The bilingual primary school

Today’s children are the adults of tomorrow. We must give them the tools to adapt to jobs that are eager to be created, to teach them how to coexist in their future environment by enriching their self-confidence, by listening to others and respecting their differences. More importantly we wish them to be happy and willing to take off for the life ahead of them. We are providing an innovative pedagogy, a blend of singular philosophies (Montessori, Steiner, Freinet…), a method also based on recent studies on neurosciences and positive psychology. L’autre Ecole is a laic school pushing for social diversity and following the state programs of l’Education Nationale

Primary school characteristics:

1. French – English: A Bilingual environment

At its youngest age, the child’s brain is extremely receptive, like a sponge it absorbs everything. Such a brain can integrate its mother tongue and simultaneously learn other languages. At l’Autre Ecole, chidlren are immersed in a bilingual environment: An English-speaking teacher and a French-speaking teacher  co-teach the class for the duration of each day. Through different activities, children’s perception of novelty or family habits are stimulated. Besides providing everyday life vocabulary, every teacher, speaking his.her mother tongue, brings important elements from his.her culture thanks to games, crafts, songs framed in a ludic dimension. Personal and academic development leads to communication between children. It is essential for them to evolve in a multicultural environment in which they can open their minds to the world surrounding their past, present and future. Our school aims at teaching the adults of tomorrow how to think, ponder, analyse, review and the importance of verbal intelligence. In other words, L’Autre Ecole wants to allow children to exist and be recognized in a group and to feel valued.

2. Transversal level classes with reduced headcounts to adapt pedagogy according to children’s particularities

Multilevel classes (PS-MS-GS, CP-CE1, CE2-CM1-CM2) aiming at improving language and thinking structuration. Socialisation development takes place simultaneously with the usual environment: children get to respect the frame of possibilities and limits of each one. Children can learn at their own pace, reaching for objectives of other ages.

3. We have developed an active pedagogy by selecting the finest ideas from diverse streams and influences…

A child is the captain of its own instruction, guided by his.her professors, and according to his.her pace. Individual recognition of the child when entering the school is essential to establish, with her.him, a relationship based on trust and continuous responsibility. Once provided with solutions for the fundamental needs of the children, l’Autre Ecole and its educational body’s missions are to favour self-achievement and to support children in their discovery of life.

Maria Montessori highlights in her theory the fact that development forces are within the human being and, she said, the educational system aims at preserving spontaneity and dismiss every element that could weaken children of forbid their blooming. Children themselves must develop their personality, motor and intelligence skills. Teachers sets an environment in which not only freedom of action is put forward but also observation of differences, caring and respect.

Célestin et Elise Freinet advocated permanent research on goals and means. They highlight the importance of the attention toward the child, his.her needs, interests, the laws of his.her development, and his.her creative approaches and investigating processes. The clear and farsighted presence of the professor must create a mutual, friendly and trustful atmosphere in which communication and discussions will naturally take place between professors and children and children among themselves.

Steiner-Waldorf’s pedagogy shares a natural reflexion built on the freedom of human beings. She is convinced that love, trust and enthusiasm provide the child with serenity and forces: necessary to go forward, to accomplish their deepest projects by contributing to the human being project

4. An engaged, bilingual and diversified educational team

An increasing number of researches were done during the past year about neurosciences and education: on the functioning of the brain. The goodwill of empathy (pedagogical team and parents) plays an important role in developing a substantial part of the brain (prefrontal cortex). Although empathy would also have a strong impact on learning and memorising skills (hippocampus). Therefore, supporting and encouraging children develop a better memory and intellectual appetite.

The After School club

L’Autre École offers a complementary education program for 3-11 years old. In order to meet the needs of parents, children are taken care of four times a week as soon as classes ends, as well as on Wednesdays.

Mixed-age classes for 3-5 years old and 6-11 years old have the vocation of opening and awakening students in playful ways.

The curriculum of activities, defined before each term, is organized around various workshops oriented towards the attainment of four key objectives:

1 . Multidisciplinary intellectual development

  • Open to the world: workshops to discover other cultures…
  • Decryption of the company: workshops allowing the understanding of current affairs, the philosophical exchanges and the development of the critical sense …
  • Development of curiosity and opening of possibilities: meetings of artisans, artists, enthusiasts …
  • Discovering “new” skills: technological, coding, logic …

2 . Personal development

  • In the emotional field: workshops to discover emotional sensitivity, learning to manage emotions and feelings
  • In the behavioural field: meditation workshops, mindfulness, yoga, concentration management
  • In the psychological field: workshops self-confidence, balance

3 . Development of artistic sensitivity

  • Exploratory activities: visits to museums, observation of architecture, theatre and cinema, live performances, sharing of creative experiences…
  • Practical activities: putting into perspective the exploratory activities by developing projects resulting in a concrete result, allowing the practice of observed techniques (painting, theatre, cooking, dance, photography, writing, film viewing, listening or creating music, etc.)

4 . Moral and civic development

  • Solidarity missions: Providing support and love to people in difficulty (meetings of homeless, refugees and disabled people, visits to retirement homes…)
  • “Living Together” Workshops: Workshops for collaboration, understanding of others, empathy

The different workshops are built as topic-specific focal points, all of which work towards the achievement of broader objectives. Learning is not compartmentalized, and each activity involves several forms of child intelligence. Thus, the painting workshop is an opportunity to discover another culture, to develop its empathy, or to gain self-confidence by carrying out a project that will be presented to the groups, and so on

A School for Adults too

In order to mobilize all those involved in education, L’Autre École offers night training for parents and educators in the broadest sense. It will be the opportunity to turn this into a place of learning for all, where children will have the pleasure of seeing their parents learn in the same premises.

During these sessions of courses and sharing of experiences, the various actors will transmit essential knowledge around two themes:

Pedagogy: learning support

Educating is undoubtedly the most important “work” of one’s lifetime, yet nothing prepares us for it. L’Autre École offers support for learning and education through the study of certain mechanisms of positive pedagogy, the testimonies of inspiring persons, or by allowing exchanges with other parents and/or educators confronted with the same problems in their daily lives.

Personal development

Because a grown-up adult is the key to a child’s happiness, L’Autre École offers evening sessions on various themes focusing on personal development. Knowing each other, succeeding in one’s life, developing one’s creativity… shall constitute typical subjects.

The School of Bonds

One of L’Autre École’s ambitions is to create a renewed social bond, which is essential to reach collective happiness and live together. This is why, on weekends, it becomes a place of intergenerational exchange for children, parents and grandparents, and offers activities for all. Children and adults can come together, either for the first ones to participate in workshops while the latter go about their work, or to participate in the same workshop, learn together with enthusiasm and share joyful moments. Or, just to enjoy the place itself.

Finally, in order to truly make school a place of life anchored in its environment, L’Autre École also hosts local associations and students for voluntary support classes during weekends. This is how our vow of solidarity turns into a reality.