Last week I volunteered on a field trip with my older daughter’s class. She’s in Grade 2, French Immersion, and the field trip was to attend Cinefranco, a French film festival at a downtown Toronto cinema.
First of all, how cool is that? The only field trips I remember are to a salmon fishery, a museum and snowshoeing. Not that those trips aren’t awesome in their own way – they totally are – but a French film festival is more my kind of thing!
To get downtown, we took the subway with 63 kids and loads of teachers and parent volunteers. One of the many things that I love about my kids’ school is that so many of the parents give so much of their time and energy to making the school a great place for their kids. I was in awe of my Girl’s teacher as he calmly supervised his group on the subway. I, of course, was completely terrified of losing one of the four in my group. I made all of them hold my hand or jacket throughout the whole journey which I’m sure completely mortified my Girl.
On the subway, I loved listening to the conversations that were going on in my group. Much to my surprise, the big topic of conversation was Whitney Houston’s death and the reasons behind it. These 7-year old kids were contemplating what mix of medications had caused her demise???? Other topics included how their parents work too much, what they had for lunch, and whether or not they would have to actually do any schoolwork that day. One of the girls in my group came dressed in a pink fedora with a stuffed toy poodle in her purse. In my opinion, perfect attire for a French film festival.
The movie we watched, Les Contes de La Nuit by Michael Ocelot, was actually a montage of 6 short films based on fairy tales from different nations. All the films were done in silhouettes against multi-coloured backdrops – so visually stunning. I loved being in the cinema with all those kids, bright-eyed and excited. There was so much positive, lovely energy in that room.
What I most enjoyed about the experience was seeing my Girl interact with her friends in her own element. She was very different from how she is at home; here, she’s always struggling to define her place between her older and younger siblings. At school, she’s just the Girl, doing her own thing, so much calmer and real. I felt very privileged to be there.