Some of you (Loyal Readers) will remember my frustration, journeys of disappointment and tearful, emotional–and hormonal–car rides back home with a new born as I visited nursery after nursery in Erbil looking for a happy, healthy and an educational place for my eldest. A scenario I never imagined to experience in my wildest dreams.
One night it had all gotten a bit too much. I spilled my confusion, frustration and my postnatal blues on some Facebook pages and all over Twitter (so. so. professional. Especially when the Deputy PM follows you). But let’s face it, how can Kurdistan have some of the most lavish hotels, shops, cafes and cars in the Region, but not have a half decent nursery that ticks my checklist? Yes, I had a nursery checklist (in my head).
And then I heard from mums, one mum after the other, one comment after another and that’s when I said Au revoir to postnatal blues and out the window went my frustration and concerns. And you never heard me complaining after that…
I was introduced to the French School nursery, also known as La Crèche Danielle Mitterrand, (just saying that name makes me imagine taking selfies by the Eiffel Tower, strolling down the Champs-Elysées, or devouring all the coloured macarons at Laduree while listening to Edith Piaf… it makes me so happy, as if I own Musée du Louvre).
You see, after getting to know La Crèche Danielle Mitterrand it was like opening a fairytale book, and teachers at the school were almost like… Mary Poppins.
I remember walking into the school for the first time, everyone was smiling, including the Peshmerga outside.
I’d make eye contact with students, and they’d smile back! And these geniouses speak Kurdish to me, turn to their friends speaking in English, and reply to their teacher’s questions in French. Whoa! What! How?! Spoken French and English here is aw khwardn (drinking water), as Kurds say.
This little school outside of Erbil’s fancier suburbs helps children grow into dynamic, individuals. Teachers understand parents’ concerns, learning is collective, fun and playful; children attain life skills, independence and become critical thinkers. I like honesty and professionalism, and that’s what I saw on a daily bases at the nursery in the French School, or in more fancier terms: La Crèche Danielle Mitterrand.
What is interesting to know is that the school is non-profit, unlike 90 percent of private schools here it is not a businesses where someone is making money out of your child’s education. Quality matters, and there is a firm belief and a focus on the individual, something very rare to find here, but a fundamental attribute of all great learning institutions in the world.
The staff are spoken highly of (deservingly), parents communicate, children are not lost in deep social expectations and materialistic demands, and as they say French is the language of love and reason. So why not?
Next time you’re looking for a nursery for your little one (or a school) before you vent your frustration on poor ‘followers’ there is a small hidden gem that you might want to discover… The Danielle Mitterrand French School- Erbil.
Did I mention it’s more affordable than the country’s best nurseries?
I will write about various other places for children which I have grown to love in Erbil, keep an eye out for future posts. But for now
My Nest in Kurdistan
All photos taken from the French School Facebook page here.