ecole joli bois in Brussels

(71 Posts)
Ballet Fri 25-Jan-13 07:42:59

I am planning to send my duaghter to ecole Joli BOis this september.
does anybody has any idea about school??

natation Fri 25-Jan-13 18:50:24

Which Ecole Joli-Bois, there are in fact 3 of them?

natation Fri 25-Jan-13 19:02:08

Ok a bit of research suggests you're looking at école primaire Joli-Bois? Well is it your nearest school? I have perhaps a rather biased view that I would not travel out of my way to send my child there, it really depends on where you live, whereas if I lived virtually next door, I'd perhaps consider it. Garderie kids however are completely NOT supervised, I see this myself every Tuesday evening. The school has absolutely no security too, you can walk into it and around it and no-one questions your presence, that also worries me a bit. Anyone wishing to abduct a child, well there are only a few other schools with as bad security. It works the other way too, children can leave the garderie and walk out without anyone knowing. As for education, well that's probably fine. The pluses are the music academy on site, offering dance and music lessons for free, but they are also accessible to children at other schools.

Ballet Wed 30-Jan-13 09:01:04

I am planning to send my duaghter to école primaire Joli-Bois.I am really greatful for your feedback.
We are going to live in etterbeek and I heard good feedback about ecole Jolie bois so I thought to put my duaghter in it.
can you suggest some school that are small in class size and it is multicutural school.
please help

natation Wed 30-Jan-13 15:55:17

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
just don't do it, really silly idea. Etterbeek is nowhere near Joli-Bois and it's not even a particularly good school either, compared to others in the vicinity, it would be 7 out of 10th for me in WSP. Go and look at schools in Etterbeek and nearby, but enrolments will have take place already at at least 50% of them!

natation Wed 30-Jan-13 16:14:43

PS nearly all schools in east Brussels are multi-cultural, a few exceptions where the population is very white and Belgian and little movement of pupils who join age 2 1/2 but only a minority of schools like that. If you find a school with small class sizes, DO AVOID. A school with class sizes of 23-25 in primaire is normal, with 20 children, either the school is unpopular or there is a specific reason why the class is so small eg 3 classes feeding into 2 classes above means the 3 classes have to be kept small, eg école communale de Stockel has to do exactly that!

Ballet Thu 31-Jan-13 10:48:13

we have got appointment to visit ecole Claire Joie in Etterbeek.
do you have any idea about it.
we absolutely have no idea as to which school to choose..please help

Ballet Thu 31-Jan-13 10:51:27

we have no idea schools in etterbeek...we only knew clair joie through this site.
we are planning to move to woluwe.........we heard that woluwe has many good schools.

natation Thu 31-Jan-13 15:43:31

Yesterday you were moving to Etterbeek, today you are moving to Woluwe, but which Woluwe, there are 3 of them?

You really really need to look on a map where work is.

You need to do your research into how to get to work from certain areas, choosing an area which is within financial reach of your budget, choosing both size of housing and type. Woluwe-St-Pierre is very expensive to live, houses in Etterbeek can be even more expensive, whereas 2 bed apartment are not so bad, Ixelles even more expensive for large houses!

You need to be certain you are looking for French, as there are Dutch schools too in Brussels. Just outside Brussels it is Dutch, if work is in a Dutch speaking area, it might be worth staying there and not in Brussels.

Tell me first where your work is, what your housing budget is and size and no of bedrooms. Tell me how many people in the family.

Finally I could suggest and area AND schools.

Ballet Fri 01-Feb-13 07:26:32

Thanks for your suggestions..
My husband is working at Zaventem and I commute from brussels to beerse(at the broder of holland).currently my daughter goes to ecole acacia in etterbeek but that is no longer affordable to us.
we are not looking for dutch option as she is alreday in Priamry 3 and she is doing her subjects in French we are looking for French school.
currently we are living in house that is paid by our office but very soon around may-june,we will no longer have this advantage.so we have to manage the house on our own from now on.
we are quite confused at this moment..no idea what to do??
basically we have plan to find the very goos school for my daughter and then to move in the very same area where that school is.
reply you help is needed.

natation Fri 01-Feb-13 09:04:19

Are you staying in Etterbeek? If you are, then take a look at the schools map, contact ALL the schools near where you live, within a radius of perhaps 1.5km.

If you are staying here long term into secondaire, currently if you want a good secondary, you choose where you live and go to primaire very wisely indeed, so that your chosen secondaire and primaire are ideally the 1st or 2nd nearest of type for the most popular schools, as you are allocated a score based on the order of primaire and secondaire from home. For the most popular secondaires, you really do need to be 1st or 2nd nearest to secondaire AND primaire to get into that preferred secondaire. So living in Etterbeek and going to école Joli-Bois would mean your chances of a good secondaire is quite low as Joli-Bois is far from home.

You are rather late at looking for a school place. You ideally should have contacted primaires in September 2012 and asked what the possibilities of a place for September 2013 was. You will now be at the bottom of a waiting list for places at certain schools.

If you wish to send me your exact address by private message, I could help you more. There are some schools more desirable than others in the Etterbeek area, but given you're late with looking for a school place, you may have to take whatever is available. You might have to consider also moving your child NOW and not in September.

Ballet Fri 01-Feb-13 10:41:12

I live near place de jourdan 1040

natation Fri 01-Feb-13 12:01:40

If you're staying at Pl Jourdan, I'd go for Ecole la Farandole, quite a few English speaking children there now and a nice small school, of course also a reflection of the mixed population too. I'd look also at St Stanislas and la Colombe de la Paix. They are really the only schools within easy walking distance. If you're Muslim, then may El-Gazhali, but I think it is perhaps a bit too popular.

natation Fri 01-Feb-13 12:08:13

If you're moving for a school in a better area, I'd make a choice of small school search area and make sure there is likely to be housing in your budget near to school.

Also if you're staying in Etterbeek, AVOID Ecole Sans Souci which is Ixelle postcode, even though it's probably your 2nd nearest communal after la Farandole. Look also at St Boniface in Ixelles, which is probably your 2nd nearest Catholic school after St Stanislas.

natation Fri 01-Feb-13 18:02:47

I noticed on the website of la Farandole that they are now offering group visits to the school, an indication of how popular it is becoming, with enrolments from beginning May 2013. You'll know the school as it's the other side of the street to Acacia. I know 2 very happy American families there.

