How is School in Perth like, for a 5 Year Old?

Hi Nix,

I hope this email finds you well. Time flies really fast, it's now 2017 and our time is running shorter each day. I have tried to take driving lessons again, but simply can't make it. Went to eye centre and was told again that I would be better off being chauffeured, than attempting to drive myself. Guess it's probably genetic since my sibling has the same problem.

Anyway, we have decided to move together as a family instead. We are now planning to make a trip this year to hunt for house and schools for the kids. I do understand that you may not want to over exposed your family especially little Albany in your blog, but really hope if you could share about schooling matters, like what's a typical school day like for her. Sorry that I am making such a weird request, but I have a gal whom is exactly Albany's age (less than a month older than her, in fact). I am not so concerned about my other kids, but my little gal is very shy, and doesn't communicate much.

So, if you could, I would love to hear about Albany's school stories in email exchange when you have the free time (which I know are highly precious to you).

Lastly, though I know that CNY is not much celebrated in Australia, here is my CNY wishes for your family:
To You - 身体健康
To Jen - 合家欢乐
To Albany & Little Ant - 岁岁平安, 快高长大



Hi JL,

Thank you for your well wishes.

I had old posts regarding schools, none of which directly answers your question but you may still like to read them. 

I hope something about my observations in the last 2 links will strike you. That is, if you think the shyness in your daughter should be overcome. Several perspectives of mine in old posts may have changed by now but this one hasn't. I still maintain there is something about the education system Australia (flawed as it is) capable of grooming confident, outspoken children. My daughter was naturally shy. I still think she is but being exposed to school has lifted her to her upper limit. I believe you will see the change in your girl once she goes to school.

To be honest, I don't have many school stories of Albany to share. My wife may be in a better possible to observe because when she isn't working that day, she will stay a little longer after sending her to school. However, she isn't one who is good at detailing her observations. My impression of her schooling is limited to my visits to pick her up from after-school care and qualitative interviews with Albany. She has just started "Pre-Primary" this week, which requires her to go to school every week day. They are full days, I thought it is rather hectic for 5 year olds. Just last year, she was attending "Kindy" or "Pre-pre-primary" if you prefer, for only 5 days a fortnight. A vast difference.

Each time she returns from school, I will ask her to describe her day to me. "How's your day?" "Good." is not good enough for me. I encourage her to tell me as many things as she can remember, without asking too much question or placing judgement on incidents she brought up, lest she develops phobia to share thoughts with me. From her sharing, this is what I gather from my imagination, for what she has attended so far,

They do not have designated seats in class.

They do not do a much writing at this age but lots of craft instead. A lot.

They learn to count at 4 years old but no mathematics like addition, subjection etc. yet. I'm not sure about Pre-Primary as she just started.

They sing a lot in class

They dance too, as I caught Albany dancing when she thought I was not looking.

They are taught to appreciate nature, plants, animals, etc.

Regular play time outdoors. Hat is a compulsory item to bring everyday.

I don't know what they teach but she acquired a surprisingly wide range of vocab last year.

She acquires early development in critical thinking and learn concepts such as fairness.  

Her class is no more than 20 children.

Her class is more multi-cultural than what Singapore likes to portray itself. There are no clear majority. Caucasian Aussies make up about 1/4 of her class, another 1/4 the are Europrean, another 1/4 are non-white Aussies and Africans and the last 1/4 are Asians. Though the children are from different cultural backgrounds, most of them are born here. Albany has two classmates from Australian and Africa background sharing the same name. As such, children do not seem to feel the racial and cultural differences at that age. They play, laugh and sing together without mental barriers. Only 1 of Albany's "favourite friends" is Asian. I think that is a good thing. From the way I see it, as long as your child speaks English, she will blend in with the others in no time. 

At this age, I am not concerned about her academic skills. I prefer her to learn social skills, gain confidence and the interest to learn, which the school seems to offer so far. She goes to a public school. So if you are into the specifics, you may want to look into private schools. They may be expensive but many parents do not mind splashing the cash. As I do not know how our parenting mentality differs, it is not appropriate for me to recommend. That is probably what I can think of at the moment. 

Feel free to ask further questions.

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