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Kindergarten School

Farewell, Kindergarten + What I Learned About Schooling

It’s been a full 9 days since Yuri’s Moving Up ceremony, and I still can’t believe the school year is finally over! It’s been an awesome first year of regular schooling and we’ve made a lot of new friends. I also saw my son develop good study habits and self-discipline. But the highlight of the year, for me, was probably seeing Yuri do things on his own, meet people — both kids and adults — on his own, get along with everyone, and realising that he will do just fine.

As for me, I’m amazed that I’ve been able to keep up with preparing a healthy baon everyday. Yes, it’s a big deal for me! They were not as bongga as the ones I made from scratch and lovingly arranged in his container in June, but at least there were still fruits, cheese, and the occasional homemade food. It’s still an achievement for me, but that doesn’t mean I’ll stop striving for better.

Going back to the Moving Up ceremony, Yuri got three awards: With Honors, Star Reader, and Enthusiastic Learner. I mentioned quite discreetly in my last post that we were involved in a little drama in the days leading to the ceremony; it had something to do with the awards I mentioned above. I don’t think about it anymore and I’m just hoping it wouldn’t happen again. After all, it’s already been resolved so move on na!

Yuri’s Learning Style

No one in his class got an award higher than With Honors because of the school’s grading system. It’s not a big issue as long as the educators fairly assess each child as a unique individual. You see, Yuri doesn’t struggle with academics but he’s timid and is not a performer. He performs when needed (e.g. when he was made Joseph in their Christmas play) but he’s not as comfortable in the spotlight as other kids are. He prefers being in the back or being in the corner, quietly doing his own thing. Which is okay!

He certainly didn’t inherit this trait from me because I am epal lol but I relish in Yuri’s uniqueness. He is a doer and whatever he puts his heart into doing, he tries his best to do well. Unfortunately, this can mean being pitted against the performers, the speakers, and those who just shine effortlessly — which I try to understand because there’s more than 30 kids in his class and comparison is unavoidable. Good thing he aces his examinations, even the on-the-spot Stanine academic assessment done by the school.

Yeah, I am fully aware that this is a strong argument for homeschooling, but Yuri’s gonna be kawawa if I push on homeschooling since I really do not have the time it takes to be a full-time educator huhu. Because formal schooling is our best option, I’m just hoping and pushing for the “reserved” kids to also be recognised fairly. 🙂

Moving Up Ceremony

Anyway, here are more pictures of Yuri’s Kindergarten Moving Up ceremony! Theirs is very special because they are the first batch of kids ever to use the school’s newly built auditorium. As in they were still finishing it less than two weeks before the ceremony. It was exciting to see the kids sing and dance. After all those rehearsals, I could only imagine the relief their teachers felt — they can finally breathe now!

Before the program started, with his friend Christopher

From the school’s official Facebook page (my sister insisted on going upstage, too, because she’ll never have the chance again haha – she’s graduating, too, but they’re not going to use the auditorium)

From the school’s official Facebook page

From the school’s official Facebook page

With his classmates (right) Jhia and Isabella, and AM batchmate (left) Zoe

With his classmate, Carl

With his classmate, Toffy

And with his best friend (“bro,” he corrected me), Antoine

With Tita Angel, their teacher aide

With Teacher Han, their substitute teacher

With Teacher Lorraine, their adviser who just gave birth in December, and Isabella

With Teacher Dinah (left), their Christian Living teacher, and Teacher Grace, their prefect of discipline

The ceremony ended early in the afternoon, and after taking pictures with virtually everyone we see inside the auditorium, it was time to go. We’re scheduled to have a more formal graduation + birthday celebration next week so we just ate an early dinner at Bistro Selera.

And the boy was treated to a giant cotton candy!

It was a very fulfilling year, and while I’m feeling a bit nostalgic, I am glad that kindergarten year ended on a high note. I am looking forward to another fun-filled and learning-filled year. First grade, here we come!

