Young One has been in school for a few weeks now and seems to be content to be "hitting the books" once again. I gather that third grade is a bit of a transition year at her school with myriad changes. This will be the year that regular subject matter testing becomes intergal to the curriculum. I can't recall when that starts in American school, actually studying and preparing for a written test. I think I understood the teacher when she said that she will teach the kids how to study, which is contrary to reports I've received from friends with older kids in Italian schools. Lots of things about her school have been different, so this may indeed be so as well. Then again, I could be totally mistaken. Young One is already grasping the concept of a bit of study each night, though I'm not sure how long this novel idea will charm her.
She will also see an increase in the oral interrogations. I don't know about you, but the public shame of not being perpared in front of my peers would be enough motivation to drive me to study; I predict Young One will be the same.
I recently attended the equivalent of a "Back to School" or "Open House" meeting at her school where her teachers presented their programs. She has the same five teachers as last year: four for the specials of art, physical education, English, and religion; and then the main teacher who covers everything else, which is heavily focused on Italian (reading) and mathematics with promises of more science and geography this year. She is currently reviewing the steps of the scientific method each night. Young One follows a set schedule with a weekly rotation through the different subjects and teachers with the specials taking place mainly after lunch. She has requested that we not take her out of school, ever, and if we must, be sure that it is not during art class.
There will be a theater lab in English and a music unit focusing on the classics. Physical education will focus on team sports this year, with "experts" in handball conducting lessons during the class. Field trips will use local resources, with one very soon to Palazzo Chiericati. For the first time since Young One has been enrolled in the school, a selection of after-school activities are available to the students, ranging from English to theater to ukelele lessons to hand ball.
The school-wide theme this year is "All for one, one for all." The school hosts monthly activities connected to the theme and hopes to foster a spirit of altruism in the children and families. I think there was a blood drive to kick it off. (Yep. I still miss a lot of info.) At the meeting the religion teacher, who I think has the Catholic title of "Brother," announced he would be selling lottery tickets for the mission work of the order of nuns who runs the school. Love it. There was also a call for donations for the Christmas mercatino. Nothing big, just stuff you might have in your house that needs a new home.
I've heard more than one Italian claim that private schools in Italy are generally not a good choice and can't compare to public schools. Well, I can't pretend to be able to speak knowlegabely on this in general for the entire country, but I can attest to the fact that this little private elementary school (which has its flaws, believe me) is a very good one, very good indeed...at least for the needs of our family. I thank my lucky stars for the friend who introduced it to me.