1. I got a note from Magdalena's (British!) teacher one day that said Magdalena "wasn't too keen on" her carrots at lunchtime, and that she had "slightly soiled her knickers." Even though the news was bad, I kept reading the note over and over again because I got such a kick out of the oh-so-British delivery.
2. The girls both have something called a Journal, which is sent home with them every day. The teacher writes notes in it about their progress (or soiled knickers; see above) or what they did in class that day or what events are coming up. I have to initial that I've seen the journal entry and respond if I want to. The teacher initials any comments that I send to her. It's got a bit of a middle school passing notes air about it but at the same time, I love having a reliable, constantly open channel of communication to my kids' teachers.
3. They do something called Jolly Phonics to teach pre-reading skills. Magdalena is always making certain phonetic sounds while doing certain actions with her hands. It's at once adorable and odd. I don't doubt that it is an awesome, well tested system of learning. It's just that it's different from how I learned to read (then again, I distinctly remember using my finger to trace letters made out of sandpaper, so).
4. It's a canteen, not a cafeteria, ok?
5. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that the US does this too, but it's "Numeracy" now, not "Math." Except I also hear it called "Maths," with an S.
6. Aside from Numeracy, Literacy, Geography, Arabic, PE, etc., Miriam has Art, Dance, IT, Swimming, and Music class. Magdalena has a cooking activity every week. Is that British, or just a relic that exists in schools that never experienced budget cuts?
7. Both my kids randomly pronounce words in a British accent. I love love love this.
So, what are American schools like these days? I felt a little pang when the school Miriam would have attended in Ithaca earned a national award for excellence, but I think we're doing ok here in our British school in the UAE, too.