Our Elementary class, located in one of the most beautiful rooms in the American Church, offers a bilingual education based on Montessori pedagogy and traditional teaching approaches. The multi age set up allows the teachers to take into consideration the pedagogical needs of each child while respecting the official expectations of the Ministry of Education.
Our pedagogical goals are to:
- Ensure that the child acquires the knowledge and skills specified by the national education system for the fundamental learning cycle (cycle 2) and the consolidation cycle (cycle 3).
- Help the children become educated, autonomous, curious and civic-minded children who will become confident, happy and self-actualising young adults.
- Enrich linguistic communication through immersion in a fully bilingual environment.
The child centres pedagogical project, also determines how:
- The class will work on a daily basis;
- The children can improve their ability to question and develop through practical activities.
The National Education curriculum and objectives are at the heart of the Elementary class project.
- The programme is structured around several major areas of learning such as language, reading and writing, art, questioning the world, mathematics, music education, history and geography and science and technology.
The teachers use a variety of carefully selected teaching practices (traditional and Montessori approaches) to ensure that children:
- Achieve their potential in a bilingual, stimulating and caring environment.
- Are ideally prepared for their next step in the national or international education system.
- Are culturally and humanly enriched.
A Positive & Personalized Education
Students develop their independence and acquire new knowledge through access to innovative learning materials. The teachers make “presentations” to teach children abstract concepts using tangible materials. A calm and safe learning environment ensures that students feel safe comfortable and confident.
Children do not all do the same work at the same time and each one is able to progress at their own pace. The aim is to respect the needs and interests of each child and allow them to be in control of their own learning. The teaching staff guide and encourage the child. Individual success is valued and commended.
Assurance of Learning
The children participate in two challenge weeks per year where they complete different evaluations to verify that they are have retained the skills and knowledge that the national education system expects of children at their level. During the same week they participate in practical challenges such the Lego challenge, the sport challenge and the creativity challenge (art, theatre or music related).
The first challenge week takes place in September, which allows the teachers to have a formal vision of the child’s abilities in line with the national education expectations and also through their observations of the child in class.
The teachers draw up a pedagogical project detailing the child's programme for the year and any proposed adjustments to their learning.
The pupil's progress is then carefully monitored by the teachers who plan presentations for the pupil in line with their pedagogical project. They monitor the child's progress during the year to identify if there are any adjustments to be made. Two annual school reports in line with national education expectations also allow the families to see how their child is performing and if they have surpassed the learning objectives outlined by the national education system.
The teachers introduce different techniques throughout the year to help children learn important skills that will serve them well in their future education. These approaches are introduced in such a way that the children do not feel under pressure to perform but enjoy rising to the challenge and fulfilling their capacities. An example is the “sum challenge” where the children are given a timer and see how many additions they can do correctly in a set time.
Our classroom set up allows the children to discover and improve two languages through being truly immersed in both languages all day long. It is not a question of teaching English or French but of
teaching in English and French. Two full-time teachers (one French and one English) speak and work with the children in the teacher’s language. The children are taught Maths, Science, Music, History … in both French and English, they are also exposed to both languages in the many other contexts that they encounter at school such as interaction with their international classmates and when participating in school events such as outings or end of term events. This enables them to have realistic exposure to both languages.
By switching from one language to another, the child also discovers a new way of thinking, learning and behaving allowing them to acquire greater mental flexibility.
Support for Monolingual Students
Pupils who are not already bilingual at the beginning of elementary school may acquire oral comprehension of the new language at the end of the first year, perfecting their written expression and comprehension at their own pace over several years.
The school can also recommend the best approach for children who need to accelerate language learning - such as attending French as a Foreign Language (FLE) or English as a Second Language (ESL) for non-English speakers on Wednesdays.
An Exceptional Supervision Rate of 1 Adult for Every 10 Pupils
In our Quai d’Orsay Elementary class the children are welcomed each day in an exceptional setting. In addition to the charm of our premises located in the American Church in Paris, the school allows them to benefit from an exceptional supervision rate of approximately one adult for every ten children. This ratio allows the children to work in small groups with the teachers and for the teachers to accompany the children on a daily basis to develop their full potential.
The Next Steps
The autonomy and perseverance acquired by our children is highly valued by the institutions that they join after completing the Elementary Class. Our children have a capacity for reflection and self confidence to seek and pursue their own creative solutions. These skills are also highly valuable skills in our complex and ever-changing world.