4. Mum’s first day in a Spanish school

School in Casares
Primary school in Casares
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Visiting the information morning for parents in the school I know exactly how my oldest daughter of 5 is going to feel tomorrow! I don’t understand a thing they are discussing, I get a raving headache of all the mums talking together with their sharp voices, not waiting  turns. And this classroom is an acoustic disgrace!

School in Casares

We had already decided in the Netherlands that our children would go to a Spanish school. We came to live in Spain! Being part of the Spanish community is part of that as is learning the language. The kids might as well start from day one.

Local school
At the last moment we decided for the local school in Casares instead of Sabinillas. Despite us speaking hardly any Spanish we were welcomed in!  A heavy burden fell off my shoulders. I was truely amazed by the friendliness, the warmth and especially the real attention for the children from teachers and staff. And the quality of education? Well, I can’t judge that yet.

The school in Casares

Anyway, that hurdle was taken. Nienke was also excited, she really wanted to go. Danielle will have to wait another year. She will start at the ‘Guarderia’ (nursery). Probably better, she is only 3.

Nervous for the parent-morning
When I signed Nienke up they gave me a list of books I had to purchase and an invitation to join the parent information morning. Exciting! Mainly for me, I think. The rest of the family did not let this event change their daily routine of swimming and beaching.  I however started enthusiastically with all kinds of school preparations. I dug up the school rug sacks, jackets, lunch boxes and was terribly nervous about attending the parent morning the next day.

Arriving at school I sighed deeply, smiled and produced a friendly ‘Hola’ to whoever I encountered. The gate was still closed. It was also the first day of school for the older children and they were waiting to go in. At exactly 10:00am music shouted over the school grounds announcing the commence of the new school year. Teachers took their ‘spot’ on the play ground, the gate opened and the children pushed themselves through  to  make neat lines in front of their teacher. Slowly they all disappeared inside. I was obviously in the wrong line but was brought to the right class by Miguel, the concierge. A little uneasy I was looking for a place amongst the other mums.

After about 10 minutes in class I understood exactly how Nienke would feel tomorrow.  The teacher enthusiastically introduced the ins and outs of the school. The mothers chatted and chatted  amongst themselves and with the teacher about God-knows-what.  And I just sat there. Friendly looking around me and not understanding the slightest bit of what was discussed.

A very sweet girl
After fifteen minutes I was lost completely and after an hour I was exhausted. The teacher had finished her chat and the mums went home. Except me. Although I hadn’t understood a lot I half and half picked up that we were meant to buy more than just books. But what? The teacher was very friendly and started all over again. One on one it went a lot better!

‘Seño’ Maria Jesus is a very sweet girl. Not only did she take the time and patience to explain the school materials I had to purchase, she immediately wanted to learn a few words in Dutch: Toilet, teacher, stomach ache, play … She is lovely. I feel much better now and have no problem to leave Nienke with her tomorrow!

Anita Schmidt | 29th April 2013