Lifestyle School

Messy Life Lately: Moving Up and House Renovation

OMG, I thought I would be able to blog once final examinations are done. Well, Yuri has had his final examinations done for more than two weeks now (the last day of their exams was last March 2nd pa), but I barely blogged. I didn’t know I would be even busier after final examinations!

I’m such a noob school-mom. I had no idea there would be so much to do after the final exams and before their Moving Up ceremony. Costumes, rehearsals, schedules… I was not prepared at all!

For starters, the PM kids (us) had to adjust their body clock again because they had to go to school in the morning to be with the AM kids. And because they only had a total of 8 days to prepare for their Moving Up (and we are talking about 5-7 year olds here), for the final week of rehearsals, they were expected to be in school for the whole day. It was a major adjustment for us since we’ve never had to stay in school for more than 4-5 hours.

I appreciate that they didn’t make the kids wear intricate costumes (part of the school policy), so at least there’s less hassle on our part as parents. However, no matter how practical, we still had to buy costumes and their Moving Up attire.

Moving Up

But finally it’s done! Yuri’s class had their Moving Up ceremony last Thursday, March 15th. I’ll be a bit cheeky here and mention that there was a bit of drama that happened to us at school, but that was already resolved — all’s well that ends well. Special mention to my friends, George and Yankee, to whom I vented. Thank you for listening!

The ceremony itself was bittersweet. It was so much fun watching the kids sing, dance, and perform. It was truly a culmination in every sense of the word, and we were filled with pride watching how much our children improved. Of course, it was doubly fun witnessing the ceremony with my co-parents who also became my friends.

I’ll stop here because Yuri’s Moving Up deserves a different post, but I’ll show you some pictures!

These kids were the first group of students to use the school’s newly-built auditorium

Grabbed from the school’s official FB page

Grabbed from the school’s official FB page

With my pretty co-parents 🙂

Renovation

But more than the preparations for Moving Up, the thing that’s been bringing me a lot of hassle is this:

This used to be the back part of our house. It had housed our washing machine and the clothesline. We don’t do our laundry at home anymore — in fact, our clothesline was barely used and our washing machine had been unused for the past 2-3 years. So we decided to take the wall down and convert the unused space into a new, more spacious kitchen. It’s exciting but when there’s a renovation taking place inside your own house, it’s very stressful because it’s messy, it’s dirty, it’s dusty… Lahat na!

In fact, because our current kitchen is virtually covered in cement dust (cleaning is futile because once they start working again, it’s going to be covered in dust again), we’re relying on food delivery 75% of the time. And because it is so uninspiring to stay in the kitchen, I have stopped making healthy food. I’m back to eating carbs (because you can’t make me wash veggies and make salads in this condition) so I’m just carefully watching my portions na lang.

I can’t wait for this renovation to be over!


On the brighter side of things, I can now finally say that it is officially SUMMER VACATION! We’re gonna be busy, busy, busy, but the nice kind of busy. My planner is going to be full… I can’t wait regretting enrolling Yuri in different summer classes and complaining about hectic schedules! 😅

Kindergarten Lifestyle School

School is Almost Over!!!

I can’t believe it. There’s only 1 week of formal classes left for Yuri! After this week will be their final examinations, and after that, practice for moving up. The weather is chilly right now, but I can almost smell the sweet scent of summer (break).

Guess who needs new jogging pants?! Ang ikli na!

With two of Yuri’s classmates

(By the way, their jogging pants don’t look like that ha haha. I just erased the name of the school. You know na, mahirap na)

Funny because I still have several school-related posts sitting in my drafts, which I never got to finish. I guess I’ll  have to wait until the next school year to work on them again… LOL I’m so bad at this, I often wonder how come I’m still blogging! (Speaking of pending posts, I’ll probably be able to post them all once school’s over, so yay!)

