What is La Petite École?
A French school focusing on the children only: “Les enfants d’abord”
What is your relationship with the parents?
We have a moral contract with the parents. We want to be partner with them for the well-being of their child. The parents have to understand the philosophy of the school and speak the same education language at home. If there is inconsistency between the school and home, we confuse the child. Applying the same education rules, the child will never question the authority.
What are the benefits of learning a second language?
The research and studies are explained in detail in a very easy way to understand on our website: http://www.petite-ecole.com.
What are the differences between La Petite Ecole and the other French schools?
I always invite the parents who are touring La Petite École to visit the other French schools for them to draw their own conclusions.
What parents often say about La Petite École:
– They are really “French-French”,
– They can talk to me anytime,
– The director knows every parent and student at the school,
– It is very family-like, not corporate,
– Very limited fundraising request
Are you the best school in San Diego?
There is no such thing as a best school! Criteria can vary from parent to parent or teacher to teacher.
We might be the best fit for parents who are looking for this particular kind of environment and education for their children.
You have reached 163 students in a few years, what is the key of your success?
We are building a good reputation by doing our job very professionally and making sure the quality of our education remains at the very top. When parents are happy they spread the word. We have 85% of our new enrollment by referral from our parents!
We keep delivering what we promise.
Is it a disadvantage to have only a few hours of English a week?
The equation is really simple. French is a minority language in San Diego so if we do not focus on French during the day, we will never have bilingual students. When students step outside La Petite École, the only language they will hear is English. The English reinforcement of the language will be provided outside the school in their every day life through media, people, etc. I ask my English teachers to teach the students how to comprehend, speak, read and write English.
Knowledge can be acquired through the French language and the transfer is easily made.
Do you remember much of your French (or any other foreign language) from high school? This is a common issue for students who dedicate less than 65% of their time to a second language.
What happens to a student leaving La Petite École after 5th grade to go into the American system?
That is the most asked question from the parents. We had students, my daughter Clémentine included, who went into the American system at that point. One of the benefits of learning a second language is the faculty to adapt. The transition between the two systems is quick and the teachers are always pleased to greet well-educated and rounded students. Our students demonstrate a real interest in learning, and English is not a problem at all.
What is your policy on homework?
Homework should be only finishing what a student did not have time to finish in class.
This is one point I was struggling with my daughter in public middle school. She had a lot of homework but no one to correct it. Meaning she could do something wrong and teachers were not available to guide her.
Nowadays, it seems that parents measure the greatness of a school by the amount of homework students are bringing home. In our point of view, homework should not be a burden to the family environment. Do you think parents like to bring extra work from their office at home? So why overload the kids?
Parents are not teachers; they do not have the skills or the patience of teaching their children. The relationship between parents and children could deteriorate because of the homework.
In elementary grades a little homework, like reading, memorizing a poem, doing a project, making a research, can be great and enjoyable, and to finish with this subject, there is not scientific evidence showing that homework improves a student’s grades.