Whatever their age, the children and teenagers who arrive at our school have very diverse competences and knowledge. This sometimes has little to do with their real level of ability, but rather depends upon the schools they were in or the interests of their parents. Some are wonderful artists but can’t read yet fluently; others are very advanced in math but find it difficult to write an essay. Our choice to organise an individualised programme in the fundamental classes allows to take their skills into account; we avoid the stress of pointless comparisons, but instead stimulate them individually: this helps them to reach the quarterly targets or to pass the end-of-the year exams at secondary level.
Social and Personal Development
For the younger ones, the first task is to learn to cooperate and to respect others; these attitudes will be the basis of future autonomy. From an early age, many creative activities allow the development of self-confidence and the pleasure of expressing oneself. From the primary level, several periods of school time every week are devoted to creative writing in both languages. Students are guided in their writing projects or approach them independently. At elementary and high school visual arts courses are offered every week, where learning techniques are the key to higher levels of creativity. A very particular creative project is proposed to our secondary students: three periods a week are devoted each year to the making of a film in the first year, the following year is devoted to a personal piece of artwork, and finally they accomplish autonomous research and write an essay, which is presented in public.
In Kindergarten, the students’ work is regularly sent home to allow the family to admire it and encourage progress. At the primary level, the notebooks of the fundamental subjects are taken home every weekend, with comments by the teachers; the parents sign them. At the end of each quarter, an update is made on the behaviour of the student, the skills that were acquired and those that need to be revised (with summary tables). At the secondary level (11 years on) we start with grades (in % of success) and with end-of-the-year examinations (as training). Students thus become accustomed to academic realities.