We walked down our street, Rue Gambetta, 5 min to the school through the winding alleys, to drop the kids off at their new school. The children of France just finished their fall break, and are fresh and bright eyed for their next semester, a perfect time to introduce Daniel and Angelina into the mix.
Daniel’s schoolmate, swings his arm around his shoulder, and introduces him to each child in the class. The next one put his arm around him and in turn, took him to other groups of children to meet in the playground. It looked so affectionate and sweet; I felt a warm fuzzy admiration watching his new friends accept him whole-heartedly. A little girl held his hand and led him into the class to find his desk, next to hers. They showed such care to Daniel’s feelings that he beamed from the attention.
Angelina’s first day was difficult. She left in tears and we picked her up in tears. She was so fearful; my little girl worked herself up with such worry the night before, we could hardly get her to school. Her teacher paired her up with another little girl that speaks English, and they share a desk. Angelina cried for the first hour, and then quickly forgot her worries, and children in turn introduced themselves. It was only after lunch, near the end of the day, she began to miss us, and cried so hard that when we picked her up, her eyes were swollen and red from rubbing them. Exhausted, Angelina came home from school to extra long cuddles until she finally told us all the good stuff from her first full day. She met a little girl also named Angelina, also new to the school, and her parent introduced themselves to us. Our first French family contact! We will meet up with them this weekend for our first social gathering. Cannot wait!!
The school day starts at 9:00am and finishes at 4:30pm for the kids. With a lunch break from 12:00-1:35. We bought cafeteria tickets for the kids, to enjoy a hot lunch at school instead of coming home for lunch, leaving us to take them back for playtime. They complained about the food and ate very little the first day, which was to be expected, with so many new things happening to them this week. Very few kids eat hot lunch at school. Most go home. Packed lunches are not an option, as they are not allowed! At least that way there are no worries about allergies! Daniel and Angelina have to stay in the cafeteria until their lunch is completed, and they sit with their classmates, not together. Both kids have to adjust to the rules of their new school, as do we! But I think we can be very happy here.
Tuesdays and Thursday they have a French Second Language teacher coming in to tutor our children. It makes me very happy to hear it! Also the kids will not fall behind a year like we originally thought, and have been placed in Grade 1 and Grade 3 as they would have in Canada. The teacher’s send extra homework for the kids to do, and quickly they learn French. Once the work sheets come home, I translate, and we learn as a family! Brilliant! Thanks to Sandy and Dorothy!
I caught Angelina singing in French after the first day of school. They do singing and dancing games during gym time. It eased my mind to think, okay she will be fine.
The school week schedule is Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday with Wednesdays off. This week Friday is a holiday, so no school. November 11th is their version on Remembrance Day, a commemoration of WWI. De l’anniversaire de l’Armistice, is the name. We will meet up with kids and parents from the school as well as Capestang residents at 11:00am, in front of the Mairie or City hall, and walk through the town, until we get to the cemetery, and pay our respects.
There seems to be a whole lot of holidays in France! I love it! Gives us loads of time to explore Capestang, look for a home, and enjoy the sites of South France.
When the kids come home from school, we listen to French learning CDs as we eat an early dinner and then do homework. We have to eat early, being the days are long and they are starving by the time they come home. Once that is done, it is almost time for bed. It is very busy, and we a grateful that there’s only 4 days of school per week. The curriculum is not too difficult for the children, pretty much the same standards as Canada. The family focus is learning the French language and we are enjoying the comedic practice on the local butcher, baker and candlestick maker. I still have not found the last!