An Account of a Parent
Elizabeth Kruger, Parent and Language Therapist
Since 1998 I have been at Kestrel Manor, both as a parent and as the speech language therapist. Let me first describe our experiences as a parent:
Our youngest daughter attended a so-called 'high class' British school in Nairobi where the pressure to read, using mainly phonetics was becoming too much for her. Also the fact that we speak Dutch at home seemed to be regarded as negative.
Even while our entire family likes reading she seemed to give up on books... we were very worried.
Luckily then (we were asking around for a school with a multicultural vision on education) we met the school's music teacher who introduced us to Kestrel Manor School. Our encounter with the headmistress Miss Elsa Abreu was very reassuring
and Merel was allowed to join a class as a try-out for some hours and was relieved!!
We decided to step back from primary to pre-primary to boost her self-confidence and to rebuild her knowledge of phonetics. Merel loved her teacher Dorris who used different artistic tricks to revive her interest in letters! Once I was
allowed to attend a language session and the teacher truly acknowledged the children's varieties of pronunciation. Several children were feeling proud to demonstrate that in their country certain letters, like "CK" were pronounced as "G" or
"I" as "EE"... This teacher, being Kenyan and of course bilingual herself, could identify with Merel's confusion with sounds.
After a month or so she regained confidence in reading and came home with a specially prepared stack of soundcards in her favourite colour - pink! Her teacher explained that she did not really want us to practise at home but only to encourage Merel to
demonstrate what she understood! That worked, and the magic pink cards, as well as the 10 library books which she carried proudly in her backpack, even travelled to Holland (and she read all of them)!
Great was our surprise that at the age of six she was chosen to play the main role of narrating the Angel in the Christmas play and apparently she could read all the details of the script! I understood that not only the class teacher was involved but also the
dancing teacher and even the sports teacher!
Ever since, Merel has loved her teachers, always drawing and writing special messages for them. Recently (now on reading level Ginn 11!) she likes to draw and write her stories on the computer. She also struggled through note-reading and will sit for her piano
In Sports also, Merel has grown in confidence: Miss Sally has patiently taught her how to practice her breathing technique and now she swims like a dolphin and has won the high jump competition for the upper school!
For three years, Merel has had a classmate who is hard of hearing. That girl was excellent in writing and had good motor coordination; she could jump rope, meanwhile clap and sing.... The deaf girl taught Merel to skip!! And Merel taught her
how to giggle!! When we travelled abroad our relatives were impressed by her natural ability to say/sign, and she commented: "For me it's easy because I just learned it from my friend. That's how we do it at Kestrel Manor; we all just play together, don't
In summary, Merel loves and respects her teachers, and is very proud of her school!
Well done everyone at Kestrel Manor!