The school year has been over since the beginning of the month of December. The boys are home all the time and… I’ve been relieved. Yes, when they go to school I had some much needed time off from 7:30 to 12:00 every morning, and yes, we were lucky to have “free” tuition at the private school next door, BUT I didn’t like a lot of things in that school.
My main complain :
The kids were always sick.
It all started at the very beginning of the year when Uriel’s teacher came to talk to me to say that the snacks I was giving to the kids were not very popular. That day I had given some slices of apple in tupperwares to each of my three boys. They love fruits at home, so I was surprised, but told the lady that it didn’t matter anyway because if they don’t have a snack in the morning they eat better at lunch! Oh no, but I didn’t understand, in that school they teach the kids to “share” stating with.. their lunches. Imagine the pool of bacteria on all these dirty preschoolers hands generously sharing their food and coughing and sneezing on each other. It seems the teachers never heard of some little things called germs. They are invisible, you know. So, the problem was not that my kids wouldn’t eat their own snack, rather that given the choice all the other kids were probably fighting for a piece of cake rather than a healthy bit of apple…
I was pretty pissed. I lectured my boys to eat only what I gave them or not at all, but I suspect my instructions were not always followed.
Another problem arose regarding the toothbrushes. You see, kids in Brazilian schools are asked to bring their toothbrushes. Brazilians are taught oral hygiene from an early age! I had heard about it and thought it was fantastic.
How wrong was I. First, if you do something like that with young children, it goes without question that the task HAS TO be supervised. Right? The instructor shows the kids how to do the thing, then checks that it is done well. After loosing the toothbrush once, replacing it, and loosing it again two weeks within the first month of school, I went to speak to one of the teacher to explain that if Natanael didn’t have his toothbrush in the last week it was because he had lost two of them already and I wasn’t going to buy another one. He is brushing his teeth everyday before bed after all. To my astonishment the teacher (another one) hadn’t noticed! She apologized saying that there too many kids to supervise and didn’t see that one of them was not brushing his teeth. (Probably fooling around and sticking the brush in the toilet bowl… Who knows! )
Then they constantly had all kinds of special activities that didn’t make any sense to me. Who ever thought that a pajama party at school for pre-schoolers was a good idea? How about visiting a sick mate at his home? Sure, this is alright or even fun for older kids, but we are talking about small children that barely manage to wipe their own ass!
Plus with so little school time, I’d rather have the teacher do her job of teaching how to count, read and write, and leave all the rest for after school activities.
So between the total lack of hygiene and all the fluff of “special” activities (I mean, how special is a party if you have it thrice a month?), and because just saying “no” it’s not a good enough answer for Brazilians, I had to invent a lot of half-truths, “Sorry, my kids won’t be doing that, I have some French lessons planned for them that day / We have something else planned that evening as a family”.
Next year they’ll hopefully go to public school.