1. School hours for Q is between 8.55 a.m. and ends at 3.30 p.m. The class teachers will wait for the students at the special entrance each morning, and will send off the children each afternoon after school. They will make sure that these kids are dropped off/picked up by only authorised person(s), or these kids will be kept inside the classroom (and 'love letters' will come to the guardians).
The fact that the parents can meet the teachers during these times is quite good because we can catch up on the mini progresses of our kids, and not just wait till Parent-Teacher meetings.
2. School milk and mid morning snacks
All the children are given free milk until they reach the age of 5, and then the parents can opt to continue by buying the milk or stop altogether. It's quite affordable, and since children copy other children, we have opted to continue the milk supply after Q turned 5 last month.
Mid morning snacks are given at 10.30 a.m. or so and consists of fruits which are given free. At least the kids have something halfway between breakfast and lunch, which happens at 12 noon.
3. School lunches can be a choice between school provided food, or bring your own. The menu of these lunches are rotated on a 3-weekly basis, and you (the kids) have a choice of vegetarian meals as well. All at the same price.
The good thing about this arrangement :-
a. there is no necessity for the children to bring any money to buy food as parents will pay via online in advance
b. there's main meal, dessert, veggies and water included - hot and fresh
c. the canteen/kitchen did not have to prepare more than the required amount of food, so wastage is reduced
d. no chance of cheating by the canteen staff (I have heard horror stories about canteen operators giving wrong changes to unsuspecting school children, but I hope this is not true)
Lunch wardens are there to check if the children have eaten enough and they get a sticker if they finished/eat most of their food.
4. Reading assignments - with the parents
On a regular basis, Q is given a set of 10-words to learn at home. Then she is tested before being given a new set. Since mid-Nov'10 (i.e. 11 weeks of school), she's already learned 70 words, and lately she has been getting new words to learn on a weekly basis.
And parents will have to write the progress of the children in a reading diary, which also serves as a communication tool between parents/teachers.
Then the learnt words will be pasted in a book so it can be read again. There will also be stories with pictures that uses these words given in separate handouts.
5. Loaned clothing, for those kids who have 'accidents'. And the teachers don't even punish them.
Q had a few 'accidents' during her first 5 weeks at school and came back with borrowed uniform etc. Her teachers just shared with me and it was up to me how to handle this.
No standing outside the class, with your poo/pee still in the pants, until the guardians come to pick the kids up.
No lowering the child's self-esteem.
Just soiled clothes for guardians to wash, and borrowed clothes to be returned soonest.
1. Each week they learn new letters, so parents are encouraged to bring items which starts with that letter so the teachers can share it with the class. Last week for example, it was the letter 'g' and R decorated a gingerbread cookie which he brought back and shared with Q.
2. Stay and play - where parents are allowed to stay with the children during the whole 3-hour session at a very low price. The child gets to adapt with the environment, make friends and the parents get to be acquainted with the carers before leaving the kids there permanently.
3. 15-hour funding for those kids age 3 and above.
The younger your children are, the more expensive the payment for childcare. But kids who 3 and above are given a 15-hour funding which means they can go to the nursery for free! 15 hours at least, and any request for more hours the guardian will pay accordingly.
R has been requesting to go to 'school' on a daily basis, whereas now his schedules are on alternate days. He turned 3 in Jan but the funding will only start the next semester i.e. after this coming Easter break. So I have requested that his sessions be increased this summer, so he can go everyday.
4. Progress diaries, or scrapbook, written by the carer themselves, with pictures and arts done by the children.
I love this, just like what is done here. At least the parents get to see some of the activities done by the kids.
5. Item 5 is the same as Q's item 5.
Maybe the above are nothing special for some, but I am impressed with all these things. Made my kids love going to school.