Friday, July 31, 2009

Back already?

I was surprised to learn that teachers in the US are already headed back to the classroom in some areas. Doesn't the calendar still say juillet? The 2009 rentrée scolaire in France is scheduled for September 2nd, which means we still have a full month of family vacations, long evenings, and of course, les barbecues with friends.

But even with all this summer-ing yet to do, some have already turned their attention to the annual back-to-school shopping ritual. France's Minister of Education published the list of must-haves and negotiated with vendors to ensure that there are no major price hikes since last year.

Sneak preview: There's an amusing 3-page article in the upcoming issue 65 of Bien-dire magazine on a French family's adventure preparing for the rentrée.

In an effort to help out parents, the items on the must-have list will bear a logo reading "essentiels de la rentrée" from July 15th to September 15th. Here's a sampling:

Large notebook, 96 pages (21x29.7 cm)
Small notebook, 96 pages (17x22 cm)
Ballpoint pens (blue, black, red, green)
5 tubes of water-based paint (primary colors)
Sturdy backpack weighing less that 1 kilo (2.2 pounds)
Compass (metal)
Pencil sharpener (plastic)
Pack of 12 markers (non-toxic)
2-4 glue sticks (non-toxic)
Roll of plastic for covering books

I can't say that reading over the list put me in a back-to-school kind of mood. But hopefully by the time September 2nd arrives, all the students in France will be ready. (I'm sure the parents will be!)

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