Le premier jour de l’école


Today is a big day: Oskar starts school at the Lycée Français de Singapour. As always when such a big change is happening, the first thing we do is worry a little. Oskar had really liked his time at the Montessori school. And more in particular, he utterly adored Ms. Serene, his teacher there. So moving the little guy from this now familiar environment into a much bigger place, a very different environment with different people and more fellow students to “compete” with for the teacher’s attention felt like a pretty big step.

Oskar has done many of these already, of course. But we love him, so we worry always a little bit.

The day started on a high for sure: Lamia, Oskar and I went to the school by bus and the line that is connecting our place with the school is usually served by double-decker busses and Oskar loves those. We were even lucky enough to sit right at the front on the upper deck.

Love this photo…

Oskar was clearly a bit intimidated when we arrived at the big school and entered through the heavy gate with its watchman. After a bit of waiting in the cafeteria we registered and moved to Oskar’s new class room. We peeked inside and the teachers had lovingly prepared all the tables with toys galore. Oskar did not want to enter at first, but when he saw all that Duplo and figurines of Petit Ours Brun and what have you, he could not resist but come in.

Now, the teacher and assistant teacher are French, of course, but I would have hoped that they adapt a little when they talk to people who are not French. Lamia was talking to the teacher and introduced me as her German husband who is too dumb to doesn’t speak French. The teacher looked at me, gave me a friendly nod and then continued talking to Lamia in French.

Good way to piss me off.

Similarly, the assistant teacher came to me and Oskar and she was talking to me in French as well. I understood what she said, but…

Leo: I am sorry – I don’t speak French.
Assistant teacher: Oh, I can speak some English, but my French is better.

Erg. Sure.
But then again, it is a French school and it’s most important that Oskar enjoys it. But it is a little difficult to see that my son is going to study in a language I will not be able to communicate in (well, unless I study it, too – I got that, yes).

My impression got worse and then better when I checked out the resting area for the nap after lunch. I entered the room and it smelled moist inside. A lady chased me and asked me whether she can help.

Leo: I am looking at the sleeping area…
Lady: Yes…
Leo: What is this smell? Is this humidity?
Lady: Ah, this is the place where the kids sleep. They get a blanket and covers which we put on the beds and…
Leo: Yeah, I got that. I was asking: what is this smell? Is this moisture? Is this fresh paint?
Lady: I don’t think so…
Leo: You don’t *think* so or you *know*?

This was clearly moisture and I got annoyed that she was trying to dodge the question. After all, the children will be sleeping in there. So she got the Director of the school, a likable, youthful gentleman whom I liked immediately. He confirmed straight away that the smell was from moisture, which is also why they had installed a dehumidifier in the room. He also explained that the moisture builds up over the weekends and of course over the preceeding vacation period when nobody was there, but that it will be gone by the time the kids will have their first nap on Wednesday. He also invited me to come by and check. He then quizzed me about the class my child is in and spoke very highly of the teacher (well, what else should he do, but it sounded so genuine that I totally bought it).

I returned to the class room and Oskar was obviously enjoying himself.

Soon after it was time to leave. Today the session only lasted one hour to introduce the children to the new place. Tomorrow will be another hour – but without the parents. Let’s see how this will go.

For now, the day was a success: Oskar seemed to enjoy the place and on the way back we caught another double-decker bus.

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