On Friday it was the last day of the second school term of the year. So today is the first day of my daughters two week holiday. As much as she loves school I think she’s looking forward to this break. My wife is going to love it too, she has missed having fun days out with her little girl.
First, let me state the obvious. Any of you thinking that only two weeks for summer holidays seems a bit mean, give yourself a quick slap. (Not too hard). Because here, of course, it is winter. The big summer break comes at the beginning of December and goes right the way through until the end of January.
Along with the end of term came Elizabeth’s first ever school report. We weren’t really expecting that, after all this is just a prep year. The deal with prep year is to simply prepare our daughter to become receptive to learning. It is also voluntary in as much as we could have started Elizabeth at school next year if we wanted. So the report was a surprise.
It was presented on a CD-ROM which we all looked at together that night on my PC. It contained two PowerPoint presentations and two short videos. The first PowerPoint had 15 pages and over 30 photographs, and described Elizabeth’s progress with her motor development, (coordination and movements) understanding of literacy, language and numeracy. It also spoke about her learning processes, (problem solving abilities, imagination, responses and thinking strategies).
The second PowerPoint was 22 pages and had around 70 or 80 photographs. It covered the projects that were undertaken by the class, including one on healthy eating, one on visiting the hospital, another on visiting the dentist and one where they were investigating the natural world. She was even part of a team that built a dinosaur.
The two the videos were of my daughter and her friend Emma presenting the dinosaur to the rest of the class.
This may just be the prep year and the intention may well not be to teach them to read or write at this stage. But the methods they are using sure are working. When Elizabeth used to go to kindie (playschool) – the first thing she ever asked when she got back home was “can I watch the television?” Now when she gets in all she wants to do is draw, try to write words and look through books trying to read.
So nothing wrong with the state schools in Australia as far as I can see at this very early stage. And we were very impressed with the work and effort that went into the production of our daughter’s first ever school report.
I don’t know when I got my first school report, but I am sure I was older than five. I am in the unfortunate position however, to have my complete school report from my school years from aged 11 until I escaped.
My first ever report from senior school, which was written in autumn of 1969 reads “On the whole this is a good first report but it does indicate that he lacks concentration in class. I feel that if he could improve this attitude he could do well in the future”.
Well, Mr Hancock, as you know my attitude didn’t improve, but guess what? I did alright anyway. But as Elizabeth appears to have adopted her attitude from her mother’s side, perhaps she, and I am quoting my chemistry teacher from 1971, “can do better”.