Today, I went to the 1st wywiadówka of Lizzie’s school career and the 1st in my mothering career. The turn-out was sad, only 2 parents made an appointment with the teacher out of the whole class, but so what, my appointment was great and it was all in Polish!
It reminded me of my 1st parent/teacher conference as a teacher in the US . I was all prepared, and I lined up some chairs outside of the room just in case some parents had to wait to speak to me, the all-important educator of their precious children. I had more than 120 students and was a little nervous that I wouldn’t be able to meet with as many parents as I wanted to. Another teacher walking down the hall observing me and my chairs said, “You know no one is coming, right?” “What d’ya mean?” “No parents come to parent/teacher conferences in this school.” “Oh,” I said and went back into my classroom where I slumped down in my chair and waited and waited and waited. My first parent appeared and gave me his name which didn’t sound familiar. I couldn’t find that surname on my list. He then gave me his child’s name and we were rolling. I felt so teachery and after he left, I checked the hall for others waiting. No one was there. After more waiting, one of my students arrived with his grandfather who said that he now knew why his grandson was so interested in history. The poor boy was terribly embarrassed, but that’s what grandpa’s are for. After another hour of waiting, I decided to pack it in. 2 visits and not even of the problem students. 2 visits from 120 students.
Anyhow, back to Lizzie’s conference, Pre-school Parent/Teacher Conference, no less. I think it was her teacher’s 1st wywiadówka as well, so I went easy on her ;) I learned that Lizzie is a quiet and very well-behaved child, even too well-behaved. She likes to stick with her best friend and almost exclusively chooses cars and trucks to play with and always puts them away when she’s done. She is an excellent painter and takes her art work quite seriously. All in all, she is developing well.
Together, we devised a plan to separate Lizzie a bit from her best friend in the class because those two girls are addicted to each other. They both need to learn to mingle with the other kids. In addition, to draw Lizzie out, I suggested giving her a role to play. She likes to hide a little behind a role and feels freer to be more outgoing when she is playing someone else. I asked her teacher to correct her Polish and to not worry about her English “r” in Polish words. When she says rowerek, it is so sweet. I also asked her to be aware that Lizzie is so in love with Pre-school that she wouldn’t tell the teachers if she got ill…probably until it was too late and words like vomit and carpet come into play.
I’m pleased with Lizzie’s Pre-school. I don’t really have anything to compare it with. I didn’t go to pre-school in America. The day is nicely structured. The children have a lot of free play, semi-structured play and structured play. Each day they focus on different areas of development. One day is music, another art, gymnastics, etc. Today was addition and subtraction. Each group has about 20-25 kids, but they are rarely all present. Each group also has 3 teachers (a morning teacher and an afternoon teacher with some overlap and an assistant for the whole day).
They have to feed the little buggers as well. They have breakfast, soup and dessert, and dinner and fruit. After years and years of American processed school lunch, I am impressed with the food my daughter receives at school (ok, minus the breakfast parówki). At about 8:30, the kids have cereal with milk or oatmeal/cream of wheat, a sandwich and a drink. Sometimes they even have inka which thrills Lizzie to no end because she says that she had coffee at school. At about 11:00, they have hot soup and a dessert such as a cookie or fruit gelatin or pudding. At about 1:30, they have dinner which can be anything from pierogi (known happily by the kids as “Pierogi Day!!!!”), a piece of meat, potatoes, a vegetable, or crepes or pasta. Juice, water and compote are served to drink. They also get a fresh piece of fruit after dinner which they actually eat. They eat in the classroom and 2 ladies bring a trolley with food from the kitchen. Sometimes I’d like to get a plateful of dinner, too. It smells so good!
It’s a public school, but that doesn’t mean that it is free. The tuition, food, supplies, parent’s committee and some other payments add up to about 350 zloty a month. Is that cheap or expensive? It depends on your vantage point. The monthly gross minimum wage in Poland is about 1,300 zloty with the net minimum wage working out to be about 980 zloty a month. That means the cost of Pre-school is 36% of the after-tax minimum wage.
The next big event on the Pre-school agenda is a presentation for Grandparents because Thursday this week is Dzień Babci (Jan 21st) and Friday is Dzień Dziadka (Jan 22nd) (Grandmother’s Day and Grandfather’s Day). Our Babcia will be there. Lizzie has made a laurka (card) and has been practicing her poem for the show. She can’t wait!
Kocham moją babcię, kocham mego dziadka.
Ale jak im o tym powiedzieć?
Może im zaspiewać, wtedy będą wiedzieć!
Aby babcia i dziadek
w zdrowiu długo żyli
Aby uśmiech dla nas mieli
w każdej wolnej chwili