Issues to consider when choosing a school for your séjour kids
A séjour is not a permanent move
As you begin to research expat schools online, keep in mind that most of the information out there is geared towards families moving to a foreign country for a year or more. If you are taking a 2-3 month séjour, your family’s needs will be a little different. Consider some of these issues when making your decision:
Kids can pick up new languages quickly, but you’ll only be living there for a few months. If your child has had no exposure to the local language, it may be easier to put them in a private school (where the instruction is in English) or take your séjour during the summer months.
There are a number of French Immersion schools in the United States which are fully accredited by the French Ministry of Education. If your child attends one of these schools, he/she should be able to adjust quite easily to a public school in France.
Obviously, in a public school, your child will more likely be immersed in the local culture and traditions, make local friends, etc. Private schools are more likely to cater to expats, and attract a more international group of families.
Each private school will have its own mission and culture. International schools will typically cater to expats and its educational program may be more familiar to Americans.
In France, the academic philosophy can be quite rigorous and culturally different than what your family may be used to.
Friends and social considerations
Know your kid. The younger kids are, the easier it will be for them to jump into a foreign environment and thrive. On the other hand, some children (esp. older children) may find it very hard to be the outsider and to make new friends. In that case, children may find it easier to be in an international school filled with expats.
Talk to your children’s teachers, do your own research online. But at the end of the day, do whatever you think is best for your family. And remember – it’s not a lifetime. It’s a séjour!
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