Tag archive for » school «

Sometimes I Just Don’t Understand

Friday, 12. December 2008 10:45

We had a meeting at the school a couple of weeks ago where the teacher explained to the parents what the kids do during the day and what they can expect in the new year. She mentioned that they would be spending a lot of time on Noël (Christmas) during the month of December and that all the kids would be going home for the school vacation with a book of artwork that they had done and another book of the Christmas carols that they were singing in school.

She then mentioned that there would be a spectacle this coming Tuesday, and that the parents could go.

I was so excited. Sophia had come home several times in the past couple of weeks singing L’As-Tu Vu? (Have you seen him? – a French Christmas carol) so I thought to myself, “They must be singing that at the spectacle.” Joe was telling me that he needed to know what time it was so he could take some time off from work and I was planning my blog entries about it.

We got a note from the school that the spectacle next week is in La Roquette. There were no other instructions with it, which I thought was a little odd.

So, I asked the teacher yesterday if the spectacle next week was the one that the parents could go to and was told that no, that one’s just for the kids. They’ll be putting one on at the end of the school year for the parents.

I was bummed, but at least I get to look forward to one at the end of the school year if not the end of the calendar year.

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

School Daze

Friday, 19. September 2008 10:23

I sat down with my neighbor before school started for Sophia and questioned her about everything that I could think of. What kinds of clothes do the kids wear? What time did she leave the house in the morning? How does the drop-off work?

There are, of course, a ton of things that I didn’t know to ask about. What’s the latest I can pick her up? If I’m supposed to bring a snack, when do I sign up for it? For all of our new questions, I’ve gone to my neighbor again or we’ve fumbled our way around.

Weeks ago, when I told Joe about my list of questions, he accused me of being a little paranoid. Now that he’s dropping Sophia off in the morning, I think he understands what I was attempting to do. I’ve never been to a French school, I have no idea how they’re different from American schools. He came home the other morning after dropping Sophia off at school looking a bit dejected. Sophia had come home on Friday with a small notebook that had notes from the school and a request for 15 euro. When Joe tried to give the notebook back to the teacher on Monday morning, she opened it, saw that we hadn’t signed it, handed it back to him and then asked for the 15 euro. “Demain?” (Tomorrow?) Now we know to sign it before trying to hand it back.

A few other differences that we’ve noticed (some of which are specific to the maternelle, I think):
– The kids are dropped off at their classroom. The parents and kids line up and wait their turn as each child enters the classroom one by one. Parents aren’t allowed into the room.

– The parents line up again at the end of the day to pick up their child.

– Every child has a hook outside the door for their bags. They have one bag that stays there with their markers and a change of clothes, and one bag that goes home with them for their doudou.

– Drop off is between 8:20 and 8:40 in the morning. They open the doors for pick up is at 4:30pm. I learned on day two that I can leave the house at 4:25pm and still make it on time, but I will be sweaty and out of breath and freaked out by the time I get there. I will try not to do that again in the future (seriously don’t know what I was thinking, got on the computer and the next thing I knew it was 4:20 and the house was open and the baby was sleeping. Yikes!)

– They don’t have their goûter (snack) at school in the afternoon so you better have something to eat with you when you pick them up! All the people picking up children have sacks full of food with them.

– Sophia eats lunch at the cantine (cafeteria). All the kids eat the same thing and no one is allowed to bring their own food. Lunch box manufacturers must hate the French school system for that!

– Sophia also takes a nap at school. Doudous can’t make noise! We learned that the hard way when she tried to bring a stuffed animal that had a bell in it.

– The maternelle has spare doudous to loan kids who bring the wrong kind of doudou.

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