Now here's a sad little Christmas story that I found really quite difficult to believe or understand:
In France we have a wonderful institution called the Maternelle, a non obligatory school, for want of a better word for children aged 3 to 5 or 6. The kids don't have a formal education until the third year when they start prereading exercises but rather they learn through play and music and are socialised; taught how to queue, yes really, and how to walk hand in hand in a crocodile and how to share. I could go on and on about how marvellous they are but that's not the point....
Most children love being there because it's a safe environment in which to start moving away from maman.
A friend told me that her son's Maternelle teacher had decided to ban Father Christmas from the classroom this year. Her motives weren't entirely clear as there are no children in her class from other religions and, in any case, Father Christmas isn't a religious figure. She was also quoted as saying that in her opinion Christmas was becoming over commercialised so she was making a stand against it.. Try explaining that to a class of 4 year olds. And their parents. Particularly their parents.
So this is the situation; there are around 80 children in this school the majority of whom were partying with Father Christmas yesterday and this one class was going out for a walk with their teacher.......though they were allowed to have a bag of sweets to take home at the end.
I just wonder how much goodwill there was between that teacher and her 4 year old pupils and their understandably cross parents.