We started Abbie in the asilo here on September 12. (The asilo is the Italian preschool.) She went for a couple hours a day for the first week and now she usually goes from 8:30-12:30 or 1:30pm, depending on if she has ballet or not. There is one other American boy, whom she is friends with, that goes to the asilo and all of the other kids and teachers are Italian (read: speak VERY little English, if any).
Mark and I originally thought Abbie would love asilo. She’s always been a very social kiddo, and loves playing with her friends. After her separation anxiety phase was over, she loved going to Bea’s house (her babysitter), she loved going to childcare during my meetings, she loved going to the nursery and children’s church on Sunday’s and she loved getting together with our friends in the squadron. I could leave her with anyone and she wouldn’t have any issues. And since her language skills are so advanced for her age, we thought she wouldn’t have any issues picking up Italian.
I don’t know what the deal is, but Abbie does not like going to the asilo at all. In fact, almost 2 months later and she still cries almost every time we drop her off and the first thing she says in the morning is that she doesn’t want to go to school. We’ll ask her what she did at school and she always says “I don’t know.” She doesn’t know her teachers names and she doesn’t know any of the other kids names, except for her American friend.
Mark and I are worried about the situation. We don’t want to turn her off from school or from learning environments and we don’t want her to be continually frustrated with going to school, but we also don’t want to just give up either. Honestly, I think the break from me is good for her, along with the socializing, and I know she’ll pick up Italian if she’s there long enough. But if going to school is causing her more stress than it is doing her any good, then maybe it’s not worth it, especially if it’s going to effect her long term thoughts on school.
It’s frustrating for us, because we don’t know what to do to help her. We don’t speak enough Italian to help teach her, although maybe we should start trying to teach her some and learn some ourselves in the process. Or maybe I should try to get her in to an Italian tutor so she is a little bit more comfortable with the language. Maybe I should try to set up a play date with one of the little girls in her class so she can get to know someone a little bit better, even if she doesn’t speak the same language.
What would you do if you were in our situation? We only have 4 to 4.5 months left in Italy. So do we keep with it and try to get her to stick it out in the asilo or do we take her out of asilo and try to teach her at home?