Monday, July 1, 2013

School's out for the summer!

Last week was the kids last week of school this year - and their last week of school in Geneva, since we're headed back to the US in fall.  There's lots of "lasts" now!  I think the actual school work ended more than a week before school ended, because the last week of school here is spent in a frenzy of room cleaning. Apparently absolutely everything in the school room needs to be emptied out, and the students are pressed into service for the cleaning.  Mine didn't mind at all.  Here's a Facebook comment from an expat friend who had a child in Geneva public schools:

"Mommy, guess what I got to do in school today?
"what, sweetie?"
"All morning we got to clean the classroom! then we went to recess, then we got to clean the classroom some more, then after lunch we still got to clean the classroom!"

So, overall, how was school for the kids?  I have to differentiate quite a bit between Peter's situation and Kenny's.  Peter's teacher did have a few peculiarities.  She sometimes was overly directive with the parents, and was really strict on certain paperwork issues, like giving 10 days notice when the kids were going to be absent from school.  But aside from things like that, I liked her.  The kids liked her, she communicated regularly with the parents, she arranged lots of outings, and she set up a potluck dinner for the families.

Kenny's teachers, on the other hand, were a total mixed bag.  My biggest problem was the whole plural "teachers".  At the beginning of the year he was split between two teachers - each of them a mother with young kids, who was teaching only 2 days a week.  Then one of these teachers went on maternity leave, and another teacher stepped in.  It was a real mess, I never knew who to communicate with, and basically the whole split teacher situation was awful.  I never got any kind of notes from any of his teachers, and a lot of tasks - like creating a class contact list - slipped through the cracks.

Both kids really liked school, though.  Peter was a favorite with everyone, and numerous other parents told me how sad their kids were that Peter was leaving.  Kenny, being older, had a harder time adjusting.  Also at this age lots of the kids have known each other for a long time, and already have all their friends.  But he did make friends, and has come away with happy memories.  He had a sewing project that went on, every other week, for the whole year, and has now come home with a huge stuffed caterpillar as tall as he is, which he's very proud of.

Last Friday there were 2 "fêtes des écoles" - school leaving festival.  One was for 1P to 4P (Peter is in 2P). The little kids paraded with their teachers to the Parc de Bastion, where they had all kinds of rides and entertainment set up.  No parents were allowed to be there until it was time to pick up the kids, at 5:30, and it was incredibly crowded - young school kids from all of Geneva were there.  But Peter said he'd only been on 2 rides - I think with the number of children there, logistics must be a real mess.

Peter and his teacher
Kenny's fête des écoles was much more satisfactory - it was in the park right next door to us, and was basically an open air festival, with a band, some bouncy houses designed for older kids, climbing walls, etc. He enjoyed running around with his friends for about 4 hours - from 7 until 11 PM.

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