"It means if we get a new kid, we need to play with them, too." They rarely get new kids, so I pushed for further details: "It means help each other."
And that was about all she was willing to offer about that.
This year is proving to be a bit more of a challenge, with a marked increase in the homework, specifically studying. It is not uncommon for her (and one of us) to be engaged in a couple of hours of study each evening. No posters. No projects. No Power Points. Just prepping for written and oral assessments.
Thankfully, her teacher is very well-focused in teaching the kids how to study, as she explained in a recent parent-teacher conference. From our collective experience as educators, Richard and I are pleased with her efforts and realize that this transition is no easy task.
Young One is struggling, but we all recognize that she is making progress. Above all else, she is learning study habits that will serve her well in the future. AND she seems to enjoy learning.
As I type this, I worry that we are overly involved, too connected...being the helicopters that I so despise. Maintaining the balance is a constant challenge for parents, isn't it?
La Maestra never ceases to amaze us, you know. In many ways she is a traditional, hard-nosed, old-school, Italian nun...and then she speaks professionally and confidently of exploring learning styles and study methods, as well as acknowledging that each child is an individual and should be treated as such.
I do like that the school has a focus much broader than academics, with concerns for the "whole child," and that there is a certain level of rigor. Yes, even for fourth graders.
Disclaimer: I hate generalizations as much as you do, probably more. This is my limited experience at my fourth grader's tiny primary school lost in Northern Italy. If you have a different experience with this, please share!