From our school’s FB page

Yuri’s class hasn’t had formal classes for about two weeks now — actually, the whole school. They spent a week rehearsing for their Sama-Sama, which is the school’s culmination event for the year. I remember my first Sama-Sama back in 1996… or was it 1997? I was new to the school, a transferee, so I had no idea what Sama-Sama means. The school celebrates its fiesta every August, so what could this event be?

Imagine my glee when I found out that aside from the field demonstrations and food stalls, there were carnival rides in the campus! I didn’t ride on the big rides because my parents didn’t allow me, but I did have a great time trying the other attractions.

But that was more than 20 years ago. There’s more regard for safety now and regulations are a lot stricter, so there wasn’t any single ride at school. Actually, there hasn’t been for a long time. Instead, the students — and the parents — enjoyed the food stalls (bawal junk food!) and the program. There was even a magic show, which was fun.

Oh, and the kids danced, too!

Formal classes will resume this week, and by next week, they will be having their final examinations (paulit-ulit haha). I will be busy again with making worksheets and studying. And then we will all be busy with the preparations for moving up. But after that, freedom! Hurrah to the last stretch of school year 2017-2018!

PS: I’m planning to enroll Yuri (and myself!) to a swimming school in the city, but let’s see what happens. What are your plans for summer?

Parenting School

A Month of Kindergarten: Discoveries, Adjustments, and Baon Ideas (Help!)

I still can’t believe it’s already the second half of the year. Konti nalang, -ber months na! Christmas na! Hahaha super advanced.

I also can’t believe we’ve been going to regular school for nearly a month now. I thought it would be harder, but really, I think we’re coping just fine. Yuri is still in love with going to school (so far!) and I adapted quite easily. A big reason, I think, is the lack of homework. When we get home, all we need to do is rest and recharge. I hope it goes this smoothly the rest of the school year!

Stuck in traffic! Dili unta ma-late! 💪🏻

A post shared by Marie Angeli Laxa (@marie_angeli) on

Kindergarten is actually very new to me because I didn’t go to kindergarten myself. There are things that surprise me. For example, last Friday, the children attended a seminar with the guidance counsellor. I was pleasantly surprised because the seminar was meaty, and Yuri learned a lot e.g. bad touch vs. good touch and how to act around strangers and people they don’t know.

Good touch!

Our System

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Kindergarten School

6 Reasons Why I’m Loving Yuri’s Big School

It’s no secret that Yuri’s current school now was not our top choice when we were initially school-hunting. I didn’t really not like this school — it’s just that I wanted to try something new because almost ten years of my life was spent inside this very campus.

Then again, life rarely goes according to plan, and we found ourselves enrolling in the very school that I voted against! We had to consider the logistics and the practicality of doing so — it’s just the most ideal choice at the moment considering those factors. Buuut after a couple of weeks of going to school and parent orientations, one being the first PTA meeting for this school year, I think I’m realising the merits of the decision.

Going to my first PTA meeting, wet uncombed hair and all

1. No heavy bags for the kids

I recently read in Mommy Fleur‘s blog how her daughter has to deal with a heavy school bag every day. I remember doing the same as a child; all my books (an average of 5-7) stuffed into my backpack together with my notebooks (8-10), pencil case, and other school stuff. And we haven’t included the baon yet.

I was pleased to find out that I didn’t need to buy Yuri a huge bag for school. The young children at school, from preschool/kindergarten to 2nd grade, all have lockers where they keep their books and notebooks. I’m not sure about the graders, but for senior kinder, they also have cubbies inside the classroom where all their stuff — art materials, toiletries, extra clothes — are hidden.

We’re only required to bring home the kids’ books and notebooks every weekend, so for the rest of the week, they don’t have to bring anything save for pencils, some supplies, and their baon. 

Yuri’s bag just holds his handbook, pencil case, a supply case (crayons, glue, etc.), wipes, towel, and a sanitizer. It looks big but it’s actually super light. 

(In fact, during the PTA meeting last Saturday, the teachers reminded the parents not to let their kids use huge stroller bags anymore because they didn’t need to!)

