13 October 2009

So the Process Begins



On Sunday, I took Josh for his first school interview. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I was surprised at what I saw.

There were easily over 100 children in the assembly hall. As we entered, Josh was given a sticker with his name on it and then he was led to the front of the hall where there were six small tables. Each table had around 5-6 children. There were crayons, pens, and paper, so that they could draw while waiting to be taken to the classroom where they will be “interviewed.” A teacher was at each table talking to the children while they drew.

In the meantime, parents were free to browse the tables where the school had set up a display of the educational materials they use for Primary 1 (P1). After that, we had a choice of sitting in the Waiting Area outside for when the children come out from their interview or we could do a school tour conducted by one of the older students (P5 or P6).

When Josh came out from the interview, he told me that they watched a clip and afterwards the teacher asked them questions about what they had seen –one question for each child in the room. That was it. I don’t know if there was more to it beyond that, but Josh said that after they answered the question, each child was then led back to the Waiting Area.

This is it. A couple more rounds of this similar process with the two other schools that we’d applied to. And we will receive notification of their assessment (and eventual acceptance or rejection) sometime early next year.

Josh seems pretty cool about the whole thing, so I’m not very worried. I am concerned, though, about my lack of preparation for this one. A student “portfolio” was an optional element in the application –limited to five A4-size sheets. I did put together a couple of the press releases that featured Josh taking part in an art exhibit when he was but two years old, a letter of recommendation from his current school’s Director, and another page where I described how Josh is as a child, as a “learner,” his interests, etc. I thought that would be good enough. How much of a portfolio can a 4-year old have anyway? Wrong thinking, Mommy!

I felt so inadequate when I saw the portfolios that other parents had put together. Five full A4 pages, double-sided, filled to the brim with photos and information, featuring the child in different light –as an athlete, as a musician, as an artist, a world traveller (yes!), etc. I don’t think I even put photos of Josh on any of the pages that I’d submitted beyond the requisite ID photo on the application form.

Ah well. This school that we went to on Sunday is a local private school, with a very good reputation. Apparently highly competitive and not easy to get in to. This one is our second choice. Only because we are concerned about the amount of homework that local schools are notorious for, but we’ll see. The students that we’ve met all were reasonably fluent in English and Putonghua, while being able to speak Cantonese, too; more importantly, all seemed happy and very well-adjusted. Of course, I'm sure only the best students were hand-picked to show us around that day. Still.

*Sigh* Now the waiting begins.


15 COMMENTS:

narelleserline said...

I feel quite relieved that my children had get out of the Singapore education system. More relaxed now in term of their school work and exam as I don't have to worry and compete with the other parents over their academic progress

Helene said...

Wow, that sounds intense!!! I can't believe the process you have to go through to get him into a good school.

You know, don't feel bad about not going all out for his portfolio like some of the other parents. That's what I call "trying too hard"...wink, wink!!

Jana said...

Good luck to you, I can't believe how much they ask for...It seems a bit extravagant for little people, but I can tell through the internet that Josh is super bright so I know he will do well. Hang in there momma!

Theta Mom said...

That sounds really intense and you are doing such a great job, trying to get the best for your child. Try not to stress too much. Wherever he is meant to go, he'll go!

Lindy said...

Wow - really? All that for such young kids?

We have private schools where I am and all it amounts to is submitting an application. I think making a portfolio would've sealed the "no thanks" ticket for me. :)

Aunt LoLo said...

Ok, that is CRAZY. I read it to Lo Gung...and it didn't seem to faze him. *sigh* 5 year olds as athletes, musicians and world travelers?? How about 5 year olds that don't spit on people or chew on crayons??!

Alicia said...

Oh my! I can imagine how it will be when he applies for college! Wow! What happened to just being able to cut with scissors? LOL

blueviolet said...

I feel so naive. I had no idea this kind of thing even went on! I hope he gets in wherever you'd like!

The Crazy Suburban Mom said...

Oh man, my kid wasn't even out of a pull-up at night at that age. I guess thats something I would have wanted to leave off his portfolio, wow

Dandy said...

Whoa! That is crazy. I'm surprised and not surprised about that these days. Portfolios? At 4 yrs old?

LPC said...

Oh my gosh. So hard. If it's any consolation, I think the only job of a school until kids hit age 8 is to give them a place to have fun and model good social behavior. Not to destroy their native enthusiasm. Then from 8-12 they need to learn to read and do basic math. Then at 13, prepare for high school so they can enter the advanced college prep track (US system). My kids went here, http://www.peninsulaschool.org/, where they did SO MUCH weaving and making of pots. Really. Daughter graduated magna cum laude from Princeton last June. Granted, the college prep high school helped a lot. I write this not to brag but to set a flag on a hill for all the young moms wading their way through the achievement maze.

Jennifer said...

This is crazy! I think I've read about things like this, but I had no idea it was so intense! I was clenching my jaw the whole time I was reading this! LOL! Stress!

Nezzy said...

What happened to requirements like shoe tying and potty training? Now the child has to have a portfolio of his world travels while he learns to play the violin and sports artistic abilities. No pressure there! Good luck, I'm sure he will do great, he has one terrific mom.

Have a wonderful day and God bless!!!

Herb of Grace said...

Gee whiz. That's sounds a little scary... Makes me very glad we can home school! :)

Elle Bee said...

I bet you'll be glad when all this is over! Sounds like a lot of work and stress, but it will be worth it when he gets into the place you want him to be.
Elle

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