Here in France, the first day of school is called “la rentrée”. There is all kinds of excitement leading up to the day, as everyone comes home from vacation (basically all of France goes on vacation for much of the month of August – les congés!). We noticed a definite change in the feel of our little town, there are fewer tourists for sure, and the locals have come back. Our little street is much quieter, being the hub of the tourist centre of town. Fall is definitely in the air!
School has been on our minds for a lot of the summer. I bought workbooks for the kids to do over the summer (yep, I’m that mom! I just wanted to make sure they practiced their french!) and I taught Danica cursive writing, which they start in kindergarten here. We were nervous for them, not because we didn’t think they would succeed, but because it’s a HUGE adjustment for them! They both have a great group of friends back in Victoria, they are super comfortable at their school back home, and most of all, the kids speak english on the playground, not to mention all the teachers speak english too! 😉
Well, la rentrée came and the kids just did so well. There were some nerves the night before, but they got to sleep and woke up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed! When we went to pick them up for lunch, they came out all smiles. Success! We are so proud of the kids for facing their uncertainties head on and for doing so well.
Oli finds himself surrounded by friends every morning, patting him on the back and greeting him happily. His teachers are both really impressed by his reading and his french in general. He has a tiny bit of catching up to do with the grammar, but it’s mainly just stuff that the kids here know intrinsically, just by being born with the language. Oliver also started soccer this week, or rather, football. He is stoked to be out playing again, and had a great time at his first practice.
Danica is our shy one, she has a good group of friends back home but she is slow to open up, and very timid at the start. She just blew us away last week! After just one day she already had a little group of three girlfriends with whom she plays at recess. She really seems to like them, and has grown comfortable enough to not be nervous about going to school. She even tells me that she has no trouble understanding them or speaking with them in the schoolyard while they’re playing. Having only had two years of french immersion back home, that was definitely a concern of hers (“mom — will they even speak french on the playground?!” were the words she uttered when we first discussed going to school in France!). Turns out she needn’t have worried, she has done just fine, and her teacher is also very pleased with her ability to keep up in class so far.
All in all, a successful first week at school, and a load off everyone’s mind. Definitely called for some celebratory sundaes (beer for us adults!) up the hill from our house, at a little terrace restaurant overlooking the prairies below. Perfect!