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Families near Haut-Sartoux

Posted by Stewart - Created: 5 years ago
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10 replies (Showing replies: 1 to 10)

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Posted by liloute - 5 years ago

Hi Kiwogs

I'm very glad you feel relieved  having found a new school for your kids. I just hope it'll be your only bad memory of your stay in France. This is bad luck, really....

Now you can fully appreciate the wonderful autumns that we have here, and meet beautiful people who'll make you feel like you never regretted to have come here!!! 

Feel free to contact me anytime.


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Posted by Dinanz - 5 years ago

Hi ,


We live in NZ at the moment and we love it here but we might need to move to the French Riviera. I've read mostly negative opinions on the French schools and I am quite worried therefore your post and liloute's one are reassuring and I would love to know more about positive experiences. My eldest is 12  and we'll have to find a good highschool for him, so I would appreciate  any reccomendations.  My daughter is almost 8 and my little one is 4.


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Posted by kiwogs - 5 years ago

Dear Christine

Thanks for your input.  We have made the decision to take our children out of L'ile Verte and move them to Cours Champollion in Villeneuve Loubet.  I have had to meetings with the Directrice who is absoulutely lovely.  Their philosophy is that happy children learn.  They are very happy for our children to refuel at break time as they need to.  They are happy to allow me to accompany my kids arriving at school and understand that these two little people have given up/lost everything they know (not by their choice) to come to France and they'll need time and support as they find their way.  We will not be locked out of the school for the day if we are late due to traffic or other circumstances.  The class sizes are small and they have already contacted a specialist teacher to help them with their French while my daughter's class do English.  They will continue to do this till the kids are feeling confident and up to speed with their French.

There are of course still many rules and differences, but the attitude of the staff at this school is very reassuring.

It is a shame that many who I have spoken to have had similar experiences at this school with the Maternelle section - it is the norm rather than a one off bad situation. 

Would love to catch up and meet a few people, I have had an unexpectedly crazy couple of weeks and am moving house this weekend with guests from NZ arriving 2 days later for a week.  I'll be in touch once we settle in.

Thank you to everyone out there.


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Posted by liloute - 5 years ago

Sorry, I got a bit mixed up: I was trying to answer one of "kiwogs" posts! but everybody else's posts are very interesting to read too!!! (so many things I could answer!!!)


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Posted by liloute - 5 years ago

Hi there

I just came across your postings and I can't help but answering; I'm French, and I feel awfully sorry for what you're going through with your kids right now. I'm a teacher myself (in high school, but still, I know a few things about the French educational system),and my husband has worked in maternelles as a psychologist for 15 years. 


Both my kids went to the Opio public schools and we never had that kind of trouble with the "gouters". I've often heard English-speaking natives talk about our system negatively, but I can assure you it has its advantages and prepares our future students quite well... But then there can always be several internal problems, since each school director has more or less the right to decide on the rules parents and kids will have to comply with.

 I don't know about the rules at l'Isle Verte, but that seems to be going a little bit too far...

I'm not your age range (I'm 46), but I'd love to discuss that with you at the Opio park (I live nearby) if you go one of these wednesdays, and try to reassure you about the French system, which is not that bad altogether!!! ( I've 24 years of teaching experience).

( PS: I spent one month in your beautiful country 20 years ago, and I still can't get over it!)

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Posted by ereiamjh-229420 - 5 years ago


Here's the program for CE2, CM1, and CM2 (which are equivalent to 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades in the US system). http://www.education.gouv.fr/bo/2008/hs3/programme_CE2_CM1_CM2.htm

Of course it is in French, but perhaps it will help you after all.


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Posted by AmberKeightley - 5 years ago

Hi hermosabeachReport

Thanks for the information you put down. I sent it to a close girlfriend who is a teacher and who has taught in England, Australia and New Zealand and she was horrified to hear that any western country still taught by rote, but it doesnt' seem to have done the French any harm as they all seem to come out of the education system educated.

I imagine it does effect the enjoyment of the lesson but if that's all you're been used to then I expect that's ok too. It's probably worse for the foreign parents who compare it to their own experiences, and perhaps older children moving across that have already experienced a different style of being taught.

That said, we've bought our kids up in italian schools so we are already used to 8.15 -4pm days plus homework 3x a week for 6 yr olds and activites stretching out into the night time. My daughter's peers at 6 & 7 yrs old were going to bed at 9.30/10pm but we're pretty english once we get the front door closed and kids are in bed by 8.30.

Do you know if there is anyway to get hold of a syllabus to compare what my kids would be learning in  year 4 if we come up so that I can compare it with what they're doing in the year 4 we'll possibly miss here? 

That would be enormously helpful. Or even just the words for how you'd call such a thing so I could search myself on-line?


Thanks again for the information, it's given me lots to think about.



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Posted by ereiamjh-229420 - 5 years ago

I'm planning on being at the playground in the Parc des Bouillides from 1 to 4 tomorrow. Anyone who wants to come, you're welcome to do so. I will be there with my 2-, 5-, and 7-year-old and a friend who has a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old.


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Posted by hermosabeach - 5 years ago

Hi, AmberKeightley

Adventures, especially in foreign countries, are fun and a great education for children!!  But, it is great that you are thinking ahead about the "details" of the move to France.  The education here is very different than in many other countries (such as the US/Canada/England/Australia, etc).  The general system is one where children learn by memorization and are taught to repeat what has been taught.  It is not a system that focuses on teaching children how to "think" but how to recite facts, etc.  In addition, the program for each year is quite specific.  So, children are meant to learn exactly that program for the year - not more and not less.  This means there is less opportunity for children to reach their full potential.  I am not talking about individual teachers who may be more or less understanding or individual schools that may be more or less "friendly".  I am talking about the actual education system (l'education nationale).  Teachers are not even taught child psychology when they are studying for their diploma.  So, many don't have a background in understanding children and the best way to teach them.  Of course, there are teachers who are passionate.  But, you will also find teachers who take the job just for the summer vacations.  So, children have different experiences based on "luck of the draw". School is not a place where children are encouraged to love learning.  Although the majority of children are in public schools, there are private options in the area (Montessori, Catholic, English-system, Bilingual, etc) and also certain towns are known to have more welcoming public schools.  There is a public school that offers bilingual education (French/English; French/Italian; French/German).  But, your children will need to take an entrance exam and the demand for places is very high in the French/English section. So, definitely look into all of your options before making your final decision.

You should also be aware that children here have long school days - from 8:30am to 4:30pm.  Any sports/art/music lessons must be done after that time or on Wednesdays or Saturdays.  In addition, the public schools have homework from age 6.  So, that doesn't leave much "free time".  

You will find people here have different views based on their own upbringing and expectations.  So, I encourage you to think about what type of education you want for your children and if you can find that here.  Feel free to contact me if you have any questions as you are making your decisions.

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Posted by AmberKeightley - 5 years ago

Wow - you guys are terrifying me! 


We're an english/italian speaking family thinking about moving to this area next June (in order to give us the summer to learn french and settle in and prepare for school in Sept) - for an adventure. I've got an 8yr old girl and a 5yr old boy and so far the scariest part of the plan, is the idea of introducing the kids to a new school/teacher and new friends of course.

We're starting french lessons this year so it's not too dramatic, but reading some of the comments on this thread is giving me new things to think and worry about. Is it really as bad as it sounds or is this just one bad example with plenty of great ones out there as well?