Monday, March 06, 2006

Report card summary

Oops! I had John turn in Maylin's signed report card this morning without having recorded all the details. I'll try to remember what it said.

The report cards, required by law from the first year of preschool (ecole maternelle, petite section), are given out twice a year. The single-fold cards are large -- 8x14, with one page of intro, two pages of line items for grading, and one page for written comments. Three types of "grades" are given. "T" for "toujours" (always), "AR" for "a renforcer" (to reinforce), and "PE" for "pas encore" (not yet). Let me first say that the grading does not seem to be very accurate, so I don't know how useful these reports are. I just think they're kind of fun, even if the other mothers I've talked to think they're ridiculous.

The first grading category has to do with her independence in school life. Maylin's knowledge of going to the toilet by herself and putting on her coat on her own need to be reinforced according to her teachers. Maylin has no problem going to the toilet on her own, but that was a very recent development, in February -- maybe before they filled out some portions of the report card. Maylin usually needs help putting on her coat, but they did teach her a snazzy way to get it on. She showed me a couple times. You lay the coat on the floor, with the collar towards your feet and the zipper facing up. Then you slide your arms into the holes and flip the coat over your head! It's like magic!

I'm sure the school encourages independence, but there's always so many "mesdames de service" in their light blue smocks to help take kids to the bathroom or put on/take off their coats, hats, and scarves. They also help with putting gym shoes on before they climb the 8-9 foot-high wooden structure.

The second grading category has to do with larger motor skills, but is literally called "l'aisance corporelle," or "body ease." Is Maylin comfortable in her movements? Always. Ability to run and jump needs to be reinforced. Huh? Can't all kids run and jump with no problem?

I might be missing a category, but the third one, I think, is communication in the classroom. Does she communicate with others? Always. Does she speak in small groups? Not yet. Does she speak in big groups? Not yet. Hmm...then when does she communicate with others? I assume when it's a one-on-one situation.

I don't remember the name of the next category, but she was graded "to reinforce" with regards to her holding pencils, paintbrushes, etc. I think she holds them just fine, but I do know that with scissors she prefers to cut with her thumb down instead of up. Very awkward, I know. I've tried to correct it, but she's so stubborn sometimes.

Another category was reading. Maylin was given an "always" for recognizing her first name. I'm not so sure. She can recognize her "m's" though. For showing an interest in books in the classroom and at the library, Maylin was given a resounding "always."

Math was the last category. The only item graded was sorting. Not sure exactly what they sort, but Maylin got a "not yet." I think Maylin's quite good at sorting shapes and colors, but she does need some help with counting sometimes and recognizing numbers.

The back page had some comments written by her teacher. I will paraphrase what I remember.

"Maylin communicates with the other children and is well-integrated in the class. She does not speak to adults yet (in French). She takes an interest in all proposed activities and that is encouraging."

No big surprises. When I was Maylin's age, and for a good deal afterwards, I was very shy -- yes, especially with adults. Donc, c'est normal! I also had the bilingual problem -- Chinese or English? I can't imagine what it might have been like for my Minnesota teachers to hear a little girl speak Chinese to them in a little, shy voice.

I'm not worried about Maylin at all. When I drop her off, she picks up her nametag (with some help) and puts it on the board next to her photo, sits down with some other children at a table to begin an activity, and waves goodbye to me. Big girl now.

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