Friday, January 06, 2012

First week @ TalentPlus Playgroup

On Tuesday, EV attended the first day of TalentPlus Playgroup. For the first three days, parents were allowed to accompany the kids. However, I wanted to let EV attend the class independently as early as possible. So while I was with her in class, I tried to leave her by herself most of the time. She seemed alright, but that was probably because she knew I was in the room. Still, with eight other children, EV’s attention was very much taken up, unlike the previous playgroup she attended, and she didn’t turn to look for me that often.

Being orientation week, there was no teaching involved. The focus was to get the children used to the environment, teachers and each other. One of the must-dos of the daily routine is the checking for hand, foot and mouth disease. EV was a little unsure, but with some coaxing and explaining, she walked to the teacher’s side and allowed the teacher to guide her in the checking of her hands, feet and mouth. After that, EV was soon enjoying herself going from the central mat where all the toys were, to the books corner, to the puzzle corner. Halfway through class, she and new friend Kyle hugged each other. It was really cute to see that. EV looked like she enjoyed herself and the class ended with her happily waving bye to her teachers and new friends.

On the second day, EV went into class happily, greeting her friends at the door. The session started with the HFMD test, and EV was starting to understand it as one of the must-dos. When prompted by teacher Sheila, she opened her mouth, opened her palms, rubbed her hands with the disinfectant and raised her feet.

Halfway through the class, I decided that I would try to leave and see how she would react. I told EV that I was hungry and needed breakfast, and assured her that I will return to pick her up. She nodded and then continued to play with her friends. I remained outside while observing her. EV was starting to understand the various ‘rules’ of the class, like ‘keeping the toys’. The moment she heard teacher Sheila singing the song, she started putting the toys in, along with the other children. She did so well, I gave her a big hug and kiss the moment she came out. To help her feel assured, I spoke and laughed with the teacher. Even if it doesn’t immediately reassure her, over time, it’s a good way of showing her that we, her parents, trust her teachers. She definitely seems to be absorbing everything in, and I hoped that she will continue to be brave the next day.

On the third day, I decided to let EV attend class on her own. From the night before, I had talked to her about it, telling her to be brave and hoping it would prep her mentally. All looked well when she entered the class. She happily said hi to her teachers and friends. After I told teacher Sheila that I was trying to let her attend class herself, she assured me that she would call if EV cried terribly. So I went home with anxious heart. But kids being kids, things can be extremely unpredictable. When I picked her up two hours later, teacher Sheila said EV cried, but teacher Doreen managed to calm her down. One could see that she was anxiously waiting to be picked up. After saying bye to the teachers, I gave EV a big hug and praised her for being brave. When I asked her later if she was scared, she nodded yes. I hugged her again, explaining that it was OK to be scared. When asked if she liked her teachers and playing with her friends, she nodded. I asked her to continue to be brave tomorrow, and attend class with a smiling face and have fun. At night, Daddy also gave her a big ‘daddy’ hug.

Today, the day no parents are allowed in, EV, along with most kids in her class, cried. On the way to class, she did pat her chest and say ‘scared’, and needed a little coaxing. But I guess seeing other kids cry made her cry too. She managed to be pacified by teacher Doreen, and according to teacher Sheila during our chat, EV enjoyed the play and song and dance, but she cried again the moment she knew it was time to go home. But when she saw me waiting for her, she calmed down. I immediately hugged her and praised her for attending class by herself. When we left, she gave teacher Sheila a ‘high five’ and even gave her a hug. That at least was a good sign. It looked like we needed to do more talking with her before her class on Monday. Hopefully, she’ll cry less, feel less frightened and enjoy the whole class. I do think it’s just a matter of time that EV gains the confidence to attend class without feeling frightened.

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