Updated: Jan 3
La Rentrée is a big thing here - the French calendar is structured around it, so the first thing is to take a deep breath, and remember that you can make as big or small a deal of it as you wish.
Here are some ideas we shared, and that will be helpful whether your child is going back to school, or starting maternelle for the first time.
Trust. Your child will pick up on your feelings (whether you verbalise them or not) so gather as much information as you need to feel confident that your child will be safe and happy in their new school. Teachers are a wonderful bunch of people who love inspiring and educating children (they certainly aren't in it for the money!) so show your child that you are excited about this new step in their lives.
Visit the new school with your child. In COVID times, parents and children haven't necessarily seen the inside of their new school, so a Google search may be your friend. Does the Parent Teacher Association have a Facebook page or group? Has someone shared a Google review. Walk past the school when you're out doing shopping/going to the park. Don't make it a special trip just to look at the school, just include it as a part of something else.
Find parents who'll be at the same school (in your local park) and get chatting to them - introduce your child so that they will have a few friendly faces to recognise on the first day.
Prepare a small bag with things for the first day (unless, like us, you already have the full list of school supplies, in which case you may need to hire a fork-lift truck!) .
Answer any questions your child has about school as simply and honestly as possible.
Allow your child to choose their clothes for the first day, and set them out the night before. I know, the 'First Day of School Photo' may not turn out as you want it to if your child is wearing their favourite stripy socks and bright clashing colours (and what will the other parents think of you for dressing your child in trousers with holes in the knees? - That's for another blog post!!) Make sure that the clothes and shoes are comfortable and easy to remove (no laces or awkward buttons on coats for day 1).
Allow extra time. Getting ready on that first morning will take longer than you expect, and you don't want to add stress to your nerves. Breathe, relax. You've got this!
If your child is starting maternelle for the first time, you'll find more tips in the interview I held with the Head of a Parisian school, over in my Facebook community.
If you'd like support in your current parent challenges, join me on September 9 for a free Positive Parenting Workshop. 1 hour, online, for more tips and ideas. I look forward to meeting you.