Little shoes, Big Assessments

In Dubai and apparently in most of GCC when children start school, they have to go through an assessment. Barely out of their diapers, these children as young as 2 1/2 are put into groups without their parents and observed and asked questions. For some the session ends in crying and being bundled off to their alarmed parents. For others it is an anxious wait of 45 min to an hour for the parents until they see their young ones again.

Last year my son went through a similar assessment and fortunately he was one of the children who survived the hour long session. The assessment was followed by a 2 weeks waiting (torture) time after which the school told me that they didn’t have space for him. Why did they assess him in the first place, I will never know.

This year he went through 2 more assessments for 2 schools as I wanted to make sure that he got in at least one of them. He was offered a place in both schools and I chose the one I thought was better.

And then my husband decided to change jobs and move us to Bahrain.

So the process of school hunting started all over again. Most of the well known schools had already closed for admission but I managed to apply in one of the schools which is also known to be good. This time his assessment was less painful as it was an individual one which only lasted 15 minutes and I was told the positive result straight away. I was also not stressed because by now my son at 4 1/2 has evolved into a confident young boy who is ready to talk to everyone and anyone. (If he hasn’t talked to you yet, it’s only because he hasn’t met you.)

And so my son has passed this difficult phase of assessments though I suspect it was far more difficult for me than for him and I look forward to him doing well in the “big” school.


Getting to school

“I’ll put you in jail and lock you up” announced the little boy with the Dusty backpack.

“Then who will run the nursery?” answered the Principal with a wry smile on her face.

The little boy’s embarrassed mother hovered behind him. “Oh he’s just being a policeman today..” she said weakly to the Principal.

That’s my son as he entered the nursery today. Every day getting him inside is a monumental task. Today he went of his own accord but apparently it was to make this announcement. He’s not even scared of his Principal. Everyone is scared of her, even me.

My mother has promised to give him a prize at the end of the week if he goes every day without making a fuss. She’s bought a few small windup toys to give him, a little footballer that walks, a little penguin, an airplane with a pilot in it and a crab inside a shell. But even giving him a little incentive is not working.

Yesterday it took me 20 minutes to get him inside. 10 minutes he was squatting near the car and refusing to budge and another 10 minutes outside the nursery door. Finally I had to ask the assistant to come and get him.

I talked to his teacher about it. She told me that as soon as he enters the class he forgets that he didn’t want to come. He works well the whole day and interacts with everyone. All this fuss is just for me.

It starts when he finishes his breakfast. “Ok now get ready for school”, I tell him as I pack his bag. “I don’t want to go to school. I want to play with my toys.”

He’s too big now for me to physically bundle him into the car and into the school. I have to convince him somehow. And he doesn’t tell me why he doesn’t want to go. “You’re alone at home and there are no other girls or boys to play with”, I try to tell him, but all my arguments fall on deaf ears.

My husband works in another country during the week so it’s all up to me to get him to school every day. Yesterday I was so stressed out I ended up in tears. I’ve tried everything and I don’t know what to do now.

