Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Colinism and Calebite

Last year James and I made a big decision about moving Colin to a new school for senior kindergarten. It was a decision that wasn't made lightly or easily, with many pros and cons on both sides of the debate. One of the biggest risks we were taking is that if the new school didn't work out, I didn't want to move Colin again for grade one. I really felt that whatever decision we made, it was going to have to stick for a few years at least.

Boy, am I ever glad this new school worked out - and I am happy with the decision in so many ways. I love the small school feeling, the fact that we know all the teachers and all the teachers know our kids. I love how the school can work together on projects and ideas, instead of being segregated by year. I love that between my good friend and I, we will have 8 kids between us, in 7 different grades at the school (talk about being in the know!)

Most of all, I love how my kids are thriving in the French language. Despite both James and I have taken French immersion, I am very apprehensive every time I send off one of my little ones to junior kindergarten. I worry that the language will hold them back, that they won't pick it up, that other kids with more fluent parents will leave my kids behind. I worry that it will not let them reach their full potential in the long run. I know that statistically all these fears are unfounded, and even if one of my kids struggled with the language and had to be pulled from the program, losing the first couple years of school will not negatively affect their entire lives.

Both my boys are doing amazingly. I am in awe of how quickly our young ones can pick up a new language. Yesterday, Colin was trying to relate an experience to me, and he seemed to be struggling a little, as evidenced by the far-away gaze in his eyes and the furrowed forehead. When I asked him what was wrong, he replied "Mom, I just can't think of all the English words!" I smiled, and told him that he can go ahead and just tell me in French, because I understand that too.

Caleb has blossomed all of a sudden in the language. He wasn't participating much through the first two months, but his teacher and I realized that it was more a desire thing than an ability thing, since Caleb was inconsistent in what he "knew" and "didn't know." Since December hit, the teacher has instituted her "no English in class" rule. The teacher never spoke any English to the kids, but up until now has tolerated the occasional English phrase from the kids, especially since most of them were not yet fluent in French. But now, no more. And you know what? Caleb is doing just fine. He's already starting to slip up at home, mixing in French with English all the time, which is one of the milestones on the way to fluency.

Don't you love when things work out so well?

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