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ecole joli bois in Brussels

(81 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??

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 we are completely 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.

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.

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.

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

And this Maths dictionary designed for P1 to P3 Belgian curriculum age.

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.

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.

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


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 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.


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.

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