If your children attend a French school, chances are they will be taken on a ‘classe verte’ during the month of June when school teachers take time to soak in the beautiful French countryside with the kids.
A classe verte lasts between one or two weeks. The school chooses a “green” location with forests, rivers and – where possible – some historical remains nearby. During the classe verte, children follow a well-scheduled diary.
Their days are divided between open-air science activities, observing nature, visits of local farms and historical sites, walks or treasure hunts followed by a little time spent indoors reflecting on what they saw.
They sleep in dormitories and keep a diary of everything they do, to show their parents upon their return home.
It is a great time for the children to enjoy less academic activities. It has the feel of a summer camp with all the classmates learning new songs and teachers playing the guitar. My favourite memory is our class-teacher reading ‘Le Comte de Monte Cristo’ to us at bedtime. What a change from the strictness we were used to at school !
Schools organise these classes vertes for children as young as 4 years-old, up to the end of primary school. I remember waking up in another girl’s bed in the middle of the night… sleepwalking, perhaps missing my parents a bit after all, but what great memories I still have of those trips !
Text and all illustrations: credit and copyright C.A. 2012