The 2011/01/04 at 13:11
Alexandre T. Analis
Amongst the major difficulties encountered during an expatriation experience is finding the right school for your children. How can you be sure of reconciling the learning of a foreign language and the keeping of one’s culture of origin? On the basis of this principle, the École Active Bilingue (EAB) was founded in 1954.
Ever since its creation, the main purpose of this network of five Paris-based schools has remained the same: to enable pupils to follow schooling in one language while developing skills in another language. A private school under State contract, mixed and secular, the EAB earns the “Active” in its name from its focus on active pedagogy, in vogue from the 1960s onwards, helping children to reason by themselves rather than teaching them pre-established conclusions. Once a bilingual school, the EAB progressively became an international school: its 2,400 pupils come from 58 different nationalities. The teacher-pupil ratio is extremely high as the EAB relies on some 400 employees. From pre-school to the final year of high school, a number of school programmes are on offer: the French curriculum, and the British, American and IB diploma programmes. “In order to offer all these programmes, we have obtained accreditation from numerous official organisms such as the French Ministry of Education, the University of Cambridge, the Council of International Schools, ECIS, Edexcel, College Board…,” explains Cintia Delesalle, Communications Director for the EAB. For example, the school charter respects all statements in the UNESCO charter on tolerance and secularity.
Not only does the EAB offer different school programmes but also bridges for passing from one programme to another at practically any moment. For primary-level pupils, the EAB has also developed an immersion class programme for a maximum of ten pupils who do not speak French at all and who need to join the French curriculum. In this case, teaching in French is provided by specialised teachers who have a thorough knowledge of class content and how to explain it. To this end, teachers benefit from the boosting of continuing education which ultimately guarantees the international character of the school, as well as greater tolerance for ethnic, cultural and religious differences.
From pre-school onwards, pupils can choose between the French curriculum or the US-British programme. Children who do not speak French and arrive in France at junior high-school level are automatically integrated in the US-British programme where English is their main language of education and they learn French adapted to their needs on a daily basis. International openness through education is the key to the foundation of the EAB: all pupils receive tuition in French and English. Within the French curriculum, English is taught by native-speaker teachers in different level groups meeting student needs, whether they be beginners or bilingual. In primary school, six English language-level groups are available per school year. It is possible for pupils to start learning Spanish as well as French and English from M1 (Grade 4) level upwards. In the US-British programmes English is the main language of education. Pupils following the latter learn French daily and use this language during their art, music and sport lessons. With its five establishments (two French primary schools, one French junior high school, one French senior high school and one school ranging from pre-school to the final year in senior high school with the US-British programme), the EAB receives many applications and is seeking to develop overseas. “Support remains our priority: we welcome children from very diverse origins who need to feel integrated and fostered,” points out Cintia Delesalle. “So the school environment primordial.” Apart from its different programmes, the EAB offers over fifty activities, extracurricular workshops and courses.
Finally, the EAB is an official sponsor of the Anajali School-Kanzi Kibera, and three times per year organises humanitarian mobilisation weeks to collect donations. These initiatives enable help to go towards clothing and schooling children ranging from 3 to 13 years in a slum in Nairobi, Kenya, and providing them with their single meal of the day.
More information on www.eab.fr