After two years of doing homeschooling onboard our yacht we decided it was an opportunity for the boys to get an immersive language experience by attending the local school. All schools in French Polynesia are taught in French to the French system, a colonialist legacy. So it seems a good opportunity for them to learn French together with some Tahitian over the summer.
We visited the local school PaoPao in Moorea to look around and met the wonderful and friendly staff. It’s a very basic school but full of happy smiling local children. Our boys stood out a mile with their white blond hair and skin but were readily accepted by the other children and were soon happily playing chess in a classroom and running around playing tag – which translates into any language.
Much form filling later, a few phone calls and a visit to the local Marie and the boys were enrolled for the rest of term. All very painless and easy to do and apparently cruisers often put their kids into the school for short periods so they were welcoming to our little global sailors.
School lessons start early at 7:30am which is a bit of a shock to the system – and it’s a 20 minute drive away. It’s so hot here that early mornings are part of life, by 10 a.m it’s scorching. The school has a half day on Wednesday and Friday — so it all seems fairly relaxed and we can still fit in trips and hikes to explore Moorea.
After a nervous first day and the usual comments about school food, the boys now happily run in and have quickly made friends. A couple of the teachers and a few children speak English so the transition has been made easier.
It seems to be working with Felix bringing home his work for (French?) Mother’s Day!
It’s bizarre (and slightly wonderful) not to be teaching them daily and to not even be together within each other’s sight 24/7! It’s very quiet! Time to sort my CV and look for a job then for our return to England. Oh and time for some of the more technical mountain hikes without little legs…