Weekly Writing Challenge: Dialogue

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  2. Weekly Writing Challenge: Dialogue – Long walks and dark chocolate
  3. Weekly writing challenge: Dialogue | La chica de la burbuja
  4. The Answer | Proverbs 31 Teen
  5. Intermission | thanks for letting me autograph your cat
  6. V is for Vitroil | Anecdote Love
  7. Edifice of Love | A beetle with earrings
  8. Lets Talk About Warriors. | Many More Ripples
  9. Weekly writing challenge: Dialogue | helen meikle’s scribblefest
  10. Weekly Writing Challenge: Dialogue — Hello, I’m your wife. I live here! | SERENDIPITY
  11. The Preferred Destination | anniethinksabout
  12. For the Children with Specs | Whispers of a Barefoot Medical Student
  13. The Reunion | Spinning a Yarn~~
  15. Weekly Writing Challenge: Dialogue response | TheStrangersLetters
  16. A special bond | Master Of Disaster
  17. Two Old Men « On the Windowsill
  18. The last stance | MC’s Whispers
  19. Weekly Writing Challenge: Dialogue | DG
  20. Eleven Months | Fish Of Gold
  21. What | Not Enough Poetry
  22. Saturday Walk | Not Enough Poetry
  23. The Albatross… | ©ontinental boy
  24. Night Air, Warm and Smoky | Not Enough Poetry
  25. A Perfect Day At Sea | The Life NomadikThe Life Nomadik
  26. The Story of The Lance | The Life NomadikThe Life Nomadik
  27. uh oh… a clogged toilet | Musings of a Random Mind
  28. The Lost Letter #dailypost #history #poetry #photography | Moondustwriter’s Blog
  29. Weekly Writing Challenge: Dialogue | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss
  30. Flirtation – not everyone gets it | mostlytrueramblings
  31. Weekly Writing Challenge: Dialogue. | Nomad Scribbles
  32. Weekly Writing Challenge: Dialogue – Country Tale | SERENDIPITY
  33. Incomplete | For the love of sharing awesomeness
  34. Mastering the Kama… eh, whatever | Not the fat kid in gym class anymore…
  35. Weekly Writing Challenge: Dialogue – The End Of Something Special | The Story of a Guy
  36. Name tags | Mark Evans
  37. The Pyjama Girl. | Janey Macken Street!
  38. Killing the cobbler | James Clegg
  39. Anne of Clean Tables: How a famous writer encouraged a wanna-be writer to write, right. | I am not what I am.
  40. Weekly Writing Challenge: Dialogue – Peace Wall | Nomadic Gregoires
  41. Tell me how it is, Doc. | Anthony’s Heart Valve Replacement Saga
  42. Two way communication | Le Drake Noir
  43. Breaking News | 2twistedforcolortv
  44. WWC: The Oppressor | Kingdom of Sharks
  45. Jabberwocky: Dialogue With Attitude… | alienorajt
  46. Of Schnoodles and Twerking | Farfetched Friends
  47. The Bullet (# 2) | Rolbos ©
  48. Weekly Writing Challenge: Dialogue | imaginations
  49. Everyone, meet Mandy! | My August Hands
  50. The hardest word | Fifty Words a Day
  51. Weekly Writing Challenge: Dialogue. About goats. | Geography: It’s Awesome
  52. Hourglass | raggykate
  53. The call | Motherhood and Beyond
  54. WP22: Stability Tree | My Amphitheater
  55. WP20: Body and Soul | My Amphitheater
  56. WP18: Breaking News | My Amphitheater
  57. Weekly Writing Challenge: Frozen in TIme | Inspire
  58. Moving on | Spinning a Yarn~~
  59. The innocent question… | gaurimaini
  60. DPchallenge – Dramione fanfic (an original of mine) | Body, Mind, & Soul
  61. DPchallenge – Dramione original | Body, Mind, & Soul
  62. 3rdculturechildren
  63. Myself and the little voices in my head discuss an article on ‘Working Mothers’… | 3rdculturechildren
  64. After Life | Confused Humanity
  65. I will not hold your hand, nor will I hide. | Write in the Wrong Way
  66. Weekly Writing Challenge: Dialogue: Waking Up | MythRider
  67. Operation Spider Rescue | Gnome Lover
  68. The Spelling Bee | A String of Pearls
  69. Khalin Kros – Weekly Writing Challenge: Dialogue | Just Keep Swimming
  70. Child Soldiers (Weekly Writing Challenge) | Icezine
  71. Weekly Writing Challenge: Dialogue – Landmine | SERENDIPITY
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  73. Scene from the coffee shop. | Crossroads
  74. Sense & Sensitivity | marsowords
  75. Dialogue | thexienator
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  80. Six years in the making | The weird truth
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  87. Dialogue | Flickr Comments
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  92. Kids Say the Darndest Things, and Have Meltdowns at Parties | NobsLyfe
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  95. Weekly Writing Challenge: Dialogue –A Twist | Inner Quest Wanderer
  96. Infinite Infinities | Passive Good Mornings
  97. If Love Be Rough | The Silver Leaf Journal
  98. Strong for Someone Else | Avoiding Neverland
  99. Writing Challenge | While We’re Free
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  101. “What the f*ck … | gabrielleablackwell
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  103. Weekly Writing Challenge: Dialogue | Workarena
  104. The Ex | Nicki
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  106. Summers 5B | Keigh Ahr
  107. Two Truths. And A Lie. Part I. | A Ripple In Culture
  108. Growing Up with Verbal and Physical Abuse, part 2: A True Story | The Psych Word
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  110. Lost | Harcourt 51
  111. Lost | Sufficient for Each Day
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Daily Prompt: Standout

The last time I stoodout in my whole class was when I was dressed as George, The Smartest Giant in Town. I wore just one shoe as I had given the other to a mouse to make her house, (over sized) trousers, a yellow shirt and a tie which reached my knees! I had fun dressing up, but I felt a little shy when the teacher took our photograph.

Springs Nursery May 2013 Newsletter_1

Starting school in Dubai

Mummy secures little Eva in the car seat and drives to the nursery. The little girl is crying hysterically as her mother hands over her bag with the morning snack and pampers along with a baby toilet seat. Eva is 18 months old and today is her first day of nursery. She will spend 5 hours at the nursery while Mummy enjoys her “freedom”. This is not fiction. This happens in Dubai.

So what do such small kids even do at nursery besides take naps and nappy changes? An 18 month old child has hardly started potty training and can only speak a few words.

Compared to Dubai, kids in the US start kindergarten at the age of 5 and in the UK they start nursery at 3 and then school at 4 or 5. Are children in Dubai more advanced than their counterparts in the UK and US and need to start learning sooner?

After spending 2 to 3 years in nursery it’s time to start school. But hey it’s not so easy. Parents have to register at a number of schools with a non-refundable registration fee of around $135 at each school. Even then a place is not guaranteed.

Ethan is going to be 3 at the start of the academic year and he has been lucky enough to be called for an assessment. Yes, even for starting school he has to go through an assessment. He is to enter a room full of strangers without his parents and answer questions correctly and confidently. He better not confuse his yellows from reds or his circles from ovals or else he will be deemed unfit to enter school. If he clears the assessment he will be put on a waiting list and if there is a place left for him, his parents will receive the lucky letter.

The whole process is extremely stressful and to add to it expensive for the parents. I went through it for my son and in the end I just had to go for the school affiliated with his nursery as I couldn’t get him admission anywhere else. I think it was easier for me getting into university in my hometown than it was getting my 3 year old in to school in Dubai!