My four year old daughter received a letter in the mail from her teachers explaining that she will start the école enfantine this coming August. She is invited to meet her future classmates, their families and teachers in a week. She held the letter close to her body with the biggest smile on her face. She looked up at me with tiny happy tears in her eyes and said, “I am going to school, Mama!”
She had already attended school in France and was heartbroken this past school year when she couldn’t go and her older sister did. The French can start school at three years old while in Switzerland it is closer to five.
In August, she will be joining her older sister in the same classroom with the same teachers. Her older sister will move up from the Caterpillar group to the Butterfly group which goes all day but on Wednesdays and Fridays. Petite Clown will be a Caterpillar which only goes half the day five days a week. On Friday afternoons the Caterpillars go to school without the Butterflies. It is a day that the teacher can focus on this group without the older children being there. This is the schedule now but perhaps it will be a little different next year. We’ll get the classbook outlining the schedule next Friday at the classroom meeting.
Sweet Bear, my five year old, is very shy at school. I am hoping that having her little sister who isn’t nearly as shy in the same classroom will bring her out of her cocoon. It would be wonderful if Sweet Bear really did change from a silent Caterpillar into a social Butterfly.
Tonight, my five year old is spending the night in her classroom with her teachers and classmates. All the Butterflies and Caterpillars are having a slumber party to celebrate the end of the school year in two weeks. They will stay up telling stories and laughing together and in the morning they will eat breakfast at school before returning home.
Her teachers have been talking with the Caterpillars about how they will soon be Butterflies. My daughter tells me every day that she will be a Butterfly soon and that Petite Clown will be a Caterpillar. On the way home yesterday she added that Petite Clown isn’t allowed to play with her best friend at school because she is a Caterpillar and not a Butterfly. I explained to her that all the children are together in the class and of course Petite Clown can play with all the children, Caterpillar or Butterfly. That didn’t go well with Sweet Bear who tends to be a bit bossy. So, while there are many things that are nice about having the girls in the same classroom there are going to be some issues as well.
All in all, I think it will be nice that my two youngest girls who are only one year apart will be going to school in the same classroom. They have always been close and this is their last year really together before they start growing into their own separate lives with yet without each other.