I'm having a guess your daughter is not completely fluent in French, unless she's been at Acacia for several years. I'd be looking also at French activities, such as Guides. There are loads of groups, but the time to enrol for September is also now. Here is the nearest one to you, St Boniface, the old school of Hergé (Tintin) and also his old Scouts troop which he based some adventures on.
www.unite3381.be/v3_0/index.php

Ballet Mon 04-Feb-13 08:31:31

Natation thanks a lot for your inputs...this was really needed.
yes I have seen ecole Frandole and we are going to visit it on 21st Feb.this is closest school form our place.
My daughter is fluent in French and she can read and write French.
somehow I have positive feeling about ecole Frandole and we dont need to to move to other area also so put all these points toghther,we will try our best for this school.
thanks and if you have more information about this school u can share.

natation Mon 04-Feb-13 16:33:06

Ballet, I'd do the Maths on moving house. If you don't lose at least half your security deposit, you are doing well. You then have the set-up costs at the next home too. Sure you will get schools with more middle class children in them in the more middle class areas of Brussels. But if it is at great financial cost, then I'd stay where you are.

Ballet Tue 05-Feb-13 07:30:17

hi Natation, actually the service apartment we are currently living is paid by the company but form 1st of July we have to manage ourselves and it will be very heavy on our pockets so we are in a fix which area to move to.
since we are already positive about ecole Frandole,we would like to find flat in etterbeek itself not far from school.
you mentioned that there are two American children in school.which grades they are in??

natation Tue 05-Feb-13 07:56:02

Ooh in the case of a serviced apartment, assuming you have not got your name on the contract, you can leave without any penalties, as that would be very good news!

Given where you work, it would in fact make practical sense to move closer to the R0 wouldn't it? It depends on your attachment to Etterbeek and whether you like the thought of being in a more suburban area. You need to know the housing in areas and what you could get for your budget. A 2 beds near me in WSP, not the cheapest of areas, you could get for under €1000 in fact for 100m2 without too much difficulty, plus many of the apartments in the more suburban areas are modern and if you choose well, energy efficient too!

But first of all, you need a definite school place in an area where you could afford to live. Without doubt, you'll get a more middle class mix of international children in the suburbs, but what would attract me more is that if you're staying for secondary, it's far easier to get school places at the schools out in WSP if you're at a WSP primaire than if you are living in an area like Etterbeek with many secondaires and primaires in a small area. You could be living 500m from a decent primaire and secondaire in Etterbeek and you might not get into that decent secondaire! By contrast, you could live in an area of Zaventem like Sterrebeek and send your child 5km away to the nearest French Community funded primaire (would be Stockel or or Sacré-Coeur de Stockel, they both count as nearest), you'd have more chance of a place at a decent secondaire like Mater Dei or College Don Bosco also 5km away, than if you were 500m away from a decent school near Etterbeek such as Sacré-Coeur de Lindhout!

Depending on where in Zaventem your husband works, I'd go for either Evere (but not if staying for secondaire as no good secondaires up there) or WSL or WSP or Kraainem or Wezembeek-Oppem (for latter Brussels primaires are nearby and preferable if staying for secondaire as the Kraainem and Wezembeek-Oppem primaires are worst place to be for getting secondaire places for reasons too complicated to explain here, many children move from them to Brussels schools to get secondaire places).

I would be doing this research very very quickly, don't wait to see la Farandole, make the decision to move closer out to Zaventem where work is, or stay in Etterbeek.

natation Tue 05-Feb-13 08:16:34

I know of 5 American children in la Farandole, though I don't know which school years they are in, they vary from 4 to 8 years old I think. I wouldn't get too fixated on one school until you know you will stay near that school. I'd say have a plan A and a plan B, getting a couple of school places in 2 areas. It gives you flexibility if you can't find somewhere to live in one area, you have a fall-back area, plus you also have a fall-back school.

Ballet Tue 05-Feb-13 12:19:06

Dear Natation,this is really practical idea to be flexible and try for different schools.we have place in joli-bois but apparrently that is not one of the best schools.
we have also inscribed in Ecole de communale de Stockel and in sacre-ceaur de stockel.In addition to this we are also going to see le verseau in Wavre.

natation Tue 05-Feb-13 16:32:39

Well you seem to have done pretty well! Have you been to see any of the schools you have enrolled your daughter in?

The 2 Stockel schools are very similar in intake, they pretty much reflect the locality with 30+ nationalities in them and a few anglophones in there too, you're likely to find some in every school year. Do you speak any other languages, as you'll find also children speaking over 20 languages at each school. You're extremely lucky to get I assume a P4 place at Ecole Communale de Stockel for September 2014. Joli-Bois also has loads of different nationalities, but as I don't know a single anglophone there in primaire at the moment, I can only assume there are few there. Ecole Communale de Stockel is the biggest school with 23 classes, Ecole du Sacré-Coeur de Stockel has 19 classes, Ecole Communale Primaire Joli-Bois is separated from the maternelle and has 12 classes which are less full than the other 2 schools. I've already stated my bias against Joli-Bois, whilst probably sound educationally, the garderie set-up and security is pants, but if your daughter is musical or likes dance or theatre, she can go from school to free music/dance/theatre without leaving the building. The other 2 schools haven't got free French music academies in them, you have to travel to Joli-Bois or Ecole du Centre for the free academies there. Whichever of the 3 you would choose in that area, I'd just try and live as close as possible, if you are staying for the next 4 years, as it will get you serious extra points for entry into the best 2 secondaires in the area. You can live in Kraainem and Wezembeek-Oppem and send to the 2 Stockel schools and from much of those communes, the Stockel schools are the nearest French Community funded (La Fermette, Diabolo whilst French, are in fact Flemish Community funded and bad news for entry into French secondaire).

