Mim and Si’s Christmas Program

Simon is in what is called Nursery.  A child can be enrolled in Nursery as soon as they turn three, it doesn’t have to be the fall of the calendar year when they turn three, it can be as soon as they are three, the government offers 15 hours of education.  When fall comes around, if your child is 4 they start Reception, and if they are still three they do another year of Nursery.  Miriam is in Reception, which is full-time education two years earlier than in the states.  (In Kuna Miriam would have started kindergarten, which is only half-time.)  I think I’ve explained this before but it’s starting to make more sense to me.  

Nursery and Reception together, are call the Early Years, and operate under a different curriculum than Key Stage One and Key Stage two.  The Early Years curriculum is a theory of learning designed mostly around play.  But I have also noticed how it’s very effective.  Simon was writing his own name within the first couple months of school and Miriam is reading now.  I wish I could take credit for these things, indeed how I wish, but the credit belongs to the school.  

Simon’s Nursery class has no more than 20 children, but always at least four adults.  A classroom teacher, the Nursery coordinator and two teaching assistants.  He loves all his teachers, and they are all really great with the kids.  The team is a really great combination of loving, nurturing, stern and energetic.  Male and female, racially diverse, and across an age span of probably 20+ years.  Miss Julie, Miss Maria, Mr. Mickey, Miss Ahmed and Miss Evelyn.  

Anyway, I wrote all that mostly for journaling purposes.  This post is supposed to be about The Lucas Vale Early Years Christmas Program. 

Considering that at least half of the school is not Christian, Richard and I were pleasantly surprised that they had a Christmas program at all, but especially that it was entirely about Mary, Joseph and the birth of Jesus Christ.  I was also surprised to see all the parents there, snapping photos and just gushing over their singing children.  No one seemed to mind that it was a Christian holiday.  I mentioned this to another parent and she told me about how they celebrate all different types of religious holidays, and throughout the year they will do plays and performances in honor of other  religious festivals.  Eli’s class studied Hinduism last term and will study Buddhism this term.  Cameron says they are perpetually talking about world religions in his class.  It’s as comfortable to the kids as discussing what country they are from or what they like to do on weekends. 

While I understand that separation of church and state is a fundamental part of our country and constitution, Richard pointed out that there was a bit of irony, in that the way the English treat religions in the classroom now feels far more liberating than any elementary school classroom back home.   From our [very limited] experience, no one felt threatened, no one was irate or uncooperative, every parent there seemed to think it was just all about their child’s performance.  It felt very unifying and non-political.  

Miriam and Simon both love performing and so it was a delight to watch them, and all the other kids for that matter. Preschool age kids are so entertaining.   

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Miriam had a speaking part at the end, which meant that as soon as she finished her lines everyone started clapping, which meant that she assumed they were all clapping for her and she couldn’t have been more pleased.

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Simon’s best buddies, Kyron and Riley. He has such a soft spot for Riley. He talks and talks about her, but if someone else brings up her name he just grins. A sheepish adorable grin that I can never get enough of. As I’m typing this he is looking over my shoulder at this picture and grinning that very grin.

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