Montclaire Elementary School in Los Altos will be hosting 18 children from Paris this year, with the children arriving on Jan. 30.
School parent Janet Morehead said the children have been studying English for the past four years and the school has planned several activities to heighten the French kids' cultural interests.
Their stay will include trips to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, a redwood forest, elephant seal beaches, San Francisco and a ride on the cable cars, and the Golden Gate Bridge. Locally, they will explore Stanford University, the Discovery Museum, Fallon house, downtown Los Altos and the main library.
Morehead said many of the families hosting young French visitors do not know the French language. "The hosting children will find that this is a wonderful opportunity to practice French in their own home on a casual basis," Morehead said. "The correspondence between the families has been encouraged, with each child sending photos and letters every two weeks.
Montclaire parents have planned and arranged a picnic to kick off activities with the French students on Feb. 1 in Grant Park. The picnic will mark the beginning of a 17-day stay for the French students, who are all approximately 12 years old.
The children will be escorted by two of their own teachers. They will continue to participate in their school studies and rehearsals for a farewell show. In their own classroom, they will study about American culture and community.
This trip marks the eighth exchange the school has had with France. In June, Montclaire will do an exchange with its own host students. The school plans on sending 11 students to Paris.
"If you happen to be doing some shopping in downtown Los Altos Feb. 4, say 'bonjour' to the French school children touring our village," Morehead said. "We can all provide a good friendly environment for our visitors, plus you may get a smile back."