2. Little homework (so far…)

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Kindergarten School

Yuri and the First Week of Kindergarten School

I feel so exhausted! It’s just been one week (actually, four days!) that Yuri was at school, yet I feel like I’ve used up all of my humanly powers. In that short period of time, I realised, I’m not Wonder Woman! And it pains me so much to say that, lololol!

Seriously though, it’s been a really full week. Even if I had two days off (Monday was a holiday and I took a leave Tuesday because it was Yuri’s first day of school), it doesn’t feel anything like it. If anything, it feels as if I just came from an 80-hour work week. Having a student is not easy pala! 

I usually wake up at 5:30 (yes, even in the summer), but before school started, this meant spending time in a devotional, trying to work out, and preparing for the day. This time, it means preparing Yuri’s things, uniform, and baon. He doesn’t have to go to school until lunch time — we enrolled him in the afternoon session because of reasons — but since I have work, as much as possible, I need to get everything done within the first hour of the day.

Later in the week, I would find out that it’s a hundred times more better to prepare everything the night before. Hey, I’m still learning! 😀

I spent Monday and Tuesday doing school-mum stuff. I laundered all his uniform, school underwear (just white socks, white sandos, and white briefs), PE uniform, proceeded to iron them, washed his lunch boxes, water bottles, accessories, prepared his things and requirements, went to the mall to buy the last items still un-ticked on his requirement checklist, and did grocery shopping for baon. The works. I still had time to meet up with my best friend George for dinner, so I’m gonna give myself a pat on the back for that haha.

Well, I also learned that preparing for school a day before it starts and preparing on the first day of school itself were two completely different things. I can’t say I was frazzled because I still managed to have fun, but I think I did use all of my major muscle groups. I did manage to get these snapshots!

Weapon of choice: my trusty Instax 210 + film of course

Yuri’s first day baon: Tuna sandwich, cheese shapes, pizza shapes, and Keebler wafers

On the way to school! I brought him to the barbershop earlier that day so his hair was just freshly cut and styled

Hello, school! Let’s do this!

Welcome to kindergarten, noob mama! I swear, there is nothing more intimidating than a group of confident veteran school-mums when you’re melting into a puddle of nerves.

Hello, classroom! This was a really old classroom, a lot older than I am. The elementary building is, I think, the oldest building in the campus.

It’s good to know, though, that the inside was maintained nicely: clean and spacious and well-lit. A/C units look fairly new and it has an overhead projector na lol!

The adjacent classroom was converted into a playroom just for the K2 pupils. It’s also airconditioned and the place is really clean. Yuri’s one of the early birds so he had the place to himself. His favourite things are the bahay-kubo slide (behind Yuri) and the ball pit (right)!

Segue about the playroom: There was no separation anxiety or any drama among the kids, like at all. This was because they were all put inside the playroom to interact with their classmates, teacher, and titas (teacher aides). Yuri didn’t even look at me once he was inside.

The only “drama” that happened came from a boy classmate who arrived late. By the time he arrived, play time was already over and they were back in the classroom. It did not sit well with the child, obviously, and he cried. It does serve as a good lesson about punctuality for Yuri (and maybe his other classmates too).

Second day baon! Peanut butter sandwich, Keebler wafers, ham & cheese shapes, and a banana

I love PE uniform days because they’re easier to iron bahaha!

I really like the lady guard (the one sweeping the floor). She never fails to smile and she talks to the students, especially the smaller ones, in a motherly way. Also, she allowed me to go inside when I was wearing shorts. In my defence, I did not know the dress code was already being implemented during the orientation week! Oops!

