The kids just completed their second week at the French School here in Mahajanga. Isabella entered Grande Section, the French equivalent to kindergarten and attends 5 days a week. Eliana started Petite Section, or preschool and attends 3 mornings a week. Now brace yourself… school STARTS at 7:15am!
In and of itself, French School provides an opportunity for culture shock all over again, not necessarily in a bad way, but in a different way.
- When we registered the girls, we requested that Eliana go only 3 mornings a week rather than the standard 5. They looked at us as though we had three eyes. “Why would you want to do that?” “She’ll get behind!” They finally, though hesitantly agreed… and we promised we wouldn’t let her get too behind in her coloring skills!
- I don’t know French!! Not even a little! The words I do know: hello, good-bye, good…. as well as a smattering of food words such as shrimp, vegetables, cheese, etc because many menus here in Madagascar are in French.
- Our kids know even less French than I do!!!
- Because of #2, I don’t understand any of the papers that come home for the parents… fortunately, Jamie can speak French and can usually translate so I can be informed too.
- The educational system is a French system which greatly differs than an American system… I’m sure we’ll be learning these differences for the years to come.
- The supply list we had to purchase was extensive and VERY exact.
Here’s an example: (for you French speakers, forgive the lack of proper accents)
1 – stylo a bille bleu (blue pen)
1 – petite cahier 32 pages + protege vert (small
notebook with 32 pages and a green notebook
1 – grand cahier de travaux pratiques 96 pages +
protege rouge (large lab notepad with 96 pages and
a red notebook cover)
20 – Chemises cartonnees de differentes couleurs vive
(20 folders of assorted colors)
2 – Boite de 12 crayons de couleur (de bonne qualite)
(2 boxes of 12 colored crayons, good quality)
…And on the list went… in the end, this was all the required supplies we needed to purchase for Isabella entering kindergarten.
…and the supplies for Eliana…
Happily they went off to their first day of French School.
All things considered, they’re doing well. At home, we find both girls singing a French song about the days of the week. “Lundi, Mardi, Mercredi, Jeudi, Vendredi, Samedi, Dimanche”… perhaps I’ll even learn a little French on this journey as well!