I'd try for at least 2 schools in Etterbeek. You can probably only get away with enrolling at one communale school there, I'd probably go for La Farandole, if only because I have those contacts who are very happy there. I'd look particularly at Ecole Ste Anne, if you're not fixed yet by Etterbeek address, as it is far more popular than St Stanislas which nearer to La Farandole. Of course St Michel is the most sought after of Etterbeek primaires, but it is enormous with 4 classes per school year, as big as you'll get in Brussels, the standard and amount of work is a major factor here, children are told here their position in class! I could not stand that, although I know my 11 year old is 1st or 2nd consistently in class, it's only because of her marks, marks at her school are NEVER read out in front of the class, unlike at certain schools.

natation Tue 05-Feb-13 19:20:54

PS le Verseau, it's 25km from Brussels and I personally think it's unwise to consider, simply because of your work place. You'll have to go through the worst daily traffic jam in Belgium, ie the RO east side, at least with the eastern side of WSP, you can take the R22 boul de la Woluwe to Zaventem. You will be spending a huge amount of the time in the car and so will your daughter, time which she could instead be spending relaxing or doing after-school activities. If the motivation is the 4 hours a week of mother tongue English instead of 4 hours a week of Dutch, well for 4.5k per year in fees, that's quite a lot of money, add on the fuel cost, it's probably the same as sending to Acacia in Etterbeek, it would work out at over €40 an hour for each hour of English. You'd be far better off hiring a private tutor for English for less than €40 an hour. Your daughter would have a far shorter trip to school. The garderie and school lunches at le Verseau are very expensive, the school day ends later than other schools too, add that onto travelling time.

Ballet Wed 06-Feb-13 09:27:20

Dear Natation,
actually we thought if we get place in Le versaeu, we can move to Wavre...and my husband will travel to zaventem from wavre. you are right about Le verseau that probably we end up paying as much as we pay for ACacia.but we are tempted to have a school where once my daughter is in,we are not bothered about looking for secondary.
In etterbeek we are going to claire joie to inscribe my daughter on 21st feb.
we have not really contacted st anne in etterbeer so far.how are reputation of st anne and claire joie ??
as you had said in your last message that if we put my daughter in schools of WSP,there many good secondary schools in WSP....we are considering this factor.
we have not got place in ECole communale de stockel so far,but we have inscribed my daughter and she is on waithing list.we will come to know about seat after carnival vacation.if we get place here in ECole communale de stockel and sacre secure de stockel,which is your first preference??
regards

natation Wed 06-Feb-13 10:01:44

Ballet
a primaire place no longer gives you priority to the attached secondaire and why should it when more than 50% of children are at primaires not attached to secondaires? (Well this year is the last year of that priority and you also had to be enrolled in 2007 to have benefitted from it) So you must apply separately to secondaires. Having said that, Le Verseau in the last 3 years when they have published the vacancies for secondaires, Le Verseau has not once filled all its secondaire places. The primaire is oversubscribed but the secondaire is undersubscribed. The oversubscribed secondaires in Wavre are Notre Dame de Basse Wavre and Providence.

Wavre to Zaventem is a terrible commute for you. It will also mean more time for your daughter in garderie in primaire and when she is older, more time at home without you. I cannot personally see any attraction in that, I'd only consider Le Verseau if I lived AND worked within a 5km radius, even then the 4.5k fees come with controversy, as the French first language children only pay 1k per year!!! Add on the cost of lunches, garderie, you're likely to pay over 5k more than being at the French primaire down the road from Le Verseau or the primaires in Brussels, all for what? Less time at home, more commuting time, more expense on fuel? I cannot think of an advantage, as you can do private individual English lessons in your own home for less than the fees at Le Verseau where your child will be 22 in a class!

Given a choice between Claire Joie and La Farandole or La Colombe de la Paix or le Paradis des Enfants, that is the 4 communal schools in Etterbeek, I think you'll find most locals will say Claire Joie is the least sought after. I think you'll find you will only be able to enrol at one single communal school in Etterbeek, so if you enrol at Claire Joie, you will not be able to enrol at La Farandole.

Given a choice between Ste Anne and the communal schools in Etterbeek, I think you'll find most locals will say Ste Anne is more sought after and my guess is you will find yourself on a waiting list there and possibly no offer of a place from the waiting list.

Do you actually have a place at any school? You can't enrol/inscribe unless you have a place, you can ask for your name on a waiting list. Have you been to visit any of the schools yet though?

A choice between Ecole Communale de Stockel and Ecole du Sacré-Coeur de Stockel. Both have great reputations, Ecole Communale de Stockel scores 18 on the socio-economic index, Sacré-Coeur de Stockel scores 19, there is little in it other than choices of para-scolaire, facilities like gym and library, garderie facilities (or lack of), size of school, activities of the Parents' Association.

The most sought after secondaires in WSP / WSL / Etterbeek are Mater Dei, College Don Bosco, Sacré-Coeur de Lindhout, Dames de Marie, St Michel and they are all heavily oversubscribed, meaning you need to choose your nearest primaire and make sure your chosen secondaire is also your nearest (under current admissions which have change little in the past 4 years) in order to maximise your chances of a place. If you live in Etterbeek, getting a place at St Michel is very very hard even if it's your 2nd nearest school, so where you live in relation to primaire and secondaire is essential. In WSP, there are less schools and more chance that you'll find somewhere nearer to desired primaire and secondaire. So do NOT choose a primaire school for definite until you've checked that your new housing will be place this school 1st nearest (2nd nearest will probably be ok in WSP) and that your choice secondaire is 1st nearest (again in WSP 2nd nearest will probably be ok). To give you an example of how essential this is, if you stayed where you are now and enrolled at your 1st nearest primaires which are La Farandole or St Stanislas, getting a place at the nearby sought after secondaires of St Boniface, Sacré-Coeur de Lindhout, Dames de Marie or St Michel will be quite slim, you'd get a place at Jean Absil and maybe Charles Janssens. If you moved to WSP(Stockel) and made sure the 2 Stockel schools were your nearest, you'd have a pretty good chance of a place at the 1st and 2nd nearest secondaires in that area which are likely to be College Don Bosco and Mater Dei.

Ballet Fri 08-Feb-13 09:08:06

I have place in joli bois and for Ecoel communale de stockel,we are first on the waiting list.
we are going to sacre ceur de stockel on 19th feb to inscribe my daughter.
just out of curosity ,DAMEs de MArie is only for girls?? I also see they are open for inscription from feb 18th.I am thinking to see also.
what is your opinion??

natation Fri 08-Feb-13 09:25:23

There are no girls only schools left in Belgium. I think you may be looking at Dames de Marie SECONDARY website, enrolments start for all secondaries 1st year on 18th February. There are 2 Dames de Marie secondaries, one in Woluwe-St-Lambert between Montgomery and Diamant, the other in St-Josse not far from Gare du Nord.

