Wednesday, August 26, 2009


We took Zoë to her new school to register this morning. It was quick and painless. The school had been attacked by vandals and hooligans overnight, and there was graffiti all around the outside. We walked all around the building because we couldn't figure out where the front door was. We found it. It was the last place we looked. And also the first.

Zoë got cozy with the principal, Ms. Waterman, who gave us a tour of the school. It was nicer inside than outside. While we were there, they were cleaning up the grafitti and replacing a broken window. Very efficient.

The photographic evidence is conclusive that a fairy accompanied Zoë on the school tour. (See it there, following behind her?) When Zoë saw the picture, she whispered "That's very unusual." Indeed.

Further evidence that Canada is not like the US: I heard on CBC radio yesterday that the school district was still looking for 20 lunch monitors, since they had mandated universal free lunch for the entire district this year. I assumed that meant the schools were required to serve free lunch to all students, not that all students were required to eat school lunches. When we got to school today, Ms. Cuthbert the secretary, who is a dead ringer for Susan Coyne (for you Slings and Arrows fans), asked if we'd be having lunch at school. "It's free!" We told her that Zoë would bring her own lunch. "As do all the children," she said. Turns out, what universal free lunch means is that every kid CAN now eat lunch at school, instead of having to go HOME for lunch, which is apparently the way it was done before. And the kids who lived too far away to walk home for lunch had to pay for the lunch monitors who supervised lunch. That's OLD school. Like, when my Dad was in school, back in the 1920s. Or like when Laura Ingalls Wilder was a schoolteacher out there on the prairie. So. There is no cafeteria at school, and the kids will eat lunch in their classrooms. Maybe the lunch monitors are there so the teacher can take a lunch break too.

Which made me wonder: back in the states, the free and subsidized lunch and breakfast programs for low income students are an important (if hidden) component of the welfare system. Does Canada just offer better welfare, so that families can actually afford to feed their own kids? Or do the kids just starve, like those poor chill'uns out on the prairie?

1 comment:

  1. I am so glad a fairy followed Zoe to Canada. I was worried.