A few weeks ago, I wrote about the scolding I received during my last p’tit-déj. The reason for the scolding was my far too intermittent presence at the Maternelle Building and the feeling that a few misunderstandings could have been avoided or better managed had I been there in person (an impression, which may be giving me too much credit but may also not be entirely wrong).

Without wishing to deny the evidence – admittedly I haven’t been spending a lot of time in the Maternelle Building – I would like to reassure you that my physical absence did not prevent me from thinking about the Maternelle every single day. I would like to thank the exceptional work of two people in particular who ensure that our Maternelle is never far from my mind. Two people whose detailed and professional daily feedback about the workings, issues, and celebrations in the Maternelle Building I count and rely on. Two people who I probably don’t thank often enough: Stéphanie, our school psychologist, and Ben, our Maternelle Coordinator. I take great pleasure in talking to them and working with them to find the best solutions and to make sure that our Maternelle remains what it has been for years: an incredible, magical place bursting with bilingual learning adventures.

I am not however going to make any excuses; I can definitely do better in terms of physical presence. I have revised my weekly schedule so I can be at the Maternelle Building more often. You will now see me every Tuesday and Thursday at morning drop-off until 9 a.m. It’s a key moment of the day when I can talk to colleagues and parents. Andria has already started doing drop-off duties at Maternelle on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. She’ll also be using that time to document all of the activities in Maternelle on our social media channels. In the coming weeks, I hope to be able to spend more time in Maternelle at other moments, but right now my schedule is pretty tight.

Already this week, having spent a little more time in the Maternelle Building, I was delighted by how sweet our students are, by their smiles, their good humor, and by how much they love to share. I was impressed by the meticulous, patient, and welcoming work of the teachers and the SLAs (school life assistants). I was dazzled by the sun that lit up the MPR on the 5th floor, the sound of the pitter-patter of little feet on the parquet, the view from the roof, the passers-by on Broadway, the flaneurs in the park, the games, the laughter, the hugs for parents, the scooter races, the still sleepy faces. It made me want to sit down and – as Manu would say – do nothing, but take it all in from a child’s height, while the kids’ laughter faded as they went up the stairs to silently listen to their teachers’ instructions.

I hadn’t really left but I was glad to be back! With a happy heart, I made my way to the Elementary & Middle School Building to supervise the 6th to 8th Grade lunch break yesterday. And sure enough, the first middle schooler I met when I arrived breathless on the 4th floor turned to me and said “And where were you this morning? I like starting my day by saying hello to you and you weren’t there!” I told him exactly what I am writing to you today: that I got a scolding because kids in Maternelle would like to see me there as well. He was startled to learn that I too could get a scolding but he agreed to share me (a little).