They may have spent just one full day in France, but Year 8 Prep School pupils certainly made the most of a recent trip to the Continent.
After arriving in Calais, mid-afternoon, the group headed straight to a boulangerie where the children enjoyed an authentic French experience courtesy of the owner and baker of the bread. He was an enigmatic Frenchman who expected nothing but French to be spoken, (and quite rightly so!) The children watched the process by which the bread in their shop is made and then were able to sample some croissants, though thankfully not the ones they attempted to make!
The trip tries to build a cultural feel for France and this could not be done without a nod to history. The World Wars have had a timeless impact on the part of northern France that the children were visiting and the Year 8s showed great maturity as they visited the Etaples War Cemetery. A moving reading of Wilfred Owen’s, ‘Dulce Et Decorum Est’ by Johnny, Grace, and Josh set the right tone, and the pupils then took time to walk through the cemetery and take in the impact of where they were.
Next on the itinerary was a trip to a typical French market. Cue a challenge! The pupils split into groups and were tasked to buy twelve specific items (in French) with only ten euros to spend. The group with the most change at the end would win. Mr Thomas, a wily seasoned campaigner, saw his group come back with the most change….again! However, after much intrigue and speculation it turned out that a pencil (one of the twelve items) may have come from Noah’s pencil case rather than a shop shelf. Mrs Vare’s group was, therefore, declared triumphant. Games aside, it was great to see the Year 8s putting their French into practise outside of the classroom and with such confidence.
The afternoon consisted of a trip to the Nausicca Aquarium in Boulogne and then a trail round the old city walls and cathedral. Walking round Boulogne, the pupils were able to fill in the answers in their booklets, which related to things they had seen on the trail. On return to the hotel, there were many tired eyes telling what a busy couple of days it had been.
The children returned to the UK via a stop a Hyper-Marché; it was fantastic to see new friendships being formed and people having fun and enjoying themselves. Quel excellent voyage !