I cannot stress enough though the need to go and look around the schools, consider the garderie times, lunch-time / after-school programmes, Parents' Association involvement, location of the schools.

The advantage of the 2 Stockel schools (3 if you include Don Bosco which is also excellent) is that if you live east and north of them, they will almost definitely be the 1st or 2nd nearest primaires and the 2 best regarded secondaire Mater Dei and College Don Bosco will almost definitely be your 1st or 2nd nearest secondaires.

Ballet Fri 08-Feb-13 10:53:54

Hi Natation,I had a question regarding the books of Mathematics for primary..
my duaghter studied maths in English in primary 2 in Acacia and this year they have adopted belgium school curriculum and maths is in french.
we are not able to help her with it as we have no knowelde about French and she struggled a lot.moreover there is no standard book prescribed in her school.so we are completely clueless...do you have any idea how to help her because we are really worried as to she is going to higher grades now and how she will be coping up with Mathematics in French although her scores are good in every subjects but we want to make her transition more smooth.
please suggest

natation Fri 08-Feb-13 11:35:21

There are 3 big providers of text books for Belgian schools (plus ones used in schools in France which are sometimes used here too)

Here they are with the name of their series of Maths books
Van In - Galaxie Math
Plantyn - Tatou
De Boeck - Maths et Moustique

Our children's school uses Maths et Moustique, one for every primaire year. You could always buy the P3 book and do it at home.
fondamental.deboeck.com/titres/1081_1/maths-moustique-3.html

You can see these "approved books" on the French Community education website and purchase them from Filigranes or other educational bookshop such as A Livre Ouvert in Woluwe-St-Lambert.

www.enseignement.be/index.php?page=25137

www.alivreouvert.be/

There is in my opinion only a major flaw in Acacia and BICS' decision to divide their curriculum along subject lines, instead of doing everything 50/50 like at lycée francais. Is it really wise to leave it until P3 to introduce Maths in French? Why do the school not do Maths in French and English!!!!!

I think you might find things might improve for your daughter's French ability in Maths once she is at a monolingual French school, I really wouldn't fret about it.

I'm a believer that homework should be your child's work and you are there just to oversee they are doing it right without actually doing it for them. I don't therefore help my children very much with their homework and would worry if I had to. All francophone schools have "étude" after school where children can sit and do homework and depending on teacher supervising, they might get some help. There are outside homework clubs too, for those children who need more guidance with homework, when the parents cannot help. Every commune virtually has such a service.

If you have difficulty in understanding Mathematical terms in French, then buy yourself a Maths dictionary. Even a fluent speaker sometimes needs to refer to this! Try this one.
fondamental.deboeck.com/titres/1179_1/leximath.html

natation Fri 08-Feb-13 11:38:52

And this Maths dictionary designed for P1 to P3 Belgian curriculum age.
fondamental.deboeck.com/titres/120486_1/leximath-junior.html

natation Fri 08-Feb-13 12:08:21

According to here, there is an école des Devoirs in the Espace Senghor which will be a few minutes walk from your house. Send your daughter there after school perhaps.
bruxelles.alphabetisation.be/rubrique132.html

CanadianNavyWife Mon 18-Feb-13 20:12:16

Hi there...

I'm going to jump onboard here as I see this is the most recent thread on the topic...

We've been told (although have not officially received our posting message) that we'll be posted to Brussels this summer. I've trying to learn as much as I can prior to the message as I gather we'll have to move pretty fast registering our kids for school. I see, Natation, that you seem to be somewhat of an expert on communes and schools in the city so I thought I would ask your opinion on my choices thus far.

My daughter (7 in 1st Grade) is in a French Immersion program here (Canada has 2 official languages and I too benefited from French Immersion.) and we want her to continue in french (which, lucky for us, is the first language spoken there).
Our son is 3 so he'll pick it up fast.

I'm looking at public schools.

From other posts that I read, I've narrowed desirable areas to live as WSL and WSP. I like that there are parks, arts and rec near by, and that it is close enough to the city without being IN the city. I'm a big walker (and explorer) so we'll be doing alot of that, and biking. My husband will be working at the NATO base in Evere (I think), and hopes to bicycle commute there.

Jean 23 appeals to me as it has a couple philanthropic projects, offers swimming and seems to offer some field tripish activities (as seen in photos). But, I am hesitant about the Catholicism, which seems to be standard throughout the school system.

But, I see here that Joli Bois has extended music/dance/theatre opportunities, which also appeals to me as my DD really enjoys these activities.

I would like to be involved with the school through volunteering, if possible...but mostly I want my kids to be happy and make friends as moving is the hardest on them (esp my little guy).

I am the type of person who will dive in and make the most of the experience. (I grew up NGO and married military.) I am not picky about housing, and would rather find a good selection of schools and work around that.

Do you have any other suggestions for me?

I really appreciate the information that has helped me narrow our move down thus far. Anything else you have to offer is warmly welcomed.

natation Mon 18-Feb-13 21:01:57

Hmmm which Jean 23, as there are 2 of them?

All schools offer swimming in primaire, some only every other week, some every week. I think all the WSP schools do it every week, well all the ones I know.

All schools do field trips too, they are part of school life, both days out and either once and year or once every 2 years residential, from the age of 4 to 12. If you're here only a few years, 1 residential a year is great, if here forever, 1 residential a year is a big financial burden! Nearly all Brussels schools do a 7-12 day ski residential in P5 or P6 too.

No it's not Joli-Bois which does the extended music/theatre/dance, it just happens to be a communal school and in WSP, all 4 communal schools have music academies host the music academy. These are free up to 12 years and ALL children in French schools or living in Brussels can go there. 3 of my children go to Joli-Bois academy and thank god none of them are at the primaire there. In fact most communal schools around here host commune music academies. It's only really handy to have school and music academy in the same place if all parents work late and no-one to take the children there. My 7 year old dances at Joli-Bois music academy, out of 17 in the class, maybe 4 are from the school, there are even 2 girls from BSB, the highly expensive private school in Tervuren.

