As you all know, school has just recently begun. At all the schools now there is a sweet kind of ‘panic’ and lots of excitement amongst the children, families and teachers. What can you expect during the educational year? I have some recommendations for parents living in Turkey, who are not very familiar with the Turkish education system and especially for parents whose child is just starting school for the first time.
Most schools generally start at 8am and finish at 3pm. There is a lunch break of 1 1/2 hours and the playtimes are of 10 minutes each except for one early in the morning where the children are given a little longer so as they can have a snack. Start and finish times are given to the parents for each class and it is requested that these times are meticulously kept so that no single child is left behind.
Generally, all schools have a school uniform or a style of dress. Personal hygiene and cleanliness is noted and kept an eye on by the teachers and they also check the tidiness of the child’s school bag and whether the right books are placed in it each day.
All these points are given marks by the teacher and written on the right hand side of the school report given out at the end of each term together with marks for cleanliness, organisation and behaviour. Education goes on for two terms - starting in September and ending in June. In February, there is a ‘between terms’ break of 15 days.
At the end of a term, a child’s plus and minus marks are written on the ‘Karne’ (Report). It is expected that a child will take extra lessons or work more on the subjects that they are not so good at and be more disciplined about study.
Unlike other countries, the curriculum is intense and fast-moving which is why teachers may ask parents to help out with the homework. Your child might be struggling with the language so by sitting and conversing with them after school this will give them confidence. Any problems can be discussed with the teacher so it is very important for you to have close contact with the class teacher.
Foreign children need to get a good grasp of the Turkish language, so going to a crèche can be very beneficial for them. Apart from this, I recommend that before they go into a school environment, they mix with Turkish children and make friends - this will help them to develop their language skills. If one of the child’s parents is Turkish, it would be helpful also if he or she spoke continuously in Turkish. If the child can get used to the Turkish way of social life, this will help at school whilst listening to lessons and also whilst doing homework. You as a parent may not find everything that you are used to in your own country as the system is very different here and it is wrong to speak of the differences negatively to your child.
Dear parents, please don’t forget that for your child to get used to new surroundings and be motivated about school, you must use confidence-giving, positive expressions. It is very important for your child to feel emotionally confident. This will help greatly in their learning.
Outside of school, your child’s free time should be planned out. Grade 1 pupils (7 years old) are still at ‘play age. At specified times they may play with their toys. It is possible that stress may be suffered due to their lessons, this is why they need to ‘discharge.’ The best therapy for this is play. Then homework may begin and bedtime is at the latest 9.30pm. Your child should wake up healthily and go to school having eaten breakfast.
If your child has started school, they will need a disciplined and programmed home life. Great care should be taken over this and you as the parent should ensure this. A child will be successful at their lessons and blend in at school much better if their emotional and physical needs are catered for.