The children have been in school now for almost 3 weeks. So far the school experience is very much different than in Canada. Here are some of our observations:
Only one glue stick is needed for the entire school year – finally!
Our supply list was about €40.00. No copy paper, no Kleenex and no need for 20 pencils.
Pencils are out and fountains pens are in – everyone in grade 5 and up writes with a fountain pen, in higher grades ballpoint is OK too.
Privacy is out and disclosure is in. On the first day of school all kids in grade 5 got a list of all the classmates in their respective classes, their addresses, birthdays, their full names and parents’ phone numbers as well as their religious orientation.
Lots of school trips (including an overnight trip for grade 5). The entire class gets on the tram, or the metro and goes on a field trip. Today Evelina and her class went to the ZOO. Two teachers, 28 kids, no parent volunteers. The kids got their worksheets to fill out at the zoo while the teachers were sitting and drinking an espresso at the cafe.
There are no permission slips, no release forms and no un-excused absences.
Substitute teachers are also out. If the teacher is not at school for either the first or the last class the kids show up later or go home early. In the middle of the day someone from administration babysits.
The school has a cafeteria where everyone can buy a lunch/dinner. These can be preordered in advance on the internet and are paid for with a food card so no cash needs to change hands. These are healthy meals too, like lasagna, roasted chicken and mashed potatoes, salads and of course dessert with each meal. On average these meals are about €3.00
There is no 1 hour lunch break in school.
Everyone starts at 7:55 and everyone is done at 1:00 except on Thursday which is a long day.
Most of the time the kids stay in the same class and the teachers move around, unless its a lab course.
It appears that the kids are in charge of themselves and we just stand on the sidelines and observe. Very cool.