This is the christmas term of our third year in France. Month on month our children have immersed themselves into the language and culture of our local french landscape and where their education is concerned I have no worries.
Ecole and College St Dominique has an extraordinary level of attention to detail, and time-tested organisation which keeps the parents firmly in touch with their childrens’ progress and with the teaching and pastoral team. History starts at the ‘prehistory’ and works its way systematically towards the present day, mathematical challenge is rigorous and the methodical testing at each stage easily surpasses that of UK schools without the need to stop progress for revision in class time. Reassuringly, French pupils actually are taught grammar, a skill that has been sadly neglected in the standard English school. Parents are encouraged to participate within the school environment, anything from participating in ‘catéchèse’ (religeous studies), to reading out loud to children at lunch time in a wide variety of languages (from spanish to russian) or participating in various fétes over the length of the year.
If I had to highlight the one major difference between French and English school, it would be in the realm of creativity and sport. Whilst english schools have a burgeoning emphasis on art, technology and woodwork, on teamsports such as rugby, cricket and hockey; for France these play a significantly lesser roll. This is not to say that art and technology and sport do not play a role in french education, but that it is essential for french families to offer a supplement.
Being passionately absorbed in creative arts myself, the odd niggles of doubt as to whether my children were being “drawn out” where creativity and imagination were concerned were never far away. Imagine my delight therefore when my son in quatrième (age 13) began to talk about one of the parent’s mission to create an entirely new ‘vision’ when it came to this years “Crèche de Noel”
For those who have already visited my post ‘A trip about Rouen‘ they will be quick to note that the students of quatrième B, under the inspired eye of Madame Corruble have created a perfect model of the ‘Gros Horloge’ and it’s surrounding buildings with the archway of the clock tower representational of the lowly stable.
The model, entirely fabricated from modelling card, with multi-coloured tissue paper to form the stained glass windows is the scene for the clay figures crafted by some students from troisième.
On friday 25th November, the crèche was inaugurated by the local priest in the presence of friends, parents and pupils of St Do, and illuminated for the first time.
Congratulations to Madame Corruble and the élèves of 4ième B for their painstaking attention to detail and their celebration of the architecture of Rouen with this beautiful Crèche; I feel inspired for my own preparations for christmas and confident that whilst creative art is not high on any french school time-table – Here in Rouen, St Dominique can claim first prize for inspiration and creative vision.
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