Reading is a friendship, according to Proust, and I am very grateful for the friendship so many of you extended to us this week by coming into our classes and reading to our students. The children loved listening to you, and I hope that all the readers – parents and colleagues alike – enjoyed the experience too!

Having the opportunity to take a break, settle down, and let yourself be transported by a story is particularly welcome during this busy season when each day seems to burst with events of one type or another. Before children learn to read, books are mysterious and magical things, full of words that their teacher says in class and that their parents might also say at home. Words travel through books and reassure small children that there is a connection between home and school.

I don’t need to remind you of how essential that connection is and how pleased I was to see it “in the flesh” this week with so many parents coming in to read, demonstrating beautifully what it means to be a community. At The École we believe it is important to create opportunities that involve our families and allow you to play a greater role in school life. Our parents’ association is committed to creating such opportunities – organizing last week’s galettes des rois and today’s lion and dragon dances in celebration of the Lunar New Year.

You may remember that last June was chockful of in-person events and opportunities for parents to come into school – we took advantage of the easing of COVID restrictions to squeeze as much into one month as we could. We’ve since had feedback from families that we might have gone a little overboard in our enthusiasm so we made a concerted effort this school year to space out the in-person events on our calendar. We also wanted to allow more time for teachers to build on the pedagogical aspect of each event.

Publishing parties in 2nd and 4th Grade have already given parents a chance to appreciate the work of our budding authors, the talent show allowed others to encourage their children on stage. The Maternelle Winter Show was a wonderful experience for the performers and the audience. 1st Grade parents led craftivity workshops just before the winter break, while Middle School parents were invited to student-led exhibitions. The counseling department holds regular counselor chats, and I’ll be hosting my first breakfast with parents next Friday at 8:30 a.m. The list goes on and on.

Watching the soccer world cup at school was an incredible inter-class experience at The École, particularly the semi-final against Morocco when passers-by stopped outside the Elementary & Middle School Building to ask what all of the noise was about! Sport is a great way to bring our community together. You are all welcome to show your support for the Falcons during their Thursday afternoon basketball games (keep an eye on the Memo to know where and when the games are taking place) and we will also have the chance to meet up as a community at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, February 4 for French Heritage Night organized by The Knicks. At the latest count, there will be 130 members of our community in attendance (students, staff, and parents).

If reading is a friendship, spending time together is an incredible gift!