Tag archive for » maternelle «

Last Day of School

Thursday, 2. July 2009 13:12

Today is the last day of school for Sophia. Fortunately, she’s been feeling better. She had missed school on Monday and Tuesday. I would have hated for her to miss the very last day.

I had asked her to draw some thank you cards yesterday for her teacher and the class assistant. It’s pretty customary to give a gift also. Since Sophia has missed the last few days of school, I haven’t been able to talk to any of the other parents to see if anyone was doing a group gift. I talked to one person who suggested giving a bouquet of flowers, but I can only imagine how many bouquets these women would be getting from their students today.

So I dropped Sophia off at school this morning and forgot the cards that she drew. I promised that I would bring them in the afternoon. I also noticed that everyone had gifts with them for the teacher and that she had already received two orchid plants. I came home and talked to Joe about it and mentioned that I had been thinking of doing gift cards.

Me: Is that too American?

Joe: But you are American.

Me: That’s right! I should celebrate that!

And now I’m off to purchase some gift cards.

Category:France, Sophia | Comments Off | Autor: Erica

First Report Card

Thursday, 19. March 2009 13:40

I guess that I shouldn’t have been surprised, but Sophia came home with her first report card the other day. Here’s what they grade on in the Livret Scolaire for the maternelle:

1) Language Learning: This section of the evaluation has categories to describe if the child can articulate and pronounce the language, express themselves in simple or elaborate sentences, remember songs, understand a story.
2) Preparing and Learning to Read and Write: For the petite section the students are evaluated on how they hold a pencil, understand a story that is read, reproduce simple forms (straight lines, crosses, circles).
3) World of Matter and Objects: Does the student choose and use their tools correctly (scissors, glue), perform simple constructions (toys)
4) World of Living, Hygiene and Health: Can the student name the different parts of the body, understand the lives of animals, perceive one of the 5 senses?

OK, I got sidetracked when I started this because my Mom was in town, and then I had to sign her report card and give it back to the teacher. Suffice it to say that her report card was 4 pages of evaluations like this where the grading was color-coded (no letter grades, yet) and then there was a written evaluation at the end! What I described above only came to two pages. There were still two more just like that. All I kept thinking as I read through this was, “Wow! Her poor teacher has to do this for 24 kids!”

Sophia’s results? Not surprisingly, she has a hard time expressing herself in elaborate sentences, but she is good at remembering songs. She can select the correct tools and is doing well at the pre-writing exercises. The written evaluation says that she is a serious student that needs to participate more in class. How do I tell a 4-year-old that she needs to speak up more in class?!?

Category:France, Sophia | Comment (0) | Autor: Erica

The Medical Visit

Thursday, 12. February 2009 14:56

Sophia had her first visit with the school doctor last week. I had been given a notice to bring her Carnet de Sante (health book) with me for the visit and that they would be starting her dossier that would follow her throughout her school career in France.

And all I could think was, “This will go down in your permanent record.”

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect although a few of the moms assured me that they had been quite impressed with the school doctors and credited them with finding sight and hearing problems early.

So I went to the appointment with Sophia and the first thing that they asked me after I sat down is if Sophia understood and spoke French. I answered in the affirmative but mentioned that she understood it better than she could speak it. They then assured me that if I needed to translate anything to German that I could go ahead and do that.

German, huh?

Sophia’s teacher had filled out a form for them and stated that she’s German, apparently confusing her with her best friend, Sabrina.

After we got that cleared up, one of the doctors asked Sophia some questions and gave her small tasks to perform — choose the red marker, take this block and put it on top of your head — while the other one asked me various medical history questions.

Are there any illnesses in the family? I notice that you’re wearing glasses, does your husband wear glasses also?

That one made me pause because she didn’t between asking about any hereditary illnesses and the glasses. I’ve never really thought of my nearsightedness as an illness — although I do know that the kids will most likely need glasses one day.

Anyways, in one of the tasks that they asked Sophia to perform they showed her a paper with four pictures on it of words that rhymed. “Show me the pain (bread), the main (hand), the bain (bath), the vin (wine). And while watching this I had one of those Only In France moments because only in France would it be perfectly acceptable to ask a three-year-old to identify a wine bottle.

Category:France, French Language, Sophia | Comment (0) | Autor: Erica

First Week of School

Monday, 8. September 2008 10:33

Off to School

Sophia started school last week on Tuesday. As much as I wanted to have the whole family drop her off and take pictures to commemorate the event, we decided that she would have an easier transition if Joe dropped her off on his own. We’ve been prepping her for school by telling her that it will be similar to the crêche only with more friends to play with. Since Joe always did the drop off at the crêche, he’s been doing the drop off at the maternelle (school for ages 3-6) as well.

The plan seems to be working. She seems to like going to school and knows a couple of children from the halte gardérie and the crêche. From this week on she will be there 4 days a week — no school on Wednesdays — and she stays there for lunch and naptime.

I think the hardest transition for all of us has been getting out of bed earlier! She now has to be at school at the time that we used to all get out of bed (8:30am). I slowly shifted the alarm clock a bit earlier during the week before school started. Joe accused me of trying to kill him when I made him wake up at 7:30am on a Saturday, but has since conceded that maybe I had good intentions!

Category:France, Sophia | Comments (4) | Autor: Erica

School Daze

Tuesday, 17. June 2008 13:12

I have signed Sophia up for school in the fall.* When we moved here I remember thinking that three years old was much too young to be going to school. Now that she is three, I find myself thinking, “Why does the US wait until age five before kids can start school?”

The first three years of school in France take place at the maternelle. School actually isn’t mandatory until the child turns six, but those first three years at the maternelle are available for all children. School runs from 8:30am to 4:30pm four days a week (they have Wednesdays off). For the younger kids that day includes lunch and a nap, so I don’t think the day is as long as it sounds.

As I was dropping off my dossier (birth certificates for both children, marriage certificate for Joe and I, proof that we live in the city) to sign her up, the woman asked if Sophia would also be participating in their other services. She rattled off the cantine (cafeteria) and a few other words I didn’t recognize. When I asked for clarification she explained that, in addition to the cafeteria (no bag lunches for these French children), they offered day care services in the mornings and evenings and also had a program for the children on Wednesdays and the school holidays. All of this is put together to make it more convenient for the parents who work. I picked my jaw up off the floor, politely thanked her for the information and said that Sophia would be eating at the cantine.

As I made my way back to the car, I found myself wondering why we don’t have these services in the US? I was speaking to Joe’s family about this when we were on our vacation and found that their school district in Arizona had a few services, but I’m going to guess that those aren’t really available for the majority of American parents. I found myself thinking that the US school system seemed to have come of age in the 50s when it was assumed that there was someone at home to watch the children, and then never really grew up from there.

* We are still in the process of figuring out when we’ll move back to the US. The earliest would be this fall, but I signed her up figuring that it would be easier to give up a spot at the maternelle if we moved rather than trying to find her one in September if we didn’t.

Category:France, Sophia | Comments (2) | Autor: Erica