Thursday, November 8, 2012

A's All Around

Last month, Maya's school went through their bi-annual inspection.  The inspection is carried out on behalf of the Ministry of Education but is carried out by the Special Education Division.  Every 1.5 years, special education schools are inspected, evaluated.  

These inspections occur over a two week period, where for parts of the day different inspectors are in classrooms, observe recess time, lunch time and make an evaluation of the school, it's administration, lesson plans, teaching methods, interaction with the students, how they handle conflicts.  

Today we got a letter detailing the results.

Maya's school received the highest possible marks during the evaluation but a lot of things in the report made me feel so good (translating from Dutch here): 
  • The school is beautiful and well kept, it is visually a happy atmosphere.
  • We observed a high commitment and engagement from the students.
  • It was apparent that everyone on the school staff, from teachers, to administration personnel are highly committed and focused on getting the best out of each student.
  • The staff is flexible and adjusts their approach based on the individual needs of each student and/or each situation.
  • Lesson plans and individual goals are integrated well.
  • There is an impressive balance between learning, social integration and pedagogical methods.
  • The staff are respectful of each other and each student.
  • The students, some more or less socially adaptive are respectful to each other.
  • The staff handles students with behavior issues well, treating the students with dignity and respect.
  • No child is seen as a problem .
  • You can clearly observe that the social-emotional example set by the personnel is mirrored by the students, not only during lesson time, but also on the playground and during lunch and snack times.  
  • There is a good balance and flexibility in terms of teaching methods and content.
  • We have rarely given such consistently high marks.
  • De Heldringschool is an exemplary facility and it is almost mandatory that they should offer other ZML schools the benefits of their experience and expertise in how to build a special education environment which excels.  
Two years ago when we were looking for a new school for Maya, Leo and I picked this school because it gave us such a warm feeling.  They really seemed to care about the children and I liked that their approach was highly individual, warm and caring.  Dutch society places very high value on consistency.  From a foreign perspective, we foreigners living here often feel that things are so consistent that they take on an almost industrial, factory floor quality to them.  Leo, and particularly I loved this school because it had a warmer, more flexible quality to it.  

It's so great to see that what we love and value about Maya's school is also something which is recognized and valued by the educational authorities.  

1 comment:

  1. Great news! I remember when you were contemplating the move from her previous school. Was it really several years ago already? Time flies when we're bringing up our kids, eh?

    As much as I rave about Matan's program, it sounds like you truly have the best of the best. My sis is stuck with absolutely no solution at any price for her son in California. The state is bankrupt, so nothing for public schools, and the choices in private are both limited and exhorbitant.

    We should be grateful we live in more socialist economies where education it given at least a little more value. Although the regular public schools here also tend to look more like the worst in US schools from year to year.

    Apart from the weather, Holland is a veritible Utopia.