A cut-out star can absolutely make a 5-year old’s day 😀

He didn’t even notice me when I was right there. Hi Yuri! 😀 (Also, he wasn’t wearing his PE uniform because a new schedule was given the day before, the day when he was wearing his PE uniform haha)

It was a fun first week. Right after the first day, my nervousness disappeared, and it’s hugely because Yuri was having so much fun at school. He loves his teacher, the titas, his classmates… the play room! LOL! In fact, for him, Monday can’t arrive quickly enough! As for me, I’m going to enjoy my weekend (I just finished washing his clothes ~again~ and wrapping his notebooks in plastic cover) because next week will be a new adventure!

Kindergarten School

Eating My Words About Our Kindergarten Plans (AKA We’re Finally Enrolled)

I still remember explaining, quite adamantly, why I don’t want to enrol Yuri in my alma mater. 

I don’t have anything personal against the school. It’s just that it’s the school my older brother and I went to most of our lives (except college), and my younger sister, who is entering her final year of junior high school, is still going there. I just want to try something new, which is why I actively scouted for other schools earlier this summer. The school has to fulfil my small criteria, and it shouldn’t be my alma mater.

Well ha ha ha.

Life has a funny way of making you eat your words, lol. A month ago — I just forgot to write a post about it — a week after I had Yuri take an entrance exam at Holy Child, where despite scoring well, we were waitlisted because they were prioritising old students, I irrationally panicked because what if no slot opens for Yuri? I know; it’s irrational. But staying true to my Type A-personality, I just needed a Plan B. Also, it was already the middle of April, not much time left (at least in my view). The other schools I wrote about I no longer considered, but there’s one school quietly waiting for my approval: the alma mater.

Thinking there was nothing to lose, I scheduled Yuri for another entrance test in ze alma mater. My original plan was to compare which school Yuri likes better. I was still planning to phone Holy Child for a follow up if a slot opens up.

Then, this happened and we lost our helper

A little backgrounder for those not familiar with my story: Yuri and I live in my parents’ house while Job works abroad for a couple of reasons. First, Job is not comfortable with the idea of Yuri and me living alone. Second, my dad is a dialysis patient, my mother is out everyday working, and my tween sister is still too young to take care of my dad if ever the need arises.

Back to the topic. Our helper, because of reasons, left, so we’re back to being help-less again. Our household will not fall apart in the absence of a helper, of course, but it was nice to know there’s an extra pair of hands around especially now that Yuri will be going to school. I built plans considering those extra hands, so when they left, I needed to amend the plan.

Bottom line: to make our lives easier, the most ideal thing to do right now is enrol Yuri in the same school my sister goes. Our routines would be much more streamlined, academic and extra-curricular schedules will be aligned, and in the unlikely event that I won’t be able to go to Yuri right away,  at least my sister is just there in the same campus. It just made perfect sense, and four weeks ago, Yuri was finally enrolled.

Right now, even though I’m sure I will still shop around for another school next academic year, I’m completely content with the final decision (Yuri doesn’t seem to mind either way). I’m just focusing on the most exciting task at hand: completing the boy’s school supplies. LOL!

Kindergarten Lifestyle School

Incredibly Excited for Kindergarten!

We had our last session at Eye Level a couple of Saturdays ago. It’s an enrichment school (formerly Enopi) so we didn’t really have to have summer vacations — and we certainly didn’t have to stop as both Yuri and I loved Eye Level — but I felt like giving him a break since he’ll be going to regular for the first time in his entire life. Yuri misses his classmates, but I just want him to enjoy this summer vacation. Also, it’s not as if he’s pining away after it hehe. We may go back to Eye Level once he’s fully adjusted to schooling, so who knows?

As for regular school, I still have a full month and give or take 2 weeks before it starts.

Aaaand I can’t stop online window shopping for school supplies. It’s like I’m addicted to it. I even dream of school supplies. Then again, I shouldn’t be so surprised — I find every excuse in the world as a valid reason to shop. Well, at least I’m not spending money! Err, at least not yet…

His hair was already too long in the wrong places, and I wanted to have him get a decent haircut before we make a first appearance at school lol

There was a new barbershop in the neighbourhood that also caters to little kids, and the haircut here costs almost half of what I used to pay for at Fun Cuts Just For Tots at SM Lanang. We love the place and how near it is to our house! And the cut’s not bad at all. Win!

