Meetings, meetings, meetings

September is a month of meetings. Everything starts again, and there are all sorts of meetings to get things going. On Monday, I met with the secretary of the Breton cultural centre and another lady to discuss about the centre’s library and rota. Then on Friday, there will be two meetings following each other in the school. And last night was the meeting with Maxime’s teacher.

Nursery and Primary school teachers must organise a meeting with the parents within two weeks of going back to school, to explain to them what they are going to do, how they work… etc

Fourteen parents turned up last night. That’s excellent. Considering there are 28 children in the class, it means 50% of the parents came. The teacher explained how she structures the day, what they with the children do, when. She also explained her methodology with regard to learning how to write letters. She also encouraged parents to read stories to their children to help develop their vocabulary, imagination and other skills.

It was interesting and she wasn’t too long, but her intervention was followed by a long discussion with parents anxious about what they should read with their children, the effect of television, how parents could help their children. I thought the teacher had been pretty relaxed about these. But some parents seemed really concerned. I wanted to remind them that school is not compulsory until the children are 6 and that they should relax about it. But in their mindset, if you fail those initial (not compulsory) years, your child might fail in the future.

One of the contradictions of the French education system is that although nursery school (maternelle) is not compulsory, the first year of primary school builds up on what has been taught in nursery school. It means that although school is not compulsory under 6, you still need to send your children to school before because the primary school teacher will assume your child has already done the grounding work in nursery. Does that make sense?