Exceeding Expectations, Record-Setting in Jordan
So, ButterBean started school last week. The experience has been worlds better than our KG experience (which is also improving). Although I was actually expecting really awesome things, I have been pleasantly surprised all around. Kinzi assured me that it was bloggable, so here I am - blogging it. The things that have pleasantly surprised me about this year.
- Interactive Whiteboards! Okay, if you're like me, you may not have seen an interactive whiteboard before. Most of the organizations I've worked for haven't valued such technology highly enough to pay for it :). So, here I was in a First Grade classroom seeing awesome new technology. In case you are wondering what an interactive whiteboard is, here's the Wikipedia description: "An interactive whiteboard is a large interactive display that connects to a computer and projector. A projector projects the computer’s desktop onto the board’s surface, where users control the computer using a pen, finger or other device. The board is typically mounted to a wall or on a floor stand." The beauty of this is that the teachers and students can actually use their fingers to press virtual buttons and select line style, color, etc. and then draw on the board. How awesome is that? So, in case you haven't seen one, here's a picture of one type, it's not the exact model ButterBean has, but it's close enough. And I thought they were only doing this state-of-the-art stuff at King's Academy!
- Annual Calendar: Yes really. The school issued each student's parents an Agenda that contained all school activities and holidays. For the YEAR. Yes, ladies and gents, we know when parent teacher conferences are, when breaks are, everything. Now if only it were all in English, I'd be even happier (and THAT is really a personal problem).
- French: This may be common in Jordan, I have no idea. But, I do know that in the US languages are typically "saved" for Junior High School (about age 13). By that time the language receptors are in slow-down mode. So, when I saw (much to my surprise) that in addition to the bilingual English/Arabic program, they add French in the first grade I was thrilled. Yes, FIRST GRADE!
- Code of Ethics: Yep, they sent home a booklet of their code of ethics asking that the First Grade parents go over them with their kids and help instilling these values in the very beginning. Oh, and they also outline what they strive for their graduates to become. It's exactly what I'm hoping for my ButterBean. How nice to see we're all on the same page.
- Technology Curriculum: Indeed, their first grade students have two separate technology/computer studies books. Mind you, for me we started computers in 12th grade (yes that's right, I'm THAT old). And the state of the art document creation package we used was called FredWrite. Now, they start computers in KG1 and have a formal curriculum in first grade. How wired and ahead of the game are these kids going to be?
All in all, we could not have selected a better environment for ButterBean. She's happy, her teacher is excellent, and she gets the kind of education I literally could only have dreamed of for her. Although, I do worry about how much farther ahead of me she's going to be! How do I handle that. Any thoughts?