05/12/2010

Boxes

I went to a Montessori school today. The company I work for has a partnership with them and I was invited for a full tour.

When I got there, I was taken aback by all the children. I know, a school is supposed to be a place filled with children, but usually, when you enter a French school, it's as quiet as a cemetery and all the kids are in class, listening to the teacher.

The school system here makes our children go to school as early as 3 years old and it becomes mandatory at age 6. Since most parents cannot stop working for six years, the majority of French kids attend l'école maternelle and then go to l'école primaire the year they turn six. They are asked to stay there from 8:30am to 4:30pm and only get two breaks. Days are long and exhausting, and they also have homework the minute they start l'école primaire.

My kids, Alexandre and Roxane, go to school. Alex is in his 2nd year of primaire and Roxane just entered la maternelle. She's happy enough, she loves her teacher, has a BFF and a fiancé. Alex, on the other hand, has had troubles for a long time. It started during his first year, actually. He hated school and I had to tie him up to take him there. As in, force him in his stroller and put my hand on him while I was locking him up.

Now it's a little better. But basically, he's been bored to death since day one. Most teachers don't get him. He doesn't seem to think like others, doesn't count or understand the same way his friends do. He has buddies, but the schoolteacher told me recently, like they all did the previous years, that somehow, he didn't belong. That the classroom stuff were of no interest to him.

He needs to go to school, because he has a lot to learn, but that little boy thinks outside of the box, and school is the place where you must enter the box. I was always happy at school. Lazy as hell, but I liked my friends and the teachers. Those are not good enough reasons for him.

When I went to that school today, I saw kids who talked freely, who were doing different things, who looked happy. And they knew so much, you'd be amazed. I could picture Alex with them, I just knew he'd belong. I knew that was the place for him.

That school is not only far away from home, but it's also extremely expensive. I can't see how I could afford it for my kids. And I thought that was so unfair. Let this be my plan, I want my kids to have that, I thought. I was trying to figure out how I could make them have it when I thought maybe I ought to think outside of the box, too.

I think ALL children should have access to that. I think our educational system has serious flaws, even if it has its good sides, too. So I decided that instead of trying to make more money or marry a billionaire, I should try and do something to bring Maria Montessori's method into public schools.

Big plan, I know. A little hopeless. But it matters. I'll try. And maybe I'll also marry a billionaire and he can help me a little ;)

3 comments:

Sarah @ Catching the Magic said...

Awww, hugs to you & your boy and wishes that one day the funds come forth x I too dream of schools that are more flexible to suit individuals and room for creative thought and learning.

Jean said...

Big oaks start as little acorns. I hope your dreams come true XXX

@jencull (jen) said...

I hope you do it, if I have any inspiration to add to your ideas I will let you know:) Jen

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