"Preach the gospel at all times; if necessary, use words." Saint Francis of Assisi

Monday, March 19, 2012

Back to School

Giovanni started going back to preschool about 3 weeks ago.

Yes, he is cute.

Last year he struggled for the first month or so of school. I mean really struggled. He cried a lot, didn't want to go and just hated it for the first few weeks. The language difference just killed him.

He gradually started liking and then loving school. Mainly his two teachers Janette and Talita.  Janette was also Anderson's teacher when he was 3-4 and she really is awesome with the kids.

When Anderson was a baby we were blessed with a Brasilian woman, named Vera, who came to our house to help cook and clean. She is like our Brasilian mom and grandmom. She doesn't speak English so she only spoke to Anderson in Portuguese. So when Anderson started preschool he was knew a lot of Portuguese. So the language wasn't a big deal for him.

A few years ago we could no longer financially have Vera come and help us. Whenever we have extra money we ask her to come help out. Sometimes she just shows up to help and doesn't want money. I can't tell you how many times she's done something like that and said it was because she loved us and didn't want our money. We love Vera.

Anyway, because Vera wasn't around Giovanni didn't have the luxury of listening to Portuguese every day in our house. When Brasilians aren't around we don't speak Portuguese in our house.

So, imagine sending your 2-3 year old to a school where they don't understand anything. Needless to say it's a little shocking on their systems.

But, like I said, Giovanni got to love school last year and got really good with his Portuguese.

Then we had to take him out of school to go to the states.

We ended up staying in the U.S. for 3 months which was 1 month longer than we've ever stayed before.

In those 3 months Giovanni lost all his Portuguese.

Surprisingly when we told him it was time to go to school this year he happily went on his first day. My girlfriend and I sat outside the classroom for the first 3 days and he never came out looking for us. They usually have a 1-2 week adaptation period for the kids before the parents begin to just drop them off.

On the third day his class went to the playground and he saw his old teachers Janette and Talita. After that he didn't want to go back to school anymore.

We think, in his mind, he just wanted to go back to their class and he didn't want to go back with his new teachers anymore. He has great teachers right now but they aren't his first loves.

So it's been a bit of a struggle every day to get him back in the groove. Not as bad as last year, but you can tell he isn't happy about going every morning. The worst part now is when his teacher speaks to him in Portuguese (like "Giovanni, it's time for everyone to clean up their mess.") he looks at me and says, "She's being mad at me." I have to reassure him that she isn't getting on to him and then I have to translate.

So, I type this as I sit in the corner of his big classroom. We've had to come back into the classroom so he can come around the corner every now and then to see us. He did this last year, but it went on for a month at least.

And even though we are back in his classroom, we can already see a difference this year compared to last.

He doesn't come around as much to see us and today I actually sat outside the classroom again a couple of different times, for 15 minutes each time, while he played. We've been here 3 hours and, honestly, I think he's forgotten about me. That's a great thing and a big improvement from even last Friday.

We are getting there but not understanding Portuguese is his biggest problem. But even that's gotten much better over the last few days. And we know it's for the best. We actually got off the plane in 2002 and 1-2 months later all of our kids began school at an all Portuguese speaking school. Carys was 3 and understood no Portuguese. None. That was tough, but they didn't complain and now our kids speak portuguese as well as Brazilian kids, with no accent at all.

Kids pick up another language so quickly and we aren't worried about Giovanni.

So, for now I am back in preschool. For how much longer I don't know, but I don't think it will be much longer.

We can also tell that he's getting more used to the fact that he's back in school. This morning he gave my girlfriend his customary kiss goodbye and, as we walked to the door he said, "Goodbye Benay."

I think he's getting more comfortable.


Russell said...

I'm glad to read this because it's a struggle for us, too! We left for furlough in October so Jackson was out of school for four months. Finally he's getting back in the swing of things and speaking more Portuguese than we've ever heard him speak, but it's still behind his peers. It's nice to hear from people who've been-there-done-that!

Valerie said...

Whoops! That was me, not Russell!