Affordable bilingual school in/around Paris?(7 Posts)
I'm looking for a good bilingual school for my children (3 and 8yo) that isn't more than 15000/child. We moved from Washington DC precipitously a few months ago and put my older child at EAB, but I was wondering what your opinions were on EAB compared to other schools! The children have both nationalities and I would like them to become fully bilingual.
I like the Ecole Internationale Malherbe, especially because they have a Montessori approach for the younger kids, but I have heard that the IPC curriculum, which they implement for the older kids, is quite generally criticized.
Are there any other affordable options?
Academically, which school would you prefer?
Thank you so much!
Hi there. I think that EaB has the better reputation academically, and most of the teachers there are rated highly by parents. Which site are you at? We have a mum here who is very versed with EaB so can say much more.
I think EaB probably has the edge over Malherbe and definitely has the edge over many of the other bilingual private schools in the western suburbs. However for very strong academics and low fees you might want to consider the sections internationales schools such as Lycée International in St Germain or the Sections Internationales de Sevres (plus a couple of other options towards the south... depending on where you live). These are state schools where the anglophone part of the programme is delivered privately, they are very highly rated but your kids will need to be quite resilient and able to handle the French pedagogical style -- definitely not everyone's cup of tea.
I am sure you will get more useful comments very soon,
Thank you for your assessment, Unobtanium! My son is in EAB Victor Hugo right now and we are happy with the Cambridge curriculum they use. Frankly it is more advanced than the well-regarded American public school he used to go to! We just thought it would be better for us to live in the suburbs instead of cooped up all week in the 15eme.
I looked at the Section Internationale de Sevres you mentioned. Geographically it is a good choice for us because DH's work is in the 15eme arrondissement and he will have direct train access.
My son has ADHD. In practice, it can make him excruciatingly slow and inattentive when the subject does not interest him (which is most of the time); but becomes highly participative and productive when it does. He manages to get good marks during tests whether he listened to the lesson or not, so for now we see this as more of an attention, not academic, issue.
Can you or someone else tell me a little more about the differences in style between French and English pedagogy? So far, teachers in the US and at EAB have been accommodating and nurturing towards him. Would my son's behavior be more problematic in a French setting?
Thank you so much for your advice.
Yes yes yes, your son would "present a problem" to French teachers and he would probably get forgotten in a corner or you will be hauled in and sent to the doctors for pills!
Sorry but I did not realise you were currently at Victor Hugo (rather than Monceau or Lamartine), nor that your son had special needs (however mild).
I'm afraid that no French state school could really accommodate ADHD the way you would like. That rules out Sections Internationales, either Sevres or anywhere else. They are looking for academic types that slot neatly into their "round holes". There have been whole books written about the French style of teaching but let's just say it's less nurturing, sports and extra-curricular are very limited, and it still relies a lot on rote learning in the younger years, accumulating knowledge and rigour in the later years. Kids learn to expect very little praise for doing well but their shortcomings will be pointed out very quickly. That's a gross generalisation but everyone I know here would reluctantly agree (while perhaps pointing out the lovely exceptional teachers they have encountered in the French system along the way).
I am wondering whether Forest International might be right for your boy -- is he the younger one? If he is the older one Forest won't work as it is only primary. But he'll get no French there... sigh.
You may want to look at the ongoing discussion on the Vesinet thread, talking about Malherbe amongst other schools. I know of no specific complaints about IPC but am surprised to hear Malherbe does that, thought they did a fusion of ENC/US/French as much as possible. Which probably comes down to IPC plus French, may be not much in it.
Have you tried looking at the Good Schools Guide International (some of their articles are free, they cover Paris), or popping onto messageparis (subscription but very very useful).
Quick post. Agree with most of unobtainium's points about the sous-contrat schools: all massively oversubscribed and all too easy for them to turn down kids with SEN. A couple of suggestions for schools to look into, however: the new Montessori in Maisons-Lafitte (currently only does 3-6 but the 6-12 section opens in September), the Montessori in Les Clayes sous Bois (goes through to Lycée) or you could try talking to Institut Notre Dame in Saint Germain en Laye (French sous-contrat, kids can have 3 hours of bilingual English per week in primaire, more accepting of SEN than most French schools). Can't advise much more than that but might give you some more things to look into.
Sainte Thérèse in Bougival also has good rep for SEN but it's a purely French school.
Super suggestion about the new Montessori in Maisons-Laffitte, I am hearing very good things from parents incredibly relieved to have found an alternative to the main bilingual school here (which is rife with problems).
IND in St Germain is known to be very academic, I know kids there. A very good school but lots of pressure and hard work, though as BD says they are more open to different learning styles than most French schools.
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