Let me introduce you to my school!!
Name: Groupe Scolaire Concorde (The school is actually made up of two schools: the maternelle (preschool) and elementaire)
Location: Barberaz, France. A 10 minute bus ride or a 30 minute walk from my apartment.
Size: There is one class of 17-25ish students of every grade. I believe this is on the small side, though more or less average for the size of the town…
Special Skills: The school is one of only 3 in the region (and possibly in all of France) to operate with a content-language learning immersion program. As I’ve mentioned a few times previously, this means that all elementary students have about half of their curriculum taught in English and half in French. The maternelle also has several hours of English classes each week.
Schedule: I work for at least 30 minutes a week with each class. I assist in math, geography, art and earth science classes. In the maternelle classes, I have a little bit more independence in presenting cultural activities. This week I’m working on a Halloween lesson….
Here’s a quick guide to the acronyms.
Classes in maternelle:
PS – petit section, France has universal preschool starting at the age of 3.
MS – moyenne section, the second year of preschool, ages 3 and 4
GS – grande section, the oldest class in the maternelle, roughly equivalent to our kindergarten
Classes in elementaire:
CP – cours preparatoire, education is obligatory at the age of 6, roughly equivalent to first grade
CE1 – cours elementaire 1, second grade
CE2 – cours elementaire 2, third grade
CM1 – cours moyenne 1, fourth grade
CM2 – cours moyenne 2, fifth grade
So far, I am really enjoying the school! The teachers are extremely friendly and the kids are great. Their level of English is pretty high, especially the oldest kids who have been doing the immersion for 4 years. However, there are new students to whom English is completely new and I can’t imagine how confusing it must be to have to do school in a language you can barely understand! I’ve talked with a few of the teachers about working especially with these low-achieving students in small groups throughout the year.
In a few weeks, I will also start doing a 90-minute conversation workshop for adults. At first, I was a little frustrated about these workshops, since it wasn’t what I expected to be doing, but now I’m actually kind of excited to have some time with more advanced speakers !!
More about my impressions of the school soon! ✽