Thursday, October 29, 2015

Dancing Leaves

Fall really is my favourite season. Now, the streets are covered with leaves -some crunchy and dry, others still damp. The dry ones are the best -they dance down the street when the wind blows by. Svea and I were walking to lunch yesterday and I laughed out loud as they started dancing, it was quite unexpected and just fills you with joy. Then a car drove by and stirred up some more, so the dancing continued. The sound of crunching leaves as you walk and the smell of fall are such great aspects of these cool days.

Though it's cool outside, the kids are still outdoors most of the day. Their warm suits are a welcome addition to their school clothing, and even then it can get chilly. They will definitely need to wear layers in a couple of months. One of the boys' favourite activities lately seems to be climbing trees -as it should be for any almost-6-year-olds. The other day when I arrived to pick them up, one of the teachers asked me how much Danish I understood, and when I said "not much" she said "ok, then I will have to say it in English" and I thought "uh-oh..." She told me that Torben had been climbing a tree and when he tried to get back down again, his leg got stuck in a cross-branch and it took two teachers to get him out. One had to lift him while the other tried to pry loose his shin from the tree. They asked several times over the course of the day if he was alright, and he assured them that he was. He walked home fine, but has a pretty big bruise. It didn't stop him from climbing the trees again the next day.

I finally have finished the scarves for all three kids. The boys chose their own colours, and I chose purple for Svea since it seems to be her colour of choice whenever she gets to choose.
I finished another book this week too, "A Year in the World" by Frances Mayes. Her writing really makes you want to visit each place she writes about. I requested another of her books about Tuscany via interlibrary loan and that arrived this week as well. I will have to read quickly to finish by the end of October.

My plan for November is to participate in Nanowrimo -national novel writing month- which I signed up for a few years ago and then realized at the time that I had no time to write 50,000 words of fiction in 30 days. But this year, I have some time each day to choose what I want to do while Svea is sleeping, so it seems like a great year to participate. 50,000 words is quite a lot, but I'm going to make the attempt. It seems like fun. You're only allowed to brainstorm ideas and plots for 30 days in advance. I don't have a big outline, I'm just going to see where the story takes me.

Today we had the parent-teacher conferences for Anders and Torben at school. We learned that they are both doing very well at getting along with the other kids -they are very popular!-, learning Danish well, and doing all the things you would expect for kids their age. Anders speaks more Danish than Torben does at this point, but Torben has started speaking a lot more in the last week or so. After school yesterday, he said something to one of the teachers as we were leaving, and she responded to him in Danish, and he responded back to her in full sentences of Danish! I have never heard him say more than a couple of words or a short phrase (still more than I know, however) so it was fun to see that he is comprehending it and able to communicate.

Even though they will not be going to the formal school while we are here, the teacher did the same "test" for school readiness that she would do with them if they were going to moving out of the kindergarten/preschool. She walked us through each of the sections and told us how the boys did. It was interesting to see that they both definitely have different strengths, but overall they scored exactly the same on the readiness. Their score was "very high" she said, and they definitely would be ready to go to school when they are 6 if we were planning to stay here. As it is, though, they will be transitioning into a different sort of program around April with the other kids who are getting ready to move to the 0-grade (similar to our kindergarten at home, but a little bit more formal). For the morning they will be in a classroom with about 12 kids and will learn in a semi-formal way, and then in the afternoon they will be with the teacher who runs the after-school program. This transitional program for the last two or three months of school is meant to help them learn the skills they will need to move into the next class for the fall. It's quite a neat strategy, really. You can definitely tell that the schools -especially the Friskole- are designed with child development at the heart of it. And the kids are thriving here.

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