Anastasia, as I mentioned earlier, has started preschool!
There are some teachers for the deaf down at the Fatima school complex that we are acquainted with- their daughters came to Annie’s birthday party, and the husband showed Brandon the nearby river when we had just arrived. They decided, having just a few deaf children, to open up the preschool/kindergarten class to nearby families. Instruction is in English and Melanesian Sign Language simultaneously. Most of the children are a little older (4 and up) but English is their 2nd or 3rd language. So Annie, as a native English speaker, keeps up just fine, it seems. The teacher is interested in eventually developing an Early Intervention program but decided to run this preschool/kindergarden this year to gauge interest.
They have story time, blocks and playdough time, recess, elementary catechetics, and phonics drills– enculturated, of course. Annie now walks around repeating “C, ‘kuh’, curly cuscus. H, ‘hah’, happy hornbill, R,’rr’, running raskol.” This week they had a special sports day and played soccer. There is also the important social component of learning classroom etiquette and peer relations. Annie’s favorite quote from school is, “Teacher says ‘No Fighting!'”
I asked her teacher after mass on Sunday what it meant that Annie was crowned Ms. Hippopotamus. Annie had described the classroom decorations of flowers and greenery for World Environment Day, but neglected to mention the discussion of animals, their environments, and the acting out of each individual’s animal that apparently ensued. I would have liked to see her impression of a hippo. (There aren’t many mammals here, so I guess they branched out to other continents.)
Annie likes school and is proud to have a class to attend, surrounded as she is by the educational context. Her teacher also told me that when Miriam goes to pick her up, she often yells that she doesn’t want to go home!
In other learning news, Tabitha is working on that whole neck control thing. She’s also trying out smiling and saying “Goo…”!