Not only are they both napping, my house is spotless (thank you Alma), I worked out, and I already ate lunch. As in, there is nothing to distract me from blogging right now other than the beautiful day. The sun is out, a rare quarterly occasion, and I choose instead to write for you.
Stella's last day of school is tomorrow. Today they celebrated all the June birthdays. I sent her to school with my most delicious family recipe for chocolate chip cookies. She reports they went untouched. Apparently francophone Belgians do not like chocolate chip cookies. And the boomerang swings back, I can safely report that my little Stella in the entire ten months she has attended French preschool did not consume one bite of a goutez (snack). They were convinced that she would conform and for better or worse my daughter stayed true to her American picky eating ways.
|Stella in her birthday crown with her buddy Zorka.|
The teacher would serve snack at 9:30 and Stella would sit there, occasionally say "no merci" and not touch a morsel. Pretty soon they stopped adding us to the communal snack calendar.
There are other ways that she failed to conform. She still refuses to give baisers (kiss greetings) to her teachers on arrival and departure in lieu she gives a nervous wave and a smile.
So, my assessment, one year immersion French preschool, was it worth it?
I don't know, she isn't worse off for it but I don't think it was the happiest time for Stella.
It was hard for her and hard for me. Both of us spent the year in the dark. Stella overcame her language and understands French (I think she speaks it but she won't do it for me unless she is in the patisserie and wants a pain du chocolate). I never learned French and felt like I was totally in the dark this whole school year about what was going on. According to some bilingual parents they also were in the dark so that makes me feel somewhat better.
Stella learned to play by herself, which she really needed to learn to do, but this makes me sad because she did it because she never socially integrated with the other kids in the class.
The one exception is a little girl named Zorka. She was from Czech Republic and they sort of clung to each other when Zorka came (she came maybe half the week and only mornings).
Would I do it again? Well, yes, in fact I am doing it again. Tiger is signed up for the Fall.
My take home lesson from all of this is: putting your kid in a foreign preschool with a foreign language and culture is not as easy as everyone says. There will be social consequences. Kids do adapt, Stella adapted and is better for it but this idea that kids are able to bounce right back is not necessarily true. Take your kid's disposition into account, the class (are there other anglo speaking kids), and the teacher. Expect it to be tough and be surprised if it isn't. In the end you will have a bilingual kid but it may be a rough road to get there.