School vacation started today for Laura. I don’t think she has fully grasped the idea of a vacation yet. She is in the Petite Section, the first year of official preschool here. Preschool or la Maternelle is three years long and is for children from 3-5. While it is not compulsory, the majority of French children attend the Maternelle. Some schools also offer a Toute Petite Section for children who are younger and potty-trained although this is supposed to being phased out. (I say “supposed to” because every time I read about an Education nationale decision, it feels like I read about them changing their mind two weeks later.) I’m actually not overly worried about “entertaining” Laura and Elise this week. They love to read, draw and are actually pretty good at playing by themselves (ie imagining different things with their toys).
I chose this postcard for today because it seemed to symbolize Laura and Elise’s idea of a fun morning to me. When they are in the mood, I can easily spend an hour or more reading to them before moving on to other activities. Anpanman is a popular Japanese children’s character. According to Wikipedia, he is not just a popular character but the most popular fictional character in Japan for children aged 0-12 years old. You can see him above along with his archenemy, Bacteriaman (laying down with a book), the lovely Dokinchan (sidekick to Bacteriaman) and Cheese the dog. I love how this postcard shows all the characters reading! Japan has one of the highest literacy rates in the world. I support anything that encourages children to read, merchandising or not! (And how can you resist Bacteriaman with a book?) We have several Anpanman books and toys at our house–a story book, a drawing book and two wind-up character toys. I would like to say that the story book is the girl’s favorite thing but I would be lying. While they definitely enjoy the books, the wind-up toys are clearly the winners–they have hopped around our house many a time and been played with so much that the paint is now slightly chipped!
While visiting Yokohama, Evita and her husband took their girls to the Anpanman Children’s Museum where she bought this card. According to her note, the girls had a blast and felt like they were “living in a dream.” I can easily imagine what she meant–we took Laura to Sesame Place and her face just lit up as soon as we walked in…and we hadn’t even met Elmo yet! The Anpanman Children’s Museum has come up on several times as I’ve been researching things to do in Japan with children….so has Tokyo Disneyland our stop for tomorrow’s post!