Philanthropic activities? Again you'll find them in many if not most schools.

I suggest you pm me for a perspective from someone I could perhaps ask whose husband is US navy and lives in Stockel and cycles every day and has a child who went to a local school.

natation Mon 18-Feb-13 21:11:31

PS don't choose a school on what its website looks like. Some excellent schools have no websites. Some not so good schools have excellent websites. There is no correlation between the quality of the websites and the quality of the schools.

The differences in schools lie in size, quality of buildings (don't judge on that, it's not a school's fault it's falling down, schools are underfunded), any extra fees, number of tests, social intake, popularity (anywhere with classes of 20 would worry me, unless it's a blip in a school year and all others are around 25), uniform, emphasis on children learning for themselves with projects (eg our P6 child has had art as the year's theme, a whole week just doing art ateliers and 3 days at the end of the year going to the Loire and Louvre in Paris, 2 years ago the children walked for 5 days and visited Belgian towns on the walk back to school).

CanadianNavyWife Mon 18-Feb-13 22:00:24

Thanks you for your quick response.

Natation, I've been reading through the forums for the last little while and I really appreciate that there are women like you willing to help women like me navigate a major life change. So, thanks.

The Jean 23 is Woluwe, and its appeal is based on their website. I appreciate that I should probably not be going by website alone...but, from way over here it's all I've got. I guess that's why I'm seeking out a veteran's advice.

I'm happy to hear that swimming is part of every school's curriculum, as are field trips. Here we get 1 small field trip/year, and it's entirely PAC (parents assoc) funded (of which I am very involved and hope to continue to be involved in over there). Art, music and drama are also very important to me (and minimally provided in public school here). I'm looking forward to all of the art and culture available to us in Europe. That said, we'll only be there for 3 years...Grades 2-4 for my DD, and up to kindy for my DS.

I will PM you for that US Navy wife's perspective. Since my last post I have read that Stockel is also a good school, but I do realize that most of the good ones will probably be waitlisted by now.

Also, as a 'rural type' but happy for the adventure of living in a big city provided we have a bit of a garden, do you think that WSW and WSP are good choices? As I mentioned, I will be doing quite a bit of wandering, and enjoy people watching, architecture and cafes, but I don't want to live too far out of the hub and out in the suburbs.

Thanks again.

natation Mon 18-Feb-13 22:20:32

WSL and WSP has a high number of children from families which locate here for only a few years, so that has the advantage that in fact the turnover in some of the schools is positive for those arriving! Depends on which school, as some have hardly any of these families, so very few openings after the first class. In this category in WSP you'll find 2 : Notre Dame des Graces and Mater Dei. In the category of much movement and a good amount of international families in WSP, you have Joli-Bois, Stockel and Chant d'Oiseau communals, SC de Stockel, Jean 23 (Parmentier). In the category of less popular with locals of commune you'll find Centre communal, Jean 23 (Woluwe) and Crommelynck - don't ask me why these 3, no idea, but they have much different socio-economic to the other 7 fondamentales/primaires in the commune. Centre you have to rule out immediately as it does Dutch immersion for several school years, designed for mother tongue French children. Crommelynck I'd rule out, too many reasons to say here.

As for WSL, you could possibly categorize the schools in a similar manner. I'd go for Parc Malou, Vervloesem, du Bonheur, SC de Lindhout, St Henri, as schools with a good international mix. Parc Schuman and AR WSL to put into the avoid category. Singelijn too as a great international mix. HOWEVER you have top-up fees, school lunches more expense than elsewhere, no maternelle swimming at all. Swimming only every 2 weeks. No lunch time parascolaire, only after school which is unusual and 2.5 times the price of other schools. Add on at least 1.5k per child on costs there. Educational standard identical to schools like Parc Malou, SC de Lindhout etc.

natation Mon 18-Feb-13 22:54:35

PS you won't find much music/art/drama in the primaire school curriculum, whereas the maternelle curriculum is play based. You find the music/art/drama at the local music and art academies, starting at age 5, there are paying private ones too. It's the same for sport, little sporting matches organised against other schools, although sport is part of the obligatory curriculum, it's for it's non competitive reasons. A few exceptions. You sign up again for sport elsewhere, it's nearly always very cheap. There is no school on Wednesday afternoons, a traditional time to do sport/art/music. You won't be short of after-school activities, that's for sure.

Architecture and WSP??? Well there are a few pockets of interesting buildings such as bibliotheque Wicktochia? and Palais Stocklet, for the heights of Belgian architechture, you'll have to go to St Gilles! It's not far, 30 minutes away on the tram.

Ballet Wed 20-Feb-13 09:11:22

HI Natation,yesterday we inscribed my daughter in sacre ceur de stockel for primary 4 2013-2014.we liked the school and teachers were also very nice and warm.
somehow we felt that Garderie was very small room size....what is you opinion??
since we have got a place in this school,we are not sure if we should go and give a try to others school such as :ecole Frandole ..
we are confused.

Ballet Wed 20-Feb-13 10:13:07

how to enroll my daughter in music academy,Ecole de joli bois?

natation Wed 20-Feb-13 10:18:05

The garderie at SC de Stockel, compared to other schools where they have to use classrooms or the dining hall, is actually very fortunate in having 3 rooms separate from the school : one main room which has tables for the children to eat their breakfast/afternoon snacks and then later to do little bricolage, the other side of the room has space for putting out toys, then there is the IT room and multi-use technology/cooking room which some children go in to. The garderie has its own toilet, the door opens onto the bigger of the 2 playgrounds.

Definitely go and look at other schools too. I believe école communale de Stockel has only the dining room for garderie, so don't expect more than that. As I said, if you cannot decide area, then choose a couple of areas, also if you cannot decide on school, then enrol in a couple.

natation Wed 20-Feb-13 10:23:02

There are 3 francophone music academy bases in WSP, école du Chant d'Oiseau, école du Centre and also école de Joli-Bois. You sign up for an entire year, it's the same at every single music academy. You sign up in June, you'll see the days on the music academy's website. If there is still space at the beginning of September, then you sign up at école du Centre for either of the 3 WSP centres, as that is where the main secretariat is.

Etterbeek also has a music academy, based at AR Jean Absil but some courses also at Colombe de la Paix.

WSL's music academy has its main site near Montgomery roundabout, but again many courses in schools in the commune too.

