We love the jardín that Geneva attends. Thank you a million times over to Suki for recommending it. There are so many things that I appreciate about Jardín Caminito: the atmosphere is extremely warm and open, the play is creative and inventive, family events are fun and frequent. The thing that I love most about Caminito, though, is the quality and quantity of communication between the jardín and the parents.
Information to the parents is spread quickly and readily via email, printed and handwritten notes. We receive email messages frequently with news about meetings or recent happenings in the jardín. Even with Geneva's day-to-day activities, the communication has been incredible. When we first started attending Jardín Caminito, we received three "books" that had been created for her:
- One small book to travel back and forth that contains daily handwritten communication and questions.
- One large book that mainly lives at Caminito but travels back and forth as well. This binder contains printed song lyrics and other printed communication regarding materials that they need or specific activities that they are working on.
- One large book lives at home where we can collect all of her artwork in a binder format.
All the parents of Jardín Caminito have access to an online photo album that is updated every month. Last week we received a CD of songs that they sing in Geneva's class, along with lyrics. There is even a rotating library of children's books and we receive a new book to borrow each weekend. It is so much fun to read these sweet kids books in Spanish and it's as much of an education for us as it is for Geneva.
Last week Brad and I attended the "Reunión de Padres sala 1". Nearly all of the parents of the year 1 class attended, along with the administrators and all the teachers (not just our grade). We learned in detail what they are working on in the year 1 class and there was a forum where parents could ask questions about both the jardín and the children. The instructors knew that the spoken information in Spanish was fast and we may not understand all of it, so we were given a printed copy of the main curriculum discussion to read. We also wrote private letters to our children as if they were reading them when they are 20 years old. There were few dry eyes in the building after that exercise.
A few of the parents and instructors at the Jardín speak English and they are all very concerned that we understand all of the information and our questions answered. I cannot express how wonderful this is when we do have questions. Although 95% of our communication with the jardín is in Spanish, it is great to know that we have people to turn to if we need clarification.
Several times both that night and previously, Brad and I have commented to each other how we wouldn't get this level of hands-on attention in the USA. To the best of our knowledge, most US daycares do not have 2.5 hour long meetings like this to discuss our kids, their growth and progress. Our daughter would not get kisses from all of the teachers and many of the kids, as we are walking into and out of the school each day. (So she get's a few extra colds along the way, you take the good with the bad!) She would not have an opportunity to go to a farm once a month in the USA, or have "classmates" that she could potentially stay with throughout her preschool years.
Geneva frequently comes home with evidence of face painting or coloring. They sing songs with various musicians coming to visit and they learn about the world around them through daily exploration activities. It seems that she loves the other kids as much as the activities and her teachers say that Geneva's comprehension of Spanish is great. We are excited that she has an opportunity to be immersed in the Uruguayan culture and language for 20 hours a week and that she is thriving here.
Brad and I are making many new friends and receiving an education of our own through this experience. With all of the meetings and correspondence in Spanish, our comprehension is improving and we're learning much through the process of becoming integrated in a new culture.
Brad is attending a "Dia del Padre" this afternoon with Geneva at Caminito and I can't wait to hear all about it. :)