In 2010 I started to research the possibility of moving our family abroad for a few years. It was something both my husband and I wanted to do before the boys got too old and immersed in the school system here. We started talking about cities and well … there is no other choice, Paris.
JOur first concern and key piece to this puzzle was finding the right school for the boys. By ‘right’ I mean, safe, academically in line, good location, enriching atmosphere and bilingual since the boys did not speak French. I googled ‘bilingual schools in Paris’ and several names came up. Lennen was one of the names but I could not get much information from the website at that time. Luckily I was able to get in contact with a current Mom at Lennen who was from my hometown in Virginia. She was a huge help in answering the questions I had about the school such as curriculum, atmosphere, size, daily schedule, bilingual aspect, etc. I loved what I heard and felt this was the right place for us. The only problem was that having twins, I would need two spaces in their grade so I crossed my fingers … tightly:) I never will forget the day when that letter from Michelle dropped through our mail slot into the front hall offering us two spots! We were on our way to Paris:)
As I mentioned earlier, getting the boys in a good school was key to our decision to take this adventure. Looking back at our experience, the boys grew exponentially in areas such as culture, language, and awareness of the diversity and scope of the world in which we live. They were interacting daily with children and teachers from different countries absorbing a more informed understanding of the world. I think the hardest part for them was getting over the initial hurdle of speaking and learning a foreign language. Also it was interesting to acclimate to the methods of a traditional French teacher. Lennen struck a nice balance between French and English teaching and provided small classes with individual attention. There was diversity with wonderful field trips, pony camp and after school classes like Chess. As for me, I loved being a part of the Paris community via the Lennen Family. These ladies were so helpful and fun. There was a great sense of camaraderie and helpfulness, be it a local seasoned walking tour, cooking class, house cleaner, whatever you needed they were an endless source of helpful information. Embarking on living in a foreign country, craving out a new life, these ladies and their children became our friends. To this day, I count some of these gals as my most special friends.
Coming back home after our time in Paris, the boys re-entered their old school that next Fall. All went smoothly; we studied up on whatever had been missed and French class was definitely easier:) While the boys both adapted well, they had changed but it was a quiet change. They were/are more observant, wiser, more concerned and interested in global happenings. They are more tolerant of others and appreciate others’ traditions and differences and now speak French fluently:)
Thank you for sharing your wonderful school with us and giving us this amazing life changing and enriching experience!!
I found the Lennen bilingual school while searching for a bilingual nursery in my neighborhood and found all the informations at the American Church. Louis integrated the morning nursery and stayed until first grade.
He was a very happy child thanks to the Lennen “pédagogie” that values the blossoming of creativity and autonomy of the child. The multicultural environment gives a wide learning of respect and interesting learning.
Every morning he was eager to go to school to learn new stories, and to play with his friends. Every year the different teachers he had organized the year perfectly.
As a parent we were – if we wanted- very welcome to participate to the school life. it gave a very nice frame to the children to see the parents implicated and organizing a life around the school.
Louis integrated first grade in a french school with great ease as the program at Lennen corresponded very well to the system. He was nevertheless quite sad to leave his school and as a parent I miss very much the creativity that was special to Lennen.
We keep contact with the Lennen school and we are proud to be part of the alumni.
As a mother I am very happy my child was able to have such a wonderful primary years that gave him the love of school, the necessary academic basis to carry on in the french system.
PHD Clinical Psychology