, his swimming teacher says that he's progressing really well and will be out of lessons and only in squad from next term, he enjoys pretty much every aspect of his school life, and he gets on with many of the children in his class.
He was invited to a small party recently, and the Mom (or Mum as the Australians would say) of the birthday boy said that her son had told her the previous night that he thought that she would like Slade as he has such a nice smile! Such a wonderful comment from an 8 year old.
Kai is also loving school. She so enjoys her dancing and singing. Next week her singing group is going on stage during the school assembly (attended by the whole school Prep to Year 12) to do a special performance of a song they've been practising and they'll also be on the stage when the school sings the National Anthem. She's very excited about it, and really not very daunted!
I really enjoy attending the school assemblies as they are such a great showcase of the talent at Sheldon. They also have lighting and cameras going so the performances are shown on big screens and it's easy for everyone to see. Amazing that all of this is done by school pupils -- such wonderful opportunities for the high school students.
Kai has a few close friends, and has become very enthusiastic about her reading and writing. I have noticed such a change in her work this year as she's able to focus for longer periods and puts so much more effort into her work.
She's also really enjoying the poetry that they do in class, and we've started to do some regularly poetry reading at home as well.
Kai is also really enjoying the Guide group that she attends in Victoria Point. What a wonderful group, and she's loving all the different activities. She has learned about tying different knots, next week it's all about fire safety, and the RSPCA is visiting in a few weeks time. She also went canoeing last term. They've started talking recently about ways to earn different badges, which has spurred Kai on to do different activities so that she can earn some badges. First off is a scarf that she's weaving using a kit that I've had since I was a child!
Looking at how our kids have settled in to life in Australia, and how they are enjoying so many different aspects of their daily lives, I really am feeling blessed and grateful. They certainly are "Sparkles" in my life.

1 comment:

Andrea said...

Love this post Cheryl, so positive about your new you know this is such a difficult road in so many ways but seeing our children thrive makes it ALL worthwhile!
Lots of love to you all.