There is a huge difference between public schools in Singapore and the US, and that is parent participation. In Singapore there is a vibe of “go away” at the schools (or at least at ours) that I was never really crazy about. In the US, parents are often the lifeblood of an elementary school.
Parents volunteer to work events like movie night and the walk a thon (or tomorrow’s field day). For the last few months, once my health improved, I volunteered weekly in Rhi’s class.
Rhi’s class hatched some chicken eggs, and the day they got the eggs, a woman from the farm introduced them to one of her hens and talked about what it was like to keep chickens. I was there to help out, oversee washing hands after the kids got to pet the hen, and to take photos.
Other days I worked with kids on reading or math. One day at the end of the year my volunteer time was spent taking art off the walls.
Other parents sort the book order forms (each month the kids come home with a book order form–for fun books, not school textbooks) and when they arrive in a big box, someone has to sort them. Another parent made sure all the weekly folders had homework in them. Parents do a lot to help lift the burden off the teachers so they can focus on teaching our kids.
I like getting to know the children in Rhi’s class as well as the teachers. That way I have a feel for who Rhi wants a playdate with. I am on good terms with her teacher so I am also well informed as to her progress on a regular basis.
The opportunity to volunteer was such a positive experience that I look forward to doing it next year.