Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Hello/Bonjour/Guttentag, Albert!

USM would fit in very well in Switzerland. Not only do we love the outdoors like may Swiss people and have a lot of cows in our state, but we start learning a language from day one. That was one of the biggest differences that I saw today in my visit. I actually visited a private school where they speak French all day on Mondays and Thursdays, English all day on Tuesdays and Fridays, and German all day on Wednesdays.

Today was the last day of school, so the class I visited (SK) had a party in the park. Throughout the morning, conversation flowed freely between French, English and German. It was so cool just to sit back and listen! At the park, I found that students play many I of the games that I mentioned before (Le Loup, soccer, etc.). However, when I asked the teacher if the Swiss are pretty much just like the French in terms of school and attitude, she responded with a resounding, "no". Indeed, the attitude here is much more relaxed, and students don't usually start school until SK. But there is a much greater emphasis on language. The Swiss people speak many languages. Here in Geneva, they speak French, but on other parts they speak German, Italian or Romansch, so in order to communicate with their fellow countrymen, they must speak several languages fluently. Also, Geneva is a really big city where lots of internationals come to work, so English is a must and nearly everyone speaks it.

Exciting news for my SK/1st grade friends!! As I told you at the end of the year, Jean-Robert got a letter from Albert, a construction worker in Paris who has never been to the U.S. before. Well, the day before I left, I met up with Albert at the Eiffel Tower, where he is doing finishing up some repairs for puppet access to the top. He decided to come to Milwaukee and become friends with Jean-Robert, Soleil, Pierre and Florence and see how he likes Milwaukee! He has been travelling with me ever since. Here is the picture of us meeting at the Eiffel Tower. He can't wait to meet all of you!!

1 comment:

Frenchie said...

You said that the Swiss children speak different languages during different days of the week at school. Do they always have the same teachers all week who speak all three languages or do they have different teachers that specialize in each language?

I'd also like to say that I am having so much fun reading your blog! It truly has become a highlight of my day.

Madame B.