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kindergarten davao

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?