Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Kids in Switzerland

I was reminded yesterday, as I waited for a class of 1st year Kindergarteners (Switz. has 2 years of K-garten) to cross the street, how different life is for local kids here.

Take for instance the Kindergarten class: They are out with their 2 teachers walking from school to the Hallenbad (community pool) in the snow. They will spend the morning there in swim lessons. Something else in the K-garten class here: a tool corner. Real, live, little tools - hammers, saws, etc.... - for them to learn 'hand work' with. By 2nd grade, they'll be taking long walks to a green-space area complete with fire-pits, build themselves a fire and cook some Brats. Teachers oversee this process, of course. By 5th grade, you might find them running around the village in specific groups on a quest for information of some sort - there is usually one with a clipboard and I find them busily writing things down as they wander.

You also find the class groups on the train/bus with their packs on - headed out to the mountains.

They also head home for lunch around 11:45 and return to school around 1:15. And they have Wednesday afternoons off.

Have I ever mentioned the 5 year old, 1st year Kindergarteners walk by themselves to school. Parental escorts are highly discouraged - the school will call and ask the parent to quit walking the child to school. At least in Waedenswil. And this goes for the local Swiss schools.

The locals think the International school kids are spoiled as many are driven but - most students must travel distances to get to school and do you really want your Kindergartener on the train/bus alone? It's fine for the Middle Schoolers - Rachel's a pro now. We live too far for Kendra to walk to school (about 30-40 min. walk) and it's too close to the Autobahn - but otherwise, I'd consider it. She has classmates that are taking the bus off and on.

Speaking of independence: Kendra leaves for her 1st overnight trip next Monday! I'm used to it with Rachel but now it's my baby! I'll survive. Pray alot. It's only 3 days/2 nights - they ease us in before the 5 day trip in May. And they'll be skiing for 3 days so they're always in a group, with an instructor and then wiped out and ready for bed.

So -what do our girls like about living here. They do get to take walks alone - just not toward the Autobahn side. They go out to play and I may not see them for 2 hours, or 3. I send them into the store now by themselves to pick up quick things while I wait outside or am otherwise occupied. They play in their hideout and make pulleys for baskets, and tents, and whatever!

And they break up rocks! Rachel's science teacher sent her home with the "rock" she had been studying. Each student had their own rock which they had been freezing, thawing, soaking, weighing, etc.... to see how their rock responded - Erosion unit. Now it was time to "crush the rock" and see what was inside.

Rachel couldn't wait and even let Kendra have a go. We found that swim goggles make a good 'safety goggle' substitute. Being a kid is fun!
Yes - I am searching for things to Blog about - life has been extraordinarily ordinary lately. Not such a bad thing.
But I have family for whom life has not been so ordinary. Praying for various health issues for both sisters, my mom (knee) and cousin and my Bro-in-Law whose Uncle just passed. Specifically for Bro-in-Law flying out to DC in order to escort sister/little niece back home to CA.
Just a lot going on. But - God has been answering prayers all throughout - very cool.

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