There is also and Arts academy in WSP, part based at école du Centre, another part at les Venelles.

Here is the website for WSP music academy.
www.woluwe1150.be/musique/index.html

f1977 Mon 25-Feb-13 14:08:17

Dear Ballet,
Can I ask you more on the Acacia school your daughter is going to?
Was it a good school? We are going to visit it for the maternelle (only actually) and would appreciate to have some feedback...
Thanks a lot!

natation Mon 25-Feb-13 17:21:41

I have quite a few contacts whose children have or currently still are at Acacia. I'd say it's great for :
children who cannot find places in local maternelles because they are too late in applying;
children whose parents are not at all at ease with the thought (often wrong) that they will not be able to communicate with a local French school - with more than 250 parents on the contact list who are indeed able to communicate at local French schools, if you choose wisely, this need not be the case;
children in Belgium for a short period, such as 1-3 years, or unsure how long they'll be there;
children who'll be going off to European school for primaire and they will be doing English and French as first / second languages and especially if they currently have no exposure to English;
children whose parents can afford the fees!

If you don't speak English or French at home and are wishing for mother tongue fluency in French and English in a short period, I think this goal might be unrealistic. If you speak English but don't speak French at home and are wishing for mother tongue fluency in French as the main goal, I'd say look first at the local system. Out of the private schools offering French/English and if you're looking at a good fluency in French, then enrol at the lycée Francais ASAP.

Well I'd say overall, the contacts I know are quite happy with the school. They should be paying me commission!!!

f1977 Mon 25-Feb-13 22:42:57

thanks!!!

the program looks great and I am happy to read your contacts are happy with the school because it's quite an investment! (wow it's really expensive: we've just been at the presentation of the school)
we do not know if/where we would move, but the fact they teach EN too is a big advantage for whichever school will follow.

we were a bit frightened by the catholic context, even though at maternelle it does not look to be an oppressive presence...and it seems they do so much that it looks like a very nice school.

thank you for your quick reply!

natation Mon 25-Feb-13 23:27:42

They do NOT however teach English or French in maternelle, the children acquire the language through oral immersion. Here is the biggest possible downside, if you are putting your child there to learn English or French or both. In the local French schools, so long as you choose the right school, either the majority of children in the class speak French as mother tongue, or there is a mix of mother tongue French speakers and a nice even mix of mother tongue languages amongst the "others" so that French becomes the sole language spoken in the classroom and also mainly in the playground too. At Acacia and other schools with a similar intake, eg BICS, some of the Montessoris, you will find mother tongue French speakers in a great minority, maybe the English speakers too, you might find the majority of the children speak neither French nor English. The result might mean a child with neither English nor French may not achieve a high level of fluency, simply because they haven't enough exposure to both of these language, a child with English and no French, may again end up with less fluency in French than the parents expect.

If you're in Brussels long term and speak neither French nor English at home, consider in fact monolingual English then swapping to monolingual French or vice versa. Doing 2 years in English aged 2-4 followed by local French school might achieve a higher level of fluency in both languages. It's easy to keep up English in Brussels, if at a French school. I know a little girl who spent 2 years learning English, has now swapped to French, she achieve mother tongue level English and expect her to achieve mother tongue French after her current year in French maternelle, another language at home. I don't think 3 years in a bilingual school would have given her mother tongue level of French and English.

So just think seriously about it. Ask in advance how many French and how many English and how many are neither. If you end up with 2 English, 2 French, 20 neither, well that may really not be good, if you end up with 10 French, 10 English, 5 neither, that might be better.

Also do be careful when parents say their children are fluent in a language. I've met "fluent" children who I'd say are barely in reality competent orally.

PS the maternelle at the lycee francais is cheaper than both Acacia and BICS and if you're English speaking at home, the classes are predominently French speaking children who are places there to become fluent in English or German, for the English speaker, I'd expect them to reach mother tongue fluency in French far quicker than the French children reach mother tongue fluency in English. They also have a teacher AND a teaching assistant in the classes at least in petite section - ask the poster on another thread who has their children there.

f1977 Tue 26-Feb-13 11:21:03

Dear Natation...actually, I do have another question, do you think it's possible I can pose direct questions to your contacts?
In fact, we are both italian and our eldest is fluent in French (impressively, considering she has started to talk -both Italian and French- when she was 27 months...she is now 4) while the youngest, who just turned 2, understands perfectly both, but does not really talk yet. Because of possible moving and quite some other reasons, we thought of Ecole européenne & Lycée français for primary schools. Then, at the moment Ecole Europeenne is not an option, being in Laken...and Lycée français not yet feasible in the pre-school as too far and we just do not want to put them on the bus yet.
In that perspective introducing already English is ideal for us. At the same time we would like to be re-assured that the school is worthy both the money and the fact we (my husband in fact) accept the real catholic imprinting. As I said, in the explanation and pedagogy etc it seems really focusing on each little one development, with a positive attention to the others. The immersion FR/EN seems nice to expose them to the other language regularly by doing some activities. The area we live in is not especially nice for schools and I am too much concerned about the fact pre-school is a place to play with the aim to learn/be prepared to learn more...as in many choices to be done for our kids: responsibility feeling is really difficult to cope with!!

And already big, huge thank you for all your explanations and great input!! Your remarks on the languages was really much appreciated!

Have a nice day

natation Tue 26-Feb-13 15:43:01

You'll have to join BCT for access to the contacts, unless they come on here.

If your daughter is already fluent in French, really fluent in that she speaks spontaneously and with fluidity, then personally if your motivation for placing your child in Acacia is to learn English, then you should really think about a monolingual English school for a couple of years. Where does your daughter get her French from? Are you already in Brussels? You can easily keep up French in Brussels and still attend an English school. It depends on your budget though. You could consider BSB, if you are on a "low" income, you could get the 4-5 class for as little as €15k (30% reduction) or other English schools do it for around that price nearer to Brussels centre. Acacia is only 6k so a big difference.

Do check at Acacia that the English teacher is QUALIFIED and I'd actually ask for the person's name and what qualification and do an internet search and also that they are MOTHER TONGUE English. I know they employ at least in maternelle non qualified teachers and in primaire non mother tongue English teachers. Having said that, these have not actually been big issues. I don't have any dissatisfied Acacia parents that I am aware of. The same cannot be said of other private schools.

