Today we met with the Tour Manager and the Advisor for the Education and Supervision of Minors, to discuss the children's schooling. The details are as we expected...
- the school will run from about 10am-4pm Tuesday-Saturday, 180 days per year, worked around the tour schedule. So, for example, they will go to school for 2 weeks in August, but not at all in September when Totem is on break.
- Ecole Nationale de Cirque (the elite Montreal circus school) is where Baz and Ayla are officially enrolled. Cirque's touring schools fall under the ENC's auspices.
- They will follow the Quebecois school system, including all curriculum and testing requirements.
- They will be taught in English, but will also learn French.
- There are 6 children who will be enrolled in the school this fall. They are as follows:
one 14-year-old boy (Russian)
one 12-year-old girl (American)
one 10-year-old boy (American)
two 7-year-old boys (Russian, and American-Baz)
one 6-year-old girl (Ayla)
There are also a number of younger children on the tour, who won't be attending the school:
one 6-year-old girl (Russian/German - will be returning to school in Germany)
two 4-year-old girls (Italian/Spanish and Mongolian)
one 3-year-old girl (Isa)
one 3-year-old boy (Russian)
& three baby girls, ages 8 months to 18 months, not sure of their nationalities
- there will be two teachers for the school kids, a man and a woman, both of whom have taught for Cirque shows for many years.
- parents are expected to supervise their kids at lunch. this will be easy in some cities and not easy in others - we have been forewarned that in Amsterdam, housing is very far from the site.
Speaking of lunch, I thought you might like to see a sample of what a menu in the Cirque du Soleil cafeteria looks like:
On our way home, we ran into yet another street festival. This one's a big one, the International Jazz Festival. And it has a great central area for kids.
I have to give special kudos to this pirate, who entranced my children at the festival today. He does a street show which is simply bringing out a table full of props, and talking about how he just got off the pirate ship and brought some of his seafaring gear with him, and would the children like to ask questions or touch the items? Whalebone, salt-encrusted lantern, spyglass, etc. He spoke in clear, elegant French, which mostly went over the kids' heads, but they turned to me eagerly for a word-by-word translation. These are the types of moments I think they are really getting the reason for learning other languages - they want to understand French so they know what the pirate is saying!! At one point, on their request, I raised my hand to ask, "Mes enfants veulent savoir - etes-vous un VRAI pirate?" (my children want to know, are you a REAL pirate?" And Baz and Ayla's faces lit up as he exclaimed "Mais oui! Bien sur!"