Monday, 24 September 2007

First Week

All in all the first week went a lot better than expected. Antonia was very upset, as in hysterical, when we dropped her on Monday and Tuesday last week, but really happy and jolly when we picked her up. From this we knew (having gone through a first day at school thing once already!) that it wasn't that she didn't like school, it was that she didn't like saying goodbye to us. Which is really normal.

So we came up with a tried and tested strategy. Bribery! Yes, in true good parenting style we bribed her. If she didn't cry at drop off for the rest of the week, Wednesday to Friday, on the Saturday she could have any treat she wanted. Anticipating a Barbie fest I was actually quite relieved when she asked for a Cinderella jigsaw!

And, you'll be pleased to know, she got one! When I dropped her Friday morning, dad having done the other two days, she got some paper and pens, sat down and drew. No tears, nothing.

One other thing happened on Friday, which has given me greater confidence in the school. I received a phone call about 12.30 p.m. to say she had been a bit poorly and could I pick her up. I was so pleased they had called me. It can be a bit hit and miss what school's anywhere call parents for, so I was glad this was something they felt needed attention.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

First Day of School, Official

This is Antonia just before we left to go to school. It was pretty chilly first thing this morning so she wore her new anorak!

At school we found her hook with the kitten picture on it and hung up her coat and put on her overall. In Italian they are called "grembiulino" and she has two. I altered hers to fit as she looked like she was wearing a yellow sack! Bizarrely I was the only one who had! It was around her ankles prior to this and is meant for at least a 6 year old. I think we were given what was left. I say "given", this delightful outfit cost me €37 for two! You have to buy schools as well. Anyway she looks cute doesn't she?!

This is one of the many pieces of equipment in her playground. Every other seat is a bicycle which makes it turn around. There are climbing frames, cars, see-saws and other ride-ons. I don't remember my school being this cool! I also noticed planters around the playground with sticks in with each childs coat hook symbol on. It looks like each child has a plant to look after too. I arrived with Antonia at 9.00 a.m. when school is supposed to start but they didn't start kicking us out until after 9.30 a.m. I think this was because it was first day. Antonia was fine up until the point where I left! Other kids were howling at this point so she started filling up too. Luckily her teacher was there and she took over.

I picked her up at 12.30 p.m. as it was only half day and no lunch today. Next week she can leave then too or stay for lunch or stay the full day. I am going to try the full day as I think she can cope (see next picture, ha!) but we shall see. I want to start a language class which doesn't finish until 2.00 p.m. so there is some, well, alot of selfishness in this wish!

Unfortunately on the way home she fell over playing outside the Gelateria and badly bashed her knee and arm. This, combined with school resulted in this....

Three hours later she woke up! She tells me she cried after I had gone, but when I arrived she seemed really happy, although she did fling her arms around me when she saw me! She also says she isn't going tomorrow. Where have I heard that before?!

Finally, here are the contents of her bag. Tooth brush, toothpaste, tissues, toilet roll, drinking cup, plastic apron, liquid soap, overall and a snack! And it all fits in the pink backpack with the cat on.
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Tuesday, 11 September 2007

A New Blog for a New Start!

This is Antonia. She is 3 1/2 years old and all dressed up for her first day of school in Italy!

What I want to achieve throught this blog is information for others doing the same, let friends and family know how she is getting on and have something that she can look back at too!

As it happens we were a little premature, school starts properly on Thursday, but Monday was registering and picking up aprons and forms, plus we all had a chance to have another look around the school before it became filled with children.

We have decided to send Antonia to a private, Catholic school run by Nuns. The school continues through to liceo level so it is quite a big site! Antonia will start initially in the Asilo and continue at this school until she is at least 7 years old. Then we are going to consider transfering her to the International School here in Florence. This is because we are considering sending her to school back in the UK when she is older and need her to be able to read and write in English. Everything changes, when my son was 3 and starting school in the UK I didn't think he would now be at boarding school, so we shall see what comes along!

The main reason for not using the state schools here in Florence is the difficulty of getting into a good school without residency and after the registration date, which is between January and March. This date applies to the private schools too and we found this school after looking at many and also having problems with lack of space at some closer to us. We don't feel we have chosen second best with this school, it is about 20 minutes walk away, with Antonia walking, so a little further than I would have liked. The reason for the spaces is that it is in a very residential area of Florence, out of the centre, where most people tend to use the state schools rather than pay. In the centre places fill up fast in all the schools but there are higher proportions of foreign children at the private schools as we foreigners tend to live and work in the centre.

With the private schools you literally have to ring them and knock on their doors to find out what they are like. I looked at 6 before settling on this one!

If you have questions please ask! I'll post again once school has started on Thursday.