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about our three initial school options for kindergarten. Those three were supposed to be initial choices, which meant I should’ve been adding more choices. However, I think I’ve already looked into all possible school choices in our area, and I didn’t find anything worth adding. If you didn’t get to read that previous post of mine, I am really just looking for a good school that is near our house. This is the first time Yuri will be going to a regular school and I don’t want us getting up extra early for a 45-minute travel. Of course, once he gets older, our priorities will shift and the accessibility of the school, while still important, may no longer top the list.

I originally planned to go to all of those three schools to inquire and maybe have Yuri take entrance exams. However, we ended up going to only one school. Here’s why:

  1. Little Leaders Learning Village is the most expensive out of the three. To be honest, even though the price difference is almost negligible, I cannot reconcile with how it’s more expensive than the other two considering it’s the smallest (it literally just occupies a unit in a commercial building). Also, correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m not sure if it has an open area where the kids could run around. This is very important for me because I grew up running in playgrounds. I’m sure it’s a nice school, but it’s not the one for us.
  2. PNJK is officially out of the option because of a neighbour who has a certain reputation. I don’t want to go into details, but let’s just say that I don’t want to risk it. Don’t get me wrong; he’s not a threat to society, well at least, but he seems to just hate his Filipino neighbours (even though he’s Filipino himself). It’s just not worth it.

Sooo, by law of elimination, that means we’re left with one option: Holy Child! It’s not like we’re left without a choice, though. It was already on top of my list mainly because it is super near home, and I do think it’s a good school for kindergarten.

I failed to take a picture of the campus and the classrooms. I’ll take pictures once we’re enrolled.

Just last Wednesday afternoon, we went there to inquire. Since we were already there, I asked the person in charge if Yuri can take an entrance exam. It was already 3:30 in the afternoon, and the in-charge was quite hesitant because Yuri might not be able to finish on time. I asked her how long it takes to finish it, and she said it depends on the student. It is possible to finish early though, she said, so I went ahead and paid for the entrance exam anyway (P200), hoping Yuri can answer despite being unprepared.

I adored the examiner. She was so well-spoken and her voice was well-modulated. I loved her techniques, too!

And he passed! It didn’t take him long, thank goodness, and I was just observing from where I was waiting. I am not going to tell you how exactly the examination went; all I can say is that I liked the method of the examiner and she was really kind and helpful and accommodating. She even praised Yuri a couple of times when he finished the exam, and I was absolutely grateful for the affirmation. And yes, a little bit flattered, too, lol!

However, we weren’t able to enrol yet because they are prioritising their old students last week. I’ll have to wait for Wednesday to inquire whether a slot is available for Yuri. Realistically, I think there would be since we’re not a particularly big community and some kids might get transferred to bigger schools. But I really hope there is because we snooped around the kindergarten area (with permission, of course!) and Yuri really liked what he saw. When we went to SM Lanang later that afternoon, he even told me what he wants to put inside his table: his lunchbox daw, his pencil case, etc etc.

The fact that Yuri suddenly became super excited didn’t help… me. Because he’s excited, the excitement that I had already felt since the beginning of this month intensified further. We still haven’t bought school supplies yet — save for some that were given to Yuri as gifts or were bought in advance because naka-sale hahaha — and now I can’t stop looking at websites, blogs, and even Youtube vlogs (I just re-discovered how fun watching Youtube vlogs is!). I’ve been all over eBay, Amazon, even Shopee and every single kids’ online shop out there. I am a woman obsessed!

The obsessed mum and the exasperated child

I’m afraid I might overbuy and buy stuff that aren’t even needed, but then again, who doesn’t? Still, I want to stay practical and ~rational~ in this kindergarten school supplies shopping thing, so I’m doing all the research!

What were/are your kindergarten must haves? What do I need to buy? What can I do without?