School is fun – in Greek!

As an expat family living in Cyprus I had always been nervous as to how our son would get on in the local Greek school having started at the age of 4 with only a few words of Greek to his knowledge. Although he seemed to have enjoying his time at school I had wondered exactly how he had been getting on, he always says he doesn’t remember when you ask him what he’s been doing and because of the language barrier, he often can’t explain very well even when he does remember!

Parent event at the Greek school
Recently the parents were invited to spend an hour in the class and then to enjoy coffee and cake whilst having a chat to the teachers about the children’s progress. It was interesting as my Greek is not yet good enough to understand what was going on very well, it was but brilliant to see him there being so much a part of the class and happy. As I walked in, he had the biggest smile on his face and after running over for a kiss he happily went back to his seat like he had been told to, although he kept looking over at me with a beaming smile and telling everyone in Greek “Look, there’s my Mama!”.

Learn Greek in schoolThe teacher spoke for a while, from what I can gather they were learning about butterflies, bees and flowers (among other things but that’s as much as I could pick out!) The children were asked questions and although I had no idea what was being said I was so proud to see Leo put his hand up to answer several times. We got to sit with our child to see their work and join in with them; it was a real pleasure to hear him talking away to the other children and even their parents as if he’d been speaking Greek all his life.

“Mama doesn’t speak Greek, she is only learning.”
At one point another parent spoke to me and as I hesitated trying to understand and answer Leo told them, in Greek that “Mama doesn’t speak Greek, she is only learning.”. They then asked if he learnt from my husband, when I told them just from school they were very surprised.  The only sad bit for me was when they were ‘testing’ the parents and asking them the questions, after a few others had answered Leo called over to me “Put your hand up Mama, like this when you know the answer.”, obviously I couldn’t answer any and he looked at me with such a hopeful expression each time! That’s all the encouragement I need to carry on learning the language though.

Emma is an expat wife and mother who moved from England to Cyprus when her eldest son was just six months old. She started writing a blog A matter of choice to document her life in a new country.

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