Paris: bilingual primary schools (EAB-Monceau)

(22 Posts)
MunchkinMom Fri 04-Dec-09 14:09:20

My family and I moved to Paris this past summer and we are not happy with the school we chose for our 2 daughters this year. We did not consider a bilingual school when we first moved but are reconsidering. Our girls are currently not getting enough french and the curriculum is lacking so I am on a mission to get it right next year, maybe even in Jan. for our eldest. I have already visited several schools and am visiting EAB Monceau next week. We want to give our children the gift of a second language but are a bit nervous since neither my husband nor myself speak french.

I actually have many goes....

How stressful is it for the children in the immersion program at EAB? We do not know how many years we'll be here but are guessing 2 more school years.

Are we crazy to not be consistent with an American curriculum if they end up back in that system later?

I am curious of you opinions regarding moving an anglophone child mid-year. We hate to waste the rest of the year for our 9 year old but don't want to stress her too much. My other daughter, age 6, is doing very well and has a good teacher so we will leave her where she is until year end.

Also, will it be a problem that neither my husband nor myself speak french? How much homework will they have where they need someone who speaks/reads/writes french to help them?

Help!!!! Please!!!!

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frakkinaroundthechristmastree Fri 04-Dec-09 14:17:37

I just replied on your other thread recommending that you put this here!

The person you want is Bonsoir

Bonsoir Sat 05-Dec-09 16:15:02

Hi smile

My DD is in grande section at EaB Monceau. She has been there since the beginning of petite section. She is one of the lucky ones as we are a bilingual French-English family.

I know plenty of American/British/Australian families in your position and I (or the Parents Association of the school) can easily put you in touch with families with a similar profile to yours to explain everything. The school will also explain it all to you. Go and see them and definitely ask to be put in touch with other families so that you should get the full range of opinions.

IMVHO it is perfectly doable, but hard work for you and the children. The school is lovely and the immersion classes are particularly small and friendly.

MrsSchadenfreude Sat 05-Dec-09 22:06:48

Which school are your children in now? <<asks nervously, stressing.>>

I walk past EAB Lamartine every morning and the children all look like Little Lord Fauntleroy. And I go past when they are arriving and have NEVER heard any child/parent speaking English - how bilingual are these schools?

Monceau and EABJM have a better reputation, I think, than Lamartine.

Bonsoir Sun 06-Dec-09 09:58:10

LOL at Little Lord Fauntleroy.

But you know, Lamartine is in the 16ème arrondissement. When in Rome...

MrsSchadenfreude Sun 06-Dec-09 17:39:58

YY - I now live ver' near Parc Monceau.

Bonsoir Sun 06-Dec-09 19:00:56

Maybe our paths will cross unbeknownst in the greengrocer's or fishmonger's in rue Poncelet...


MrsSchadenfreude Mon 07-Dec-09 09:26:49

Yes, if you see a fat, badly dressed ginger woman speaking atrocious French, that will be me. grin

MrsSchadenfreude Mon 07-Dec-09 09:28:19

Munchkinmum - where are your girls? Have you looked at ISP, if you don't go down the bilingual route?

shophappy Mon 07-Dec-09 12:08:00

MrsS - my children go to EAB Lamartine - and it is true re Little Lord Fauntleroy but there are a few 'normal' children there too! There is a good number of Anglophone children at the school (my guess is around 30%)- it is true French is the stronger language - because many are like us - Anglo/French couples who can each speak either language, and therefore converse with most of the staff in French. (Worth noting also - there are no immersion classes like at Monceau, so most of the children already have some foundation in French, unless very young.)

It may be less anglophone than Monceau, but from my perspective that is no bad thing as it strengthens the French of my English mother tongue children! It is a very warm and welcoming school - being so small it is very easy to get to know everyone and all the staff (teachers and support) know all of the children by name (even if they are not in their class), which i find quite lovely.

MrsSchadenfreude Mon 07-Dec-09 13:03:36

Thanks, Shophappy, that's useful. Will look out for the normal children!

Bonsoir Mon 07-Dec-09 18:24:01

I'd better hurry up - within a year you'll be svelte, chic and will speak impeccable French... wink

MunchkinMom Wed 09-Dec-09 16:58:57

I visited EAB-Monceau this least met with the Assistant Headmistress. I am scheduling a tour for the near future. I was quite impressed and am very excited about the possibility of giving our girls a second language.