In the end, if you feel Acacia is right, it probably is! We are all looking for different things as parents, all schools are different and all parents are different and all children are different. You have to look at "best fit" not "best school".

oldwomaninashoe4 Wed 27-Feb-13 12:06:39

Sorry to barge in on thsi thread but I am hoping to cash in on your local knowledge of brussels schools. I am moving to brussels in July with 4 kids and the older 3 will hopefully be going to teh european school in Uccle and we are trying to rent a house between uccle/south Ixelles between the school and Schman area. However I have a 3 year old who will need to be enrolled in a local Maternelle from September 2013. i got a list from the Uccle Council website but dont know where to start as have no idea about where is good and which ones are close to the european school. i am only learning french so dont even feel confident phoning them up. Any suggestions of good maternelles in this area would be much appreciated.

Also nanation would you mind putting me on the private brussels mums list as i see that was mentioned before but i cant find where it is - perhaps it is a private group.

thanks

natation Wed 27-Feb-13 17:26:46

Are you very confident of places in EEB1 ? I am assuming they are going in to the English section. I'm only asking as new children into English are unlikely to get places unless there is a connection such as parent teaching there.

There are about 30 Uccle schools, the Uccle commune website only lists the schools they control.

As so many schools did their enrolments months ago, getting ANY PLACE IN UCCLE will be your main challenge, not a place in a nice school. Your only choice is to phone them all up.

You might just be better off looking in an area with more chance of a maternelle place and using the school buses for EEB1.

You need to pm longtimeinbrussels to be put on the mailing list for the private mumsnetters group, or if you want to be in the facebook group, send me a pm, befriend me on facebook and I'll add you.

Longtime Thu 28-Feb-13 21:34:02

Are you sure she'd even get a place at Absil, natation? We used our priority for dd but there were people who wanted a place that didn't get in.

natation Thu 28-Feb-13 22:12:54

I don't remember anyone in this thread looking for a place at Jean Absil, you'll have to point me there. I think at the end of the thread, only people looking for maternelle and primaire places.

With primaire priorité disappearing next year for 1st secondaire enrolments, it will open up place to more children living near any popular secondaire and also going to nearby primaires. Mater Dei on previous history, according to the secretary, has about 75% of places taken by priorité children, leaving a bit under 40 places for those not with siblings/at the primaire/teachers' children, that percentage will go down hopefully next year when the 75 children at Mater Dei primaire no longer get potential priority (in fact only 50 qualify this year), unless they get priority under a different category.

Longtime Fri 01-Mar-13 20:45:20

Sorry, natation, that was me replying to something much further up, I just didn't realise how much further the thread went on. You said something along the lines of being really difficult to get into St Michel, Sacré Coeur de Lindthout ... but that they would get a place at Absil. I was just saying that that is not a given.

natation Fri 01-Mar-13 21:05:53

Jean Absil would give that child max index, if the child went to the nearest primaire, none of the other secondaire schools around there which are also sought after would give max index, I know where she lives, now that primaire priorité is gone, those on the max index are likely to get places and Jean Absil being the only sought after school which also gives a max index if combined with nearest primaire, so it would be the best choice for simply maximising chances at secondarie. The head at SC de Lindhout admitted to the parent of a priority child that there is every chance all their places in 1ere commune will be filled for September 2013 by priority children, the same might happen at St Michel too, if the number of classes is 12 or less this year. From next year with the dropping of primaire priorité, it will be far easier for non priority children to get places.

umomar Mon 19-Aug-13 20:58:56

Hi here
i am living in woluwe saint lambert (wsl) i would like to change my children school
i have choices between (colloege don bosco) and ( institut de l'angelus)

could you please help me.....
thank you

runningmad Mon 19-Aug-13 21:15:17

neither are near each other. Where do you live? And where are you changing from?

morita13 Wed 18-Dec-13 14:58:02

Hi Natation, any advice about jean xxiii wouluwe? We just arrived to Brussels and we found a spot there. We live in WSPO and we will try to get a spot at Matter Dei, but I have heard they have no opennings rather than for 2 1/2. My kids are 4 and 2 and half. So I am a littel bit confused... I would apreciate any piece of advice. Thanks

runningmad Wed 18-Dec-13 16:52:18

Morita13, what are your nearest schools?

manyokati Thu 02-Jan-14 14:03:22

Can I just ask why you would rule out Crommelynck? I am really curious about this. We moved to Brussels at the end of October and we were happy that our oldest daughter has been accepted to 3eme maternelle in Crommelynck (we did not do much research about maternelles). She started there beginning of November and I read in many discussions on the net that Crommelynck is not so popular among parents but I do not know why? We do not have much impression about the school yet and we should be selecting a primaire for her daughter soon (I do not know when the enrolments are). For us, Ecole Joli-Bois is just as far as Crommelynck, we live just halfway between them. And our 2nd daughter has also been accepted to Crommelynck accueil to start in March. So I have no idea what to do now. Can you give me any hints/suggestions/your opinion on this? Thanks very much in advance!

runningmad Thu 02-Jan-14 15:23:12

Are you planning on staying long term in Brussels?
I'd be personally happy with Crommelynck and I walked around the maternelle recently and did like the atmosphere. But however for primaire, there are many internat children, not many at all who live around the school. Many expat children who leave at this point.

The problem is you have Mater Dei there which is without doubt the most popular school in the area, but also not a school for those who are not ok with their ethos to push the children quite hard even in primaire, so it's not a school for everyone.

Ecole Joli-Bois, well, mmmm, it really depends on your linguistic background, whether you like larger schools, whether the music academy straight after school is a pull, whether you prefer one school at Crommelynck or 2 schools at Joli-Bois as primaire and maternelle or separate. Plus the Action Sport para-scolaire at Crommelynck is as cheap as you'll get, also their hot meals are cheaper than other schools.

It would really depend on what you're looking for in a school.

