Malia started school mid-August and has introduced us to a whole new part of life - both as first time parents of a school age child AND as people figuring out a whole new school system in a foreign country.
Children are enrolled in school as early as 2 years old! The “Maternal” has 4 sections;
Section Trop Petit (So Little)
Section Petit (Little)
Section Moyen (Mediums)
Section Grand (Bigs)
And then after these sections are complete they move to the elementary and basically start the equivalent of 1st Grade. Malia is in a class that actually has a mix of mediums/bigs. There are 20 kids in her class; 10 girl and 10 boys. Technically Malia should be a “big” this year since she turned 5 but we put her in Medium because of language and they included her in the mixed class because the older kids get an hour of English a week and so they thought that would be nice for Malia to have at least one class in the week that was in English.
Every child in her school and even in the elementary next door know “Malia - the English girl”. Her school is heavily Tahitian with a handful of French kids but Malia is the only English kid. She has done so well with the transition and we have been really grateful for her school. I was so nervous about school but God really set us in the right school, the right class and with the right teacher. Her teacher’s name is Tumata and she is PERFECT! Seriously couldn’t have asked for a better teacher for Malia. She is so kind and gentle and patient. She does know English so when Malia is really stuck she is able to re-explain to her. Malia’s French has come along very well and I think most of the time everything functions in French now but especially at the beginning Tumata would translate for Malia.
Malia’s school is in a poorer neighborhood and the Directrice of the school has been really committed to helping these kids be set for a good education. I guess previously the school wasn’t doing so well and wasn’t equipping children as well as they could and she just has a heart to see things change in this neighborhood and see these kids set up for their future. David joined the equivalent of the PTA and it’s been a good place to really get to know other parents and just be involved in our community a bit.
School has been a great place to become known and be fixtures in the community. I run into parents all over town etc. I’m also excited to see what Malia will bring to this little school - she has such a kind heart and such a brave spirit. When we see children crying in the morning before school she will pray for them. Her teacher’s foot was hurt at one point and she said, “I think I should pray for her.” :) May we bring the Kingdom wherever we go and see God do amazing things in Malia’s school and in the surrounding community!