Being a new student can be challenging. We decided to check in with four of our six new fifth grade students to see how they were getting along. (We tried to interview all six new students, but were unable to sync our schedules with two of the new students.) We wondered what was difficult about moving to a new school.
The first student we interviewed was Rebekka. Before living in Dover she lived in Helsinki, Finland. She probably received a good education there, seeing as Finland has the best schools in the world. Two of the new students, Max and Remi, come from Needham, and Jack comes from Dedham, both are neighboring towns to Dover. By far, Rebekka wins for coming from the farthest away.
Moving is tough and we wondered what obstacles our new students faced. Max said that setting up all the technology in his new house was difficult. Jack and Remi miss their old house and friends. Rebekka by far had the hardest move. She moved to a completely new country. She had to learn a new language and make new friends; leaving her friends and extended family behind.
Not all schools are the same so we were curious about what was different from their school and our school. Jack answered there was not that much of a difference. Remi said she, “attended a private school.” Max felt, his old school had mean teachers and also that he could go to a better school, moving to a town with larger houses. Rebekka said, lunch/recess is 45-minutes two times a week and three times a week it’s 30-minutes and the students can choose how much of the 30 minutes is for eating and for recess. Students can choose to learn academics in Finnish, or English, or French. Another difference is Physical Education runs once a week instead of twice like Chickering but sometimes for 2 hours, not 40 minutes. In addition to recess at lunch time, there are two more 15-minute recesses each day, usually following an academic subject. Vacations are more prevalent in Finland, for example, they begin school for a month and then have a week off; around Christmas time they have three weeks off; in February they have a week vacation to ski; and in the Spring they have a week vacation for Easter. It is interesting how the United States and Finnish schools are so different.
We queried what activities and/or hobbies they do outside of school. Both Remi and Rebekka take part in horseback riding and Remi does boxing while Rebekka does jazz and hip-hop dancing. Hockey and Lacrosse are Max’s favorite activities and Jack participates in soccer.
Don’t underestimate the challenges of moving to a new school. Making new friends and learning new routines are difficult. It surprised us that in Finland they have a skiing holiday. We wish we could also have a longer vacation and a 2-hour Physical Education session! And soon enough, the chances are high that you will begin to get used to a new school.
Reported by: Abby, Beck, Calden, Cyrus, Matthew, Rebekka
Image: “luggage6.jpg” Pics4Learning.com 16 December 2014 <http://www.pics4learning.com/details.php?img=luggage6.jpg>.