We are currently at ISP. (I say this very hesitantly as I don't want to bash the school.) In my original post I said I had concerns about the curriculum. I've found out more about it and am feeling better about what and how they are learning. It is just quite different than traditional learning. Which is right? Who knows?? I'm really torn because my girls are very happy there but I still have concerns about the lack of structure. I think it's a great program if you can make it through the entire system but I worry about us only being here a few more years and how they will transfer to another school. This is true for any school knowing that we will not be here for the long-haul. Is it worth moving them for them to acquire a second language?

The third option we are considering is Marymount because it is familiar, comfortable and very American. But, we really want to take advantage of living in France so why go to an American school just b/c it will be an easy transition back when we go home? With that said, it's scary to put our girls in a bilingual program knowing they are going to have frustration. Especially since neither my husband nor I speak french. We want to want to send them to the bilingual school but are nervous of the unknown. Ultimately, we want them to be happy, learn tons and love learning.

Please help!!!

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MunchkinMom Thu 10-Dec-09 11:37:47

Here is how we are today in the decision process....we seem to change our minds every other day... 2 days ago we were leaning toward EAB-Monceau, now we're leaning toward Marymount.

Here's why we can't decide:
Do we choose a second language or familiarity and a house? Our kids (and I) really miss having our own garden and a place to play outdoors at any time w/o having to go to a public park. My husband and I also want to take advantage of the opportunity to learn a second language. We are expats and don't know where we'll be next so are we asking too much of the girls to put them in a bilingual school since we already move them around?

I am going NUTS trying to figure this out. I have to get it right this time and feel settled.

I want my cake and eat it too!! I truly need everyone to give me their opinions. Thanks for your help!!!

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Portofino Thu 10-Dec-09 13:34:25

I would say it depends on how long you are planning to stay. If only a couple of years I would go for an expat option so that they can adjust more easily when you move/go home. And book the entire family up for French lessons.

pinkhousesarebest Thu 10-Dec-09 16:52:16

Also Marymount have streamed classes for French, from total beginners to bilingual classes within each yeargroup, and they are very well structured. They will have an hour of French a day, and they do learn quickly.

Portofino Thu 10-Dec-09 19:28:08

Oh and PS a garden every time! We lived in an apartment for 2 years when we first moved to Brussels. DD was only small when we moved. After 2 years it drove me mad. Going to the park to be outside was a right pain and a major expedition. Being able to just open the patio doors and put up the paddling pool / kids all out front on their contest for me.

MunchkinMom Thu 10-Dec-09 21:03:09

Unfortunately, we don't know how long we're here. It could be 1 more year, it could be 4. Probably no more than 4. Do you think they can really pick up french at Marymount?

Also, if we choose Marymount, we'll want to live in a house. What areas are recommended?

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MrsSchadenfreude Fri 11-Dec-09 13:03:43

We loved Marymount, it was my first choice, but I got outvoted and mine are going to ASP (we are British - long story why American education, not for sharing here). I have recently done the rounds of all the international schools, so if you want to meet up for a coffee or a glass of wine, please CAT me. I am living in the 17th and working in the 16th. My two also spent a few years in another international school in Brussels - I don't think you will get "bilingual" out of an international school - depending on the school, you will get either a really good standard of the second language, or virtually none.

If you can afford it, go for a house in Neuilly. Or maybe Levallois?

pinkhousesarebest Fri 11-Dec-09 16:57:24

I taught in Marymount, and lived in Levallois. It was very quiet, but suited us fine, and had great facilities for children. A lot of Marymount children come by school bus, so you could check that out. A lot lived in Neuilly, and in the 17th.

The French department is very strong, and children with a bit of application fairly whizz through the system.

frakkinaroundthechristmastree Fri 11-Dec-09 17:23:35

I would not recommend ISP for primary - they, IMO, are not a good example of how to implement the PYP. I suspect your concerns are well founded if your children will not be staying the course in the international system.

MunchkinMom Fri 11-Dec-09 17:30:39

My family and I are going on a drive tomorrow in the areas surrounding Neuilly and will definitely drive around Levallois & Neuilly. Any other suggestions for our outing?

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