School trip

1:55 AM

We met up with Karen* (name changed) and her little girl the other day at the park. They are English and her little girl is just about the same age as Queenie. They love to play together, or rather the IDEA of playing together as they contantly ask us if they can meet up but when they are together in the park it takes the better part of an hour for them to actually start playing together.
   Anyway, as Karen as I watched the girls we had our own playtime: girl talk. She told me about the dilemma that a friend of hers is having. Her friend is English also and has a little girl the same age as Queenie, which means she is in Moyen at school (between 3 1/2 to 4 years old). Her friend's school (not ours) is taking the class on a field trip.
   3 hours away.
   Where they will stay 5 days and 4 nights with teachers. No parents.
   The French school finds this perfectly normal and apparently is pressuring the mother greatly to allow the little girl to go. She feels that they are looking at her as the "strange English Lady" who is holding her child back from maturing. In fact they told her straight out that if she didn't allow the girl to go the mother would be at fault for not only holding her child back from an opportunity to learn more French, but to mature as a child. Plus, the year's curriculum is based on what they do during this trip (okay, right there, I know that they have a curriculum to follow at this age, but let's face it, the kids don't realize this nor will they remember all details of this trip during the rest of the year as they learn. They are 4 years old!).
   Karen asked me what we would do. My answer was quick and to the point: we would say no.
   I know my child and I know she wouldn't do well. Karen told me that her biggest concern was that the teachers said that the children would be separated into sleeping rooms in groups of 4 but that they weren't enough teachers to have sleeping in each room.
   "What if my daughter gets into a room where the other three girls know each other and they are bullies?"
   Hmmm. I hadn't thought of that. It is certainly a possibility. Our concern, as foreigners, is always language. If the child cannot communicate her fears or what is happening at ngiht, etc, if she can't communicate correctly how will that influence her time spent there?
   My main concern would be Queenie's confort zone. She doesn't like to sleep away from home, she wakes up often at night and comes to our room, she has a problem with constipation and she doesn't speak the language.
   At the parent meeting the teachers explained that while a child may not appear to like to spend the night away from his/her parents, that truely they act differently with teachers and that every year each chld is fine and has a great time.
   But Queenie would never tell how bad a time she is having during the bad parts i.e. night time. She would cry herself to sleep. They might even find her on the floor in the corner (as I have found her at times). She has a hard time communicating in her two home languages what is concerning her, she certianly wouldn't do it in French to her teachers.
   We wouldn't allow Queenie to go because we know that even the good moments that she would have wouldn't make up for the extremely bad times that she would have.
   What do you think? Would you allow your 31/2 -4 year old go on a trip for 5 days?

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