Tuesday, January 11, 2011

First day of school

Fiacra and Ailbhe started school yesterday. Ailbhe was eager to go in the morning, Fiacra not so much. We heard many times "I don't want to go to school". We used the baby step approach each time he said this, "okay, but let's just get dressed", "okay, but let's just have breakfast", "okay, but let's just brush our teeth", "okay, but let's just get our shoes and jackets on", and finally as we are approaching the school "okay, but it's the law that 6 year olds go to school" and in we go.

Ailbhe is in Ecole Maternelle which is for 3-5 year olds. There are 3 classes, la petite, la moyenne, la grande. We think she is in la moyenne. Fiacra is in the first class of Ecole Elementaire. Their daily schedule is the same. School from 9 - 12, lunch from 12 - 2, and school again from 2 - 5. No school on Wednesdays. There is both a morning and afternoon break time for outside play. For lunch, kids can stay in school or go home. All schools have a canteen, the amount you pay for lunch depends on the parents' salary but the maximum is 2.70 euros (about $3.50 Canadian). Fiacra and Ailbhe are coming home for lunch, at least for now.

I was a bit worried that the schools would be less controlled here than in Canada but not at all. The playgrounds are fully enclosed. At Fiacra's school, the door opens at 8:50, the kids say goodbye at the door and go through the school to the playground. The bell rings at 9 and the kids line up outside their classrooms. Same procedure at 1:50.

Yesterday morning, Fiacra's teacher met us at the door and brought us to see his classroom. She told me (in French) that she does speak English but wouldn't be to Fiacra. She also said that there is a boy from New Zealand in his class. First smile from Fiacra since arriving at the school. She then told me to leave and showed Fiacra the way to the playground to wait with everyone else.

Fiacra wasn't thrilled about it but did go back in the afternoon without too much complaint and went this morning with almost none, once he had verified that tomorrow is indeed Wednesday and he won't have to go to school.

We thought that this week Ailbhe would just go to school in the mornings and build up to the whole day but no, Ailbhe, as usual, has her own plan. She announced at lunch that she would be returning to school in the afternoon. And she did.

Fiacra's one interesting thing from his day, as told at dinner, he had made some friends, one of them showed him an older boy spitting, it took Fiacra a while to understand what he was saying but eventually did or at least thinks he did.

Ailbhe's one interesting thing from her day, her teacher is also the principal of the school.

Fiacra and Finian on the way to school.

After school, still smiling, in relief I think.


  1. I am glad to hear that it went well.
    Look at Finian! What a cutie!

  2. hello, i'm a french mother of 3. We live in england by now but should move to bordeaux in January. I could see that your boys join school in the middle of the year and wondered how did you managed it. I've already called several schools and none of them would take Nina in January.
    thanks for your help :)