Wednesday, March 25, 2015

First Grade Prep Class

Raphaela has begun a preparation course for First Grade, given by the school itself toward the purpose of observing the girls who will enter their halls next year socially, and to get a sense of their incoming levels of things like phonics and math.  Eight sessions in total, four of which for the parents as well, to help us help our child adapt to this crucial academic transition.

I think this is a good idea, mostly because Raphaela will have explored the halls of the building with friends old and new, it will not be scary and new.  The activities they seem to have done so far, as well as the little presents they have received from the teacher in charge, have only encouraged Raphaela that First Grade will be a fun and enlightening experience.  The way my daughter bounded out to me after that first session, smiling from ear to ear, I have not seen her this jazzed in a long time.  Hearing her say with confidence, "I'm a big girl, I am a First Grade girl!", it only reaffirms my gut instinct that I made the right choice.

I truly believe that the moment Raphaela can read, the core focus of First Grade, the entire Universe will open up to her.

The Gan psychologist called me this morning, three months after I had put in a request to have an official Ministry of Education assessment done vis a vis First Grade.  When I told her that that ship had sailed, that train had left the station,  etc. she seemed puzzled and disappointed. I reminded her that we only had until April to make the final decision, and she should have done this assessment ages ago, if she really meant to help.  The psychologist's response? "Well, I was busy..."

This morning Raphaela reminded me, without my saying a word, that she had another prep class this afternoon, and that we have to bring her workbook.  She is remembering her so-called homework on her own initiative, that is a very good sign in my book.

Post-script:  The teacher of Raphaela's Nature Class, a woman with years of experience in the Israeli school system, has severe objections to this preparatory class, and to the pressure in general on children at an early age, in First Grade.  She made the analogy of taking a beautiful butterfly and crushing it in your fist, trying to control and corral the natural creative tendencies of Raphaela and kids like her.  I pray to G-d she is wrong in this case, I am comfortable and happy with my choice of educational institutions. 

I would hate to think that I am crushing Raphaela's spirit and potential.

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