With schoolgoing kids, it is difficult not to notice La Rentrée. Even if you don’t have (young) children, you can’t ignore the start of the new school year. Everywhere you look there are advertisements, the radio talks about it, the supermarkets have made room for tons of school supplies, and you will notice big banners hanging over streets screaming ‘La Rentrée’, in case you might have forgotten.
Let it go
In French, the famous Frozen song “Let it gooo” is translated as ‘Libérée, délivrée’, which means something similar to “Finally! We are free and released!”. So it’s not unusual to hear French parents singing it in the streets around the first of September just as French primary school kids start their new school year. I even caught myself humming along last year… After two months of summer holidays, most French parents are very happy to go back to normal life again.
Before sending your loved ones to school, they need their new school supplies. Normally the school will send you a list with the requested materials. This is a perfect way to add new French words to your vocabulary. Although I am not sure if you will use ‘intercalaires’ (subject dividers), ‘équerre’ (set square), ‘pochette Canson blanc’ (sheets of lined white paper from the brand Canson), or ‘porte-vues’ (portfolio file folder) any other time of the year. One tip: don’t wait until the last week of the holidays to buy your kid’s supplies. Or you will find yourself looking for what’s left amongst all the other frantically searching parents.
I don’t recall kids in Holland having such big school bags as the French do, especially at primary school. I mean, I can hardly see my children underneath the huge rucksacks on their backs. My daughter prefers a real French satchel bag, but with wheels, so she doesn’t have to carry her stuff. Which I understand, as the number of books, folders and notebooks she has to bring home every day would break her little back in two.
All set to go, the actual day of La Rentrée arrives! The bags packed with fresh new supplies, alarms set at a ridiculously early hour (in our case), and the children excited to see if they will be in the same class as their friends. And then it’s quiet at home and on the streets. For six weeks at least, until the next two-week school holiday…