Friday, October 19, 2012

Notes from the parent-teacher conferences

3rd grade class picture
Although it came smack dab in the middle of a frenzied pitch at work, nothing would keep me from attending Zoe and Ada's parent-teacher conferences yesterday.

Zoe's teacher, whom we really like, had lovely things to say about her, calling her a "remarkable girl" whose "transition to third grade couldn't have gone more smoothly." She complimented Zoe's ability to manage her complex schedule of comings and goings. (She travels to the gifted teacher for reading and a 4th grade classroom for math in school and has Hebrew school and gymnastics outside of school.)

We were fairly confident Zoe would be doing well academically (she is), but we weren't sure how her young age was playing out with a new group of kids, many of whom are already turning 9. Her teacher assured us she works well in groups and has lots of friends in addition to a classroom best friend who follows a similar schedule. She insightfully added that, if she had to offer any suggestions for improvement, it would be that Zoe work on getting to know other kids by asking them questions about themselves. She says Zoe and most of her peers are still "mostly exchanging information about themselves."

Ada's conference was similarly positive. She's one of 4 kindergarteners in her multi-age Montessori classroom (all 4 of them are female), and her teacher (the same one she's had since age 3) said they were forming a tight little group, collaborating and pushing each other academically.

She said Ada relishes being a leader and has taken a few of the youngest girls under her wing. She said that after starting the year with a focus on math (addition, subtraction and fractions), she was now mostly interested in language and maps. She's advanced for her age, reading with some fluency and writing stories. Her directress is going to introduce parts of speech while her interest in writing and reading is strong and then encourage a move back to math for multiplication and division as winter sets in.

Her teacher also commented that Ada is happiest when her work matters. She likes to clean up after their lunchtime meal, wiping tables and sweeping the floor. But she's outgrown practical life works like floor polishing in which you polish simply for the experience of polishing. It made sense to us, as Ada can be relied on to clear her dishes after a meal and likes to clean her room and make her bed (provided she can "surprise" us with the results).

Although the conferences couldn't have come at a more inconvenient time (and I did end up going back to work and staying until 9pm), it was a real joy to hear people I respect and admire singing the praises of my children.