If you're happy with Crommelynck, don't move.

morita13 Thu 02-Jan-14 22:08:15

Hi runningmad, my nearest school is Jolie Bois, second Matter dei and sacre coeur de stockel is also close (2 minutes by bus). I am interested in good acdemic level and good chances to get in the really good secondary schools (Matter dei, St Michelle, sacre Coeur de Lindhout), any advice? I would apreciate any advice . Thanks

runningmad Thu 02-Jan-14 22:27:10

From where you live, you will not get a place at Sacré-Coeur de Lindhout or St Michel under the current system so you can instead concentrate on the schools nearer to home like Mater Dei and College Don Bosco.

If Sacré-Coeur de Stockel is nearer than Crommelynck and as near as Mater Dei, I'd be looking there. If you like the idea of by primaire your children being tested and pushed, then Mater Dei is better for you. All the schools in your area, Crommelynck, Joli-Bois, Mater Dei and Sacré-Coeur de Stockel, they're all your nearest or 2nd nearest primaire of type, Mater Dei will be your nearest Catholic secondaire, you'll get a place 99% certain at Mater Dei, 95% certain at College Don Bosco, that is under current secondaire enrolments.

You will have to hurry for Mater Dei, their enrolments for primaire and maternelle I think are next week by phone and very strict, if you phone late, no chance of a place. Sacré-Coeur de Stockel is also completely full in maternelle at the moment, actually more children there per class than Mater Dei, but more movement too as more international children, still you need to be prompt and enrol quickly as there may already be a waiting list for next year's P1 class and M1? class.

morita13 Fri 03-Jan-14 11:24:10

Hi runningmad thanks for your answer. So you mean that living in WSP does not allow me to send my kids to St Michel or SCLindhout in Secondary??? Matter Dei is amongst our preferences as well. My question is if I send my kids to Sacre Coeur de Stockel and asumming I do not get a spot in Mater dei for primary, do I still have chances to get into Mater Dei in Secondary? We recently arrived here so I have no knowledge of how the system works...
My kids are M1 and M3, and I have heard that in Matter Dei you can only get a place in M1, is that true?
Anothe question is WSP a good place to live as far as schooling concerns?
Any idea about Jean XXIII Woulowe.
Thank you very much indeed!!

runningmad Sat 04-Jan-14 11:40:46

It's not where you live that matters, it's the order of geographical proximity to schools. So if your nearest Catholic secondaire is 40kms away, you are same place on the list as someone whose nearest Catholic secondaire is 10m away.

Where you live in WSP, it places St Michel and SC de Lindhout way down on the list of proximty, too far down to get a place. Where you live in WSP, Mater Dei is your nearest Catholic secondaire, so as long as you attend your nearest primaire or 2nd nearest, you'll get a place at Mater Dei for secondaire. Why would you want to go to St Michel anyway from WSP? Why pass many comparable schools to travel further?

Your kids get a place at Mater Dei maternelle and primaire IF THERE ARE PLACES, as I said, follow the enrolment instructions on the websites and phone up on the days specified and ask.

Jean 23 is fine, but if looking for slightly more relaxed but still academic, you would want to look at College Don Bosco which is nearer.

morita13 Sat 04-Jan-14 16:47:59

Thank you very much for your explanation runningmad!
Now I get the idea a little better! And thks for pointing Crommelynk which I did not know!

manyokati Sun 05-Jan-14 20:53:45

Runningmad, thank you for your answer.
The thing is that right now we are happy at Crommelynck (only spent about 5 weeks there, not such a long time so no comparison with other schools) but I just keep reading all those negative comments about the school and it made me a bit suspicious whether we should look for another school. We were told by a friend that Jolie Bois is a good school giving stronger basic education than Crommelynck. Is that true?
Our daughter just started maternelle 2 months ago, so her French is quite poor at the moment but I was told by Mme Delvaux, the directrice, that she will be fine by September. So why did you ask about our linguistic background? And we are planning for staying longer, not just 1-2 years, so shall we consider about secondaire now? Music would be a pull for Jolie Bois, but also sports is very important, our girl loves that. I do not mind larger schools (you meant Crommelynck?).
Oh, about enrolments, I am really confused now and I was looking at the home page of Jolie Bois and could not find anything about that. Is it true that they start tomorrow and I should be phoning them as soon as possible if we want a place there? And what about Crommelynck? I have no idea, my French is not the best.
Thanks for answering.

morita13 Sun 05-Jan-14 21:10:19

Hi Runningmad again! Just a piece of advice on your experience, any suggestion between Crommelnyck and Jolie Bois regardin the academic background and type of education they provide? Thanks again!

runningmad Sun 05-Jan-14 22:12:18

All schools teach the same curriculum. However, you'll find the children at Joli-Bois are on average from better off backgrounds, most are from the near area, though quite a few get off the 36 bus each day who get on at Stockel metro, then travel far to get there, they are from I'd say poorer backgrounds. Crommelynk primaire has quite a high percentage of boarding house children who are again from poorer backgrounds, but not all. Ask if you can have the average mark for CEB for the past 3 years and the percentage of those who passed, if you want to compare academics. But if your child is clever, it really won't matter which school so much for them as it might for the parents!

If you're after a sizeable English speaking population, for social life outside school, you won't find it at either primaire, but will at the maternelle of Joli-Bois. If you're not English speaking at home, you might want to find some children who speak the same language at a school, it really can be good, so long as it's not 40% of the school population!!!

I don't think either Joli-Bois or Crommelynck have set enrolment days, they don't fill their primaire classes so it's not necessary. However, Mater Dei will have a waiting list, for that school it is essential.For the maternelle, you need to phone tomorrow 02/762.12.35 from 9am. Cannot see details on the primaire website, ask the maternelle. If you don't phone tomorrow, little chance you'll get a place for the younger one.

Maymay2009 Sun 27-Apr-14 15:58:59

Please help!any information about parc shuman or princesse paola school in woluwe St. Lambert?

Maymay2009 Sun 27-Apr-14 16:06:57

Antique fo about parc shuman school or princesse paola in woluwe St Lambert?

cannotseeanend Sun 27-Apr-14 16:36:42

Nearest should be best

szizso Thu 19-Jun-14 21:48:09

Dear Manyokati!

We are considering to enrol our daughter to the first year maternelle of Crommelynck. After some months of experience there, would you recommend the school? Are the teachers helpful and friendly; the activities various and your children happy there?
And is the infrastructure Ok?

I will call the school tomorrow to find out, whether they would have a place and would like to visit afterwards.

Thank you in advance!!!
szizso

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