Sunday, January 11, 2015

Linna's first week at dulwich.

Linna in her new school uniform.
Last week, our 3-year-old started nursery at a new school in Singapore. Although we absolutely loved her former school (Pasir Panjang Church Hill Kindergarten), we wanted to get her on a calendar similar to the American school calendar, and we wanted her to start going a little longer days. Dulwich College is a British school with a 400-year tradition, and a top international school in Singapore that practices a dual language model (English and Mandarin). We were thrilled when Linna was accepted to Dulwich, and it's an opportunity she just wouldn't get back home in Minnesota.

The school is very "proper" and traditional, but modern and brand spankin' new (they just opened in Singapore in August 2014). Everytime I walk into the school I feel like I'm stepping into Downton Abbey (one of my favorite shows). Everyone at the school is so polite, and they all speak with these beautiful "posh" British accents. Linna's teacher, Miss Wallace, reminds me of Anna Bates from Downton Abbey. She's incredibly sweet, and just like an English Disney princess. Linna absolutely LOVES her! There are about 16 kids in Linna's class, which is a big change from her former school, where there were just five kids in her class. There's also an assistant Mandarin-speaking teacher in the classroom as well. Linna is in the "Early Years" school, which Dulwich refers to as DUCKS (Dulwich College Kindergarten Singapore). The classroom is bright, airy, and there's hands-on learning around every corner. There's also a bathroom right inside the classroom with toilets and sinks designed just for these little ones. I can see why Linna loves being there!

The biggest changes with Linna's new school is the start time, transportation to and from school, and the distance the school is from our home in Singapore. Linna's former school was a 15-minute walk from our house, so I was at the school every day to drop her off and pick her up. Now, I have to put our 3-year-old on the school bus (which is more like a school van with seat belts, thankfully) every morning, and she takes the bus home as well. This was a huge struggle for me. Linna is ONLY 3 years old, and I still look at her as my baby! I've really had to learn to let go a bit and put a lot of trust in people I barely know (after I got their full names, phone numbers, and background, of course). That's difficult for any Mom. Linna is on the bus for about 25 minutes in the morning, and then a half-hour in the afternoon. The school bus has a driver, as well as an "Auntie" (a woman dedicated to the care of the children), which I really appreciate. During the first week, we had some frustrating glitches with Linna's bus routes/schedules, which left both of us in tears. As we start the second week of school, I'm hopeful that everything has been sorted, so we can start the week out on a positive note.

Dulwich has swimming as part of the school's curriculum, and
swimming day happened to land on Linna's first day of school.
How cute are the school swimsuits and swim caps?!

Linna and another student working very hard on the first day of school.

She was completely wiped when I picked her up after her first day.

Quite possibly the biggest change of all... our super early wake-up time. I've been so spoilt having a good little sleeper, and Linna and I rarely wake up before 9 a.m. Now, we are up at 7 a.m. every morning to get ready for school, and be outside waiting for the school bus at 8 a.m. Linna is completely wiped when she gets home from school around 1:15 p.m., so she's in bed by 6 p.m. every night. We've dropped her nap during the school week, but she did take a 1.5-hour nap on Friday after school last week. We also have her napping on the weekends if we plan on having her up past 7 p.m.

Linna and her teacher, Miss Wallace.

On the way to catch the school bus with "Pingu" (class mascot).

Linna's first "homework" assignment: "What I did this weekend".

Although I am struggling a bit not being at Linna's school every day, I am enjoying my kid-free time. Linna's new school is located waaaaaay up in the northwest part of Singapore (close to Malaysia), and since we don't have a car here, it gets expensive taking a taxi to the school and back home. I'm planning on picking Linna up from school at least one day a week, so I can get to know the parents and teachers in her class. Everyone has been just wonderful so far. Most importantly, Linna absolutely loves her new school. She's shed a few tears getting on and off the bus during the first week, but she's completely happy once she's at school. Linna's teacher even let Linna take home the class mascot ("Pingu" the penguin) during the first week of school, when Linna was having a hard time getting on the bus to come home. Such a sweet thing to do! I am really appreciating the communication from Linna's teachers as well, and I feel like I know what goes on in the class each day.

Onto week #2!

My baby taking a well-deserved nap after a full week at a new school.

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