Alla Shafigulina, a journalist and mother of 5-year-old Antoshka, suddenly changed her life dramatically, changing not only her life's work, but also her country. It is difficult to do this alone, but even more difficult when you have a small child. We asked Alla to share this experience with BeautyHack from the point of view of her mother and describe how Anton is joining a new environment.
About new friends
I must say right away that the decision to send my son to school was not easy for me. And that's putting it mildly.
I came to Bali to study myself, I do yoga and astrology here. And the profession of a journalist in my life suddenly faded into the background: in the editorial office I took leave without pay, warned my son's kindergarten. And together with him in April 2019 we left for Bali.
At first, here they were faced with the fact that the child has absolutely no one to communicate with. We lived in a villa, and this is a closed area, when there are only me and my son inside. In addition, I studied, and there was not enough time to arrange his leisure time. Then we moved to another house, which was on a local ordinary street, and there Anton made friends - Balinese boys and girls. They spoke Bahasa, the Balinese language. At first my son was embarrassed to approach them, but soon they became friends, continuing to speak different languages.
You've probably heard that Bali is a special place, the island is called the "place of power". And every day new tasks come here. So, I soon realized that local friends are, of course, wonderful. They play hide-and-seek, catch-up, football together … But most of the time, the Indonesian guys, like the Russians, spend on their phones. I stopped seeing my Anton for hours - he was playing computer games at his neighbors. And he, like a magnet, was drawn there again and again.
“Let's paint! Let's read it! " - at my suggestions, and then beliefs, he made a boring grimace, or agreed to play Lego, but basically, like Savraska, he was carried away into the distance. And this image of savraska did not give me rest.
To school from 5 years old
Then I decided: we must give to study. Why not kindergarten? In Indonesia, it is no longer available for children 4-5 years old. At this age, they already go to school. It is not quite familiar in our understanding, it is something between school and kindergarten. Five-year-olds (and this is exactly how many for my Anton) already have real lessons, diaries and even homework assignments, albeit simple and interesting. They are taught both discipline and various sciences. And all this through playing, singing, dancing. I found out about this later. At that time, it was important for me to occupy Anton with really necessary leisure, to give him a core, to instill a love of learning. And we started looking for a school.
In Bali, there are ordinary Indonesian schools where local kids go. But all the learning and communication in them takes place on Bahasa. We ought to learn English first - I thought. And I found an international school. There are actually several of them. They only speak English here. They are all very good, they work according to the Montessori program, at the Oxford site. The only difference is the price. Yes, training in Bali for visitors is paid. Of course, in local schools it will be much cheaper, but in international schools it costs 30-40 million rupees per year. This is about 180-190 thousand rubles. If you divide it by 12 months, you get a small price. But for me to pay that much and immediately was problematic. Or rather, scary.
Let me explain: I saved up for the trip here. And at that moment a question arose before me: to live on this money here for a few more months or to give this amount to teach my son, relying on God's mercy in the future? There was a catch in this matter. I made a decision for a long time, suffered, was afraid to be left without funds, since my earnings here are small and unstable. And yet I took a deep breath and exhale and … sent Anton to school.
We chose the one nearby. And they did not lose.
On July 15, my son already went to school. The holidays are short and the new school year begins in the middle of summer. Before the start of classes, Anton was tried on a school uniform and was given to finish it: to sew a name on each set of clothes. The amount for training was divided into several months. It includes the curriculum itself, uniform and knapsack, school textbooks and materials, meals, excursions …
Why did I not regret
And now I look back. And I understand that I got more answers to my question: why did I send my child to a Balinese school.
- English, Bahasa and Chinese are studied here. And all communication and lessons, I repeat, are in English.
- The program also includes math, reading, music, drawing, football, swimming and “the basics of life,” as I call it. Last week, for example, everyone learned to wash chairs together. There was a lot of foam, water … and joy! This one will cook Indonesian food. Hope it comes out edible.
- Children are illuminated at the entrance! The throat, palms and feet are checked with a flashlight, the temperature is measured with a special apparatus in the forehead. And all this is a round dance around the child. He is in charge here, and you can feel it. Then each is given a damp hot hand towel and given water. They invite you to the lesson. They do not sit at a desk here, students are seated around the teacher on rugs in a yoga pose.
- By the end of the first week, Anton learned the count to ten in English and the song they sing before eating. In it, they thank God for the food. I would also do it with great joy, because they have fruit salad, carrot cake or blueberry sandwich for breakfast.
- By the end of the second week, he began to ask more often how to say this or that sentence in English, became interested in the language.
- I will not say that it is easy for my son. School for him is a completely new environment, you have to study, adults and children speak only English … He still knows him at the everyday level: my name is Anton. But at the age of five in Moscow, he himself learned to read, began to write. Hope these abilities will quickly help him here too.
- And further. In the early days of school, Anton and I cried together. He is from everything new, from the discipline that suddenly fell on him, that I am not there. And I - from admiration. From the opportunities that open up before this little man. And from the sincerity of teachers, their willingness to help, support.
Here's a simple example. On the very first day, Anton fell asleep at school (yes, they rest for an hour, like in a Russian kindergarten, only they sleep practically on the floor - on mattresses).
Yes, he was asleep! In an unfamiliar environment …
- How is this possible? - I ask my son.
- The teacher stroked my back all the time, - answers. - So I fell asleep.
- I would like to say special about the teachers. I look into their eyes and am amazed. There is so much light, warmth, joy in them. In the Moscow kindergarten, they looked at me differently, our teachers had some dull eyes. I don’t know how to explain this, and I don’t want to do it now. Every day Balinese teachers send me photos of Anton eating and asking for more, how he is chosen as the team leader, how he writes his name in English … I cry and laugh at the same time. And I love that sentimentality.
I don't know how long we go to this school. But until the age of 7, Anton is absolutely free. Even if he continues his studies here, we can always study the Russian program remotely. But this task is already at the next level. And we still have time before solving it.
Text: Alla Shafigulina