|J and B with their friends on their first day of school.|
One topic of conversation that came up, not too surprisingly, was the difference in what the kids were studying and experiencing compared to what they had in their previous schools. What has really impressed me so far is the amazing change in perspective that my boys have already adopted. Unlike any place we have lived in the States, the boys' school environment is, in every sense of the term, a global one. If you ask them where the kids are from who are in their classes, as I have, you get the typical "Come on, Mom" look and the generic answer "everywhere." I have boys, so they are never verbose in their communication, so after a series of further questions you do learn that indeed the kids do come from everywhere. For once in their short lives, they are not the minority in the sense that they are Hispanic. They are in the minority because they are American. It is truly a refreshing perspective to see that the kids at the International School here do not identify themselves by race, religion, or other social difference. In fact, they don't really seem to identify themselves by their country much either. If I ask my son where a particular person is from, he rarely knows the answer. I usually get the response, "I don't know. Somewhere in Europe." Ask the same questions in Dallas and the child is likely to identify him/herself by which part of Dallas they live in (Frisco, Plano, etc.).
To understand this at another level, all you have to do is consider their classes. Last year my son's 7th grade history class was Texas History - no different than when I was in 7th grade years ago. I was thrilled when we were living in Richmond because our kids learned so much about American history at such young ages, simply because American history pretty much started in Virginia. Their lower school field trips were to Jamestown, Williamsburg, Yorktown, and Washington D.C.. As a result, this step back to learning about a much smaller footprint of the world was a bit odd. It seems even stranger when suddenly you are not only surrounded by 200 years of history, but rather, centuries of history. Here, they are surrounded by history and their courses reflect this viewpoint by not only teaching them about European history, but rather the world both then and now. My 8th grader will learn about Africa and Asia (both history and current events), while my 6th grader will learn world religions - what a great balance!
|Main Street - Disneyland Paris|
|Our favorite gelateria in the city center.|