Saturday, October 4, 2008

Day care and Preschool while Living in Italy

The first day of day care is scary I think for any mom and that is even more the case while living in a foreign country. My oldest son never went to day care and I was happy with that decision looking back. Now I have two children and things get more hectic and for many reasons we decided to try out day care for our youngest child.

So the first day of day care was yesterday when I actually waved goodbye, got into my car and left. He was fine with it and as he saw me grab my purse, he happily waved goodbye, said bye and blew me a kiss. His complete sense of being ok with it gave me a sense of “ok I can handle this.”

What did I do? I went straight to the gym which I had not done in a long long time. I felt good really about doing something for ME! Moms and dads, you can totally relate to this I am sure. After four years of doing everything for everyone, days and nights….I feel the need to do now for me! So that means going back to the gym, finding work I can do from home, and devoting some time to me!

After running a whole bunch of errands, I quickly went back to get my little angel. The teacher happily told me all went well and that tomorrow (today) we will try having him have lunch at school and see how it goes. He is a pretty independent guy who loves to eat so I am sure all will go fine. In the back of my head though I know and told my husband that if I am not totally content with this arrangement I will put off putting him in day care.

My oldest son went back to preschool for his second year and really enjoys it. He has made a lot of friends that he talks about and he is fitting in nicely. He is bilingual and knows now that his Italian friends and teachers do not speak Italian. He proudly says though that he speaks English too! If there are any parents out there that can tell me how the bilingual thing is going for their children, I would love to hear from you. I will devote a future post to it too.

I have to admit that the whole school system out here frightens me mainly because I am not familiar with it. I have heard so many negative things about it that I am seriously considering to home school them. Any thoughts and comments from you guys out there I would appreciate too. Education is so important and like any parent, I just want the best for them.

With that said, I have to go pick up the youngest and see how his second day of school went!Ciao.


Anonymous said...

Hello Lucia,

My name is Cristina, I live in Los Angeles and I too am what you would refer to as an "Italian American" with dual citizenship. My father is Florentine and my mother Sicilian. I was born in Chicago and raised between Chicago (mostly) and Florence. I have never felt truly American while in the States and when in Italy (where I do feel most at home) have never felt completely Italian either.

I read your Blog about raising bilingual children (in your “Day car and Preschool while Living in Italy”) and have never posted anything on a Blog before but it sounds like we have a lot in common. I have two children as well and they are being raised bi-lingual. My husband is American (I never thought) and he speaks English with them and I Italian. Our oldest is four and has never had issues switching back and forth although he is now favoring his English since he began preschool a month ago and all his friends speak English at school. It is not easy maintaining another language in the home but so valuable I believe. He will be starting at an Italian Immersion School (a new program for Los Angeles) in 2009 for kindergarten and that should help a lot since he only speaks Italian with me and my family, (who are often in Chicago or Florence) and his Italian friends. We are planning to make a move to Italy in the next five years and so we have sought an Italian International Elementary School (Marin County, California) so that our children could keep up both their English and Italian as there is an International School in Florence.

Mostly, I have found that constant exposure to the “secondary” language is key. Books, music, English speaking babysitter (in your case), mommy and me language classes, if you let them watch television (we recently started with our oldest) I try to have him watch Pimpa or whatever I can get through RAI if age appropriate, etc.

I would love to know how the bilingual situation is fairing for you and to tell you that I am enjoying reading your entries.

A presto, Cristina Gulino

Lucia said...

Ciao Cristina! Yes we do have a lot in common. I enjoyed reading your story. In fact I want to hear more like where you are planning to move to, how you like living in Los Angeles, what will bring you back to the old country??
I wonder how many Italian Americans feel the same way. I never felt truly American living in the USA and every time I came to Italy for vacation, I felt I belonged here. Now that I am here I realize that is not the case and that I am very American and will always be Italian American at heart. I know that my children are blessed in that they have the best of both worlds but I am also fearful of not wanting them to feel like they don't belong in either country. I guess it is how you look at the glass being half empty or half full. I prefer to look at it half full and see the positive side of having dual citizenship and all that has to offer.
With regard to raising the children bilingual, I could not agree with you more. I speak or try to strictly English with both kids and I try to have them see all their films in English. We do not have many opportunities for playdates with English speaking children only because I have not had too much luck finding them in our area. The teachers at the preschool don't even speak a word of English! We have the same problem. The oldest child favors Italian and even responds at times to me in Italian. When we go the USA it takes him about a month before he is really flowing in English. We recently (since returning from the USA) have noticed him stuttering a lot and maybe because of all the words in both languages he has in his head. He never did this before. Before I would request that he speaks in English with me but now I am laying low until this stuttering thing subsides.
You are very wise in putting them in Italian speaking schools since you will be moving back to Italy. I know that Los Angeles has some very good programs and if we were to ever move back to LA, I would probably go that route if they are still young.

Once you are here you will start to do what I do in that your husband will be resonsible in carrying the English load. I get dvd's from which I recommend you do when you move out here as the dvd's i buy in the USA do not work on our dvd player here. Good tip!

I am glad you are enjoying my blog and let me know if you have any questions regarding anything at all. How did you hear of my blog by the way?? I look forward to hearing from you Cristina!! Ciao e buona domenica! Your friend,Lucia

Anonymous said...

hello Lucia,

I posted you a response to your comment and haven't seen it. Wondering if maybe I was not sucessful in sending it?

Still enjoying taking a peek at your blog and seeing what you are up to. cristina

Lucia said...

Ciao Cristina! Try looking at the Day care and Preschool while Living in Italy and you should find your comment which I really enjoyed. Hope you also received my reply. You will find both in the comments section. We are doing well although this whole mess concerning changes in the school system is frightening. I have two small children and wonder how schools here fair compared to the schools in LA. What are your thoughts?? Lucia