Weeping and clutching to Mummy's arms are part of ''back-to-school'' everywhere in the world.
Back in September 2007, when the International School of Manosque was still a virtual entity hosted by the nearby Lycée des Iscles, total enrollment from nursery to senior high reached only 79.
Three years later, upon the completion of the buildings and equipment, it is up to some 400, with "ITER children" accounting for more than half (53.5%) of the total enrollment.
Back-to-School Day on Thursday 2 September was just like any other school anywhere else in the world, with some tears and many a long hug in the kindergarten area, happy reunions and more hugs everywhere else.
A determined youngster heading for his first day in class.
In the soothing words of the parents and the excited chatter of teenagers, one could hear almost all the world's languages; children and youngsters at the International School now come from 27 different countries, up five from the previous school year.
Kindergarten and Primary School are by far the most cosmopolitan part of the International School: ITER children account for around 64% of the total enrollment there, a percentage that is much higher than in Junior (43.75%) and High School (29.5%). Among the 30 pupils of Cours Préparatoire, the first year of Primary School, 24 (80%) are "ITER children".
''You didn't say that, did you???''...
"ITER personnel are rather young," explains Damien Michel, in charge of Communication at the International School, "and this year, it seems we're having a real baby-boom here!"
Two years after laying the first stone, the International School of Manosque is now ready and fully equipped to fulfil its mission: providing a multilingual and multicultural education not only to ITER children, but to all those who feel that opening to the wide world is key to self-realization.