Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Year 0

(Another e-mail just sent to a teacher friend)

That's right. I said Year 0.

Which was the age of the kids I subbed for today.

But before I can let you in on my day, let me explain
how the school system here works.

The NZ school year starts in February. It is made of
4 ten-week terms with two weeks of holiday between
each one. Kindergarten here is what we would consider
preschool at home. So when kiddos enter their first
year of school, they are called Year 1. This is
confusing to me, as Year two kids are first graders,
and Year 5 kids are fourth graders, and this
difference in numbers is very hard to remember.

All children in New Zealand are legally able to enter
Year 1 the day they turn 5. So, if you do the math,
you would understand that a Year 1 teacher would have
far fewer kids at the beginning of the year than at
the end, as more children in the neighborhood are
turning 5 each month, and are added to rosters. In
the middle of the week or whatever.

Now. If a child turns five late in the year (in
August or later), it would be too late for them to do
Year 1 and be expected to go to Year 2. So in some
schools, they'll graduate some really smart Year 1
kids to Year 2 classrooms, shuffle the kids around,
and put all of the 'newbies' into a Year 0 classroom.

Which is where I was today.

As a side note, I think this system is ridiculous.
Obviously noone consulted you or I to ask our opinions
about this set up, because we would have told them it
was silly.

So these kiddos today were like 4 and 14 months.
Babies. Like August Kindergartners to you. I was

We did an activity with the book Ten Black Dots, which was great
except they didn't know what a penny was.

Then we had rest. For 10 minutes.

Then, they walked all over me for the rest of the day.

Stomp, stomp, stomp.

But oh well. It leaves me a great story to tell you!

Tomorrow, I am in the Samoan unit at Richmond Road. In this
Year 1 classroom, the lessons are taught each day in Samoan.

So it's a good thing I've been practicing my Samoan...

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