It was a scheduled one and all parents had a one on one meeting with the teachers to evaluate the kiddos progress in school.
Now Ishi is in playschool, we are talking about kids aged between 1.5 and 2.5 years old and she is 2.5yo. The teacher handed me a assesment check list, all her fine and gross motor skills are fully developped, even some quite advanced (no surprised I knew that she's always been trying to go ahead and move and do).
Her language skill...are for some developped in the sense she follows some instructions, and most are in developpment stage as she isn't talking much, and the teachers said that whatever she is talking they can't get it. Again I reassured them that it was no surprise because she doesn't talk much at home either, she speaks mostly French words when she does feel like talking, and in the 3 months she's been in playschool I've noticed a lot of English words creeping in, so really I was not worried.
But the teacher keeps stressing how English is an important language in India and if she doesn't speak it she will never go anywhere in school...yadayadayada...we all know that the school system has become ridiculously competitive, and truth said I'm not worried, she is 2.5 going on 3, she has one more year of nursery to go through before reaching kindergarten age, she is dealing with 3 languages, and I was a late talker myself, so surely we are seeing genetics at play here too, not to mention my daughter is an introvert who prefer listening and doing things on her own rather than askign for help.
Anyway the teacher offended me a little here as she told me "Stop talking French to you daughter, it's not useful" WTH???? I told her firmly but politely that NO I will not stop because this is part of her cultural background and that my family doesn;t speak much English and I want her to be able to communicate with them. I didn't mention that knowing a foreign language fluently is always an asset and that bilingual children do speak later but then pick up new languages later in life more easily. My husband ventured that seriously he wasn't worried about English as she was picking it up in school, he was a bit more concerned about the fact she was not picking up Hindi as fast, and that it was because he wasn't spending a lot of time home during the day, the teacher told him the same thing "Stop talking Hindi she needs to speak English" and that was even more odd to me because we live in INDIA, hindi IS one of to the two National language, true English is one, but Hindi is more widel spoken, there is a significant amount of the population that doesn't even know English at all, heck my in-laws don't even speak it much and certainly not fluently.
The teacher went on and on saying it was confusing to a young child to be exposed to many languages and that we should favour the one that will lead to school performance.
I talked with the other parents that have been served more or less the same type of speech as quite obviously very few kids speak English at home, in fact they all started picking it up in school, and are fine and progressing at their own pace. I find it odd that a school just doesn't even seem up to date on the issues and benefits of bilingualism, or plurilingualism and is urging us to stop confusing our kiddos!
Needless to say DH and I are going to stick to our plan, I speak French, he speaks Hindi, TV and play ground are in English, so is school, and she still gets to listen to DH and I speaking to one another in English. And I'm willing to bet that by the time she turns 3 we will see an explosion of vocabulary as it was the case for me when I was her age.
But gosh I felt like the bad parent stepping out of that school, scolded for not speakign the right language to my child at home or for valuing my roots too much...:(