So Isla had her school interview yesterday. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check my previous post here.)
We weren’t really sure what to expect. I’d heard from some friends that they just let the kids play and observe them, while others told me that it’s mostly an interview with the parents. We tried to prep Isla a bit the night before – mostly because anytime the word school is mentioned she tells us that she doesn’t like school because it’s not very fun. So we tried to get her excited about going to school and meeting her teachers and teaching them some things. Caleb told her maybe she could teach the teacher how to count, or maybe she could teach the teacher how to spell her name. “How do you spell your name, Isla?” This question usually gets an automatic (correct) response, but our sweet little girl instead replied with “toot, doodeh (worm), poop.” Great. This whole interview thing could be quite embarrassing for Mommy and Daddy depending on her mood….
So, we showed up at the school and one of the teachers took us into the classroom where a little table was set up. She was super friendly and great with Isla. I was shocked that Isla actually interacted with her right away because usually with new people she can be quite shy. But she sat right down and started coloring on the paper the teacher gave her.
Then the teacher actually interviewed her. She asked her to name different colors, and then pulled out some cards with pictures on them and asked Isla what each picture was. It was pretty funny – Isla was so engrossed in drawing a million little circles on her paper, that it was like she could hardly be bothered to answer the questions. She’d barely glance at the picture, say what it was, and then go right back to her coloring. Even the teacher was laughing at how bored she seemed with such silly questions. (Duh, of course, that’s a dog, why are you even asking me that?) Caleb and I were laughing later at how we were both thinking the exact same thing…. “why doesn’t she actually ask her a hard question… like what letter does “dog” start with?” Although that could have landed us in trouble, because Isla likely would have whipped out “P is for poop” and how do you really explain that away?? :)
The whole interview was in English. The teacher didn’t even realize we spoke Arabic until we were leaving. I’m kind of curious if they do ALL the interviews in English, or if they do it in the language the child is most comfortable in. I wonder if the point is to actually gauge the level of English language, or just the interaction.
During the interview, I had a packet of questions to fill out about Isla. Some of the questions made perfect sense… “What language is your child most comfortable in?”… “Does your child have experience with play-doh, scissors, puzzles, coloring?”… questions about eating, sleeping, potty training, and discipline at home. One section I did find funny – they asked for a list of major milestones… when did your child sit up un-assisted, crawl, walk, say first word, sleep through the night, start solid foods. It made me laugh because you always hear people say things like, “In 5 years, no one is going to care how old your baby was when she took her first steps, so stop comparing your child to others.” Apparently, that’s not quite the case here, haha, because it’s put into your child’s permanent record! (Disclaimer, I do think it’s important not to compare kids… really, who cares if your baby walked at nine months or nineteen! :))
Anyway, the whole process was over in about 15-20 minutes and Isla was thrilled to be able to play on the plastic slides in the entryway of the nursery department. Icing on the cake, though, as we were leaving the teacher asked Isla if she’d like to come to school next year. Uh-oh, here comes the “school is not very fun” line…. but our girl surprised me with a big smile and “YES!”
So we went to get hot chocolate to celebrate our 2 year old’s successful (haha!) interview.