New Bilingual School ALERT: Douces Maternelles
Every time I talk to expat parents there is one topic guaranteed to come up: schools. And every single time the same questions and complaints are thrown around. Why aren’t there more bilingual schools? It’s such a nightmare getting kids into private school in Paris because there aren’t enough! The grossly overcrowded 30-to-1 student teacher ratio in public schools is ridiculous! The public school teachers don’t communicate with parents at all! Kids in France have vacation every six weeks and it’s so stressful trying to figure out what to do with them! Oh, and don’t forget Wednesday’s off! My goodness! So many issues, comparisons to one’s home country, and complaints about the rigid French school system that hasn’t changed in decades.
I recently found out about Douces Maternelle, a new bilingual school in the Marais that opens this Fall. The school mixes progressive pedagogies (Montessori, Winnicot, and Freinet), plus a melange of kids ages two to six into four small classes of eight to create a more ideal formula as opposed to the overcrowded French State schools. One of the program’s philosophies are that smaller class sizes afford time to work individually with each child and build confidence. Certain days and times are dedicated to speaking only English or only French. The children rotate between different workshops such as art, cooking, yoga, theatre, motor skills, world discovery, garden, dance, musical games, board games, and sensory experiences. The ateliers are designed to encourage independence, a sense of responsibility, and teach life skills.
If you aren’t already as excited as I am about the opening and structure of this new école, there is one finally awesome element that is unique to Douces Maternelle. The school is open all year, every day from 8:30 to 7pm, Monday through Friday. (They are closed for August and Christmas week, but nobody is in town then anyways.) Of course there are different forfaits to suit various family situations. If you prefer only mornings, only afternoons, or shorter days, these are options you can choose. These hours eliminate many issues for working parents who have to supplement school with a nanny or scramble for holiday plans or day camps. My family lives on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean so I don’t have the luxury of dropping kids off with grandparents or relatives like many other expat parents. Which is why I love that this program takes into account the needs of modern parenting and a growing international community in Paris.
For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Full disclosure: I was not paid by Douces Maternelle to write this. I found out about a new school with a program that I fully believe in and want to share the good MANNA. My daughter will not attend Douces Maternelle next year because we already paid and secured her spot at another school.
Images provided by Douces Maternelles
21 rue du Petit Musc
Metro: Bastille, Saint-Paul, Sully-Morland