You may remember that the boys are due home soon. Tomorrow evening, in fact, so I am in a state of rising excitement (no, not damp).
School starts on Monday and this year my eldest starts at the local school in CM2 which is the last year of 'Ecole'. He had been pretty unenthusiastic about doing this last year, but came round to the idea helped by a teacher he didn't really get on with, and the recognition that if he is to find friends here he really must go to the local school. I am pleased at how sensible he can be sometimes.
I have already registered him for the new school. It's done through the Mairie and in this admin-happy land you need a number of papers in order to do this: proof of address, carnet de santé, livret de famille, and certificat de radiation. Not irradiation, no. This is just a paper that his old school prepares to declare that he has been signed off which is a sensible way of keeping things tidy. Once I had the certificat d'inscription from the Mairie I was able to go to the school and sign him on and have a chat with the Directeur. I think my eldest will be in for a tough year homework-wise, but apparently the school prepares them very well for college so they might moan and groan, but it's all in a good cause...
Schools up to lycée are governed by the Mairie, but the lycée comes under the administration of regional education authorities so all communcation has to be done directly with the school.
Today I'm going to pop down to the school to look at the notice board and see if there's anything I should know about and go to the Mairie to sort out cantine tickets and garderie details. French schools have a marvellous system of after-school care which costs little and ensures that working parents can be happy in the knowledge that their children are looked after up to 6.30pm. I collect mine around 5.15pm, and with a little childcare in the morning too, my monthly childcare cost is around 25€.
There is a school bus to take children to the college and lycée and allows them unlimited travel on the entire local bus network too, all for 28€/month.
When my youngest moves to the école next year, both boys will be in the local system and our lives will be properly centred here with friends and activities.
Definitely something to look forward to.