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  1. Thanks to all who have posted since my last post - our computer broke down and it took an age for the shop to fix.  We finally made our decision and it was to send our daughter to the International School after the summer.  As my husband works for an International company, there is always the possibility that we could be expatriated within the next 3-4 years where the schooling available may be more likely to be in English rather than French.  I should point out that our daughter was born in France and up to the age of 2-1/2yrs had a french-speaking childminder (as I worked part-time when we lived in Paris) and all her friends are French.  All our neighbours and people we know are French.  We do speak English at home and always have done.  She had been at the local school for over a year and her behavioural problems hadn't improved during this time (we thought they might).  It may well be that her behaviour may not improve even after changing to a school that teaches in her mother tongue but time will tell.  We recognised that she needed to be challenged, as she seemed to be spending most of her days drawing and colouring in at school and after speaking to the "directrice" of the local school it became clear that she wasn't going to be challenged if she stayed.  Once we had advised the local school of our decision, the directrice spoke to us and said that she had thought we'd made the right decision for our daughter (take from that what you will)!! We did not want to force speaking french with her at home because the last thing we wanted was for her to retreat within herself due to her reluctance to speak with us in French.  We do however manage to expose her to French through Dora DVDs, Muzzy, etc; and by doing exercise books in french (i.e. vocabulary, puzzle books, etc). We hope that by going to the International School, the pressure will be taken off her to speak in French and that she will do it naturally when the time is right for her.
  2. We'd always accepted that the the first year at school would always be the hardest - going to school being the biggest change, because she'd already been exposed to French for a couple of years through child-care. We play her "Dora the Explorer" DVDs in French and the BBC's Muzzy programmes (which she loves) but to be honest I don't let her watch kids' TV on the french TV channels as it's just rubbish (apologies if I offend anyone)! We play English/French songs in the car which she can sing to her heart's content.  But for everyday conversation she is really struggling. With regard to the International School, she spent a morning there and she seemed to enjoy herself.  From what I saw, she was eager to get in the thick of things and first to put her hand up when the teacher asked a question.  They do have a couple of lessons in French a week which increases in frequency the older they get, and the idea is that if a child was to move to another country, be it English-speaking or French-speaking they are much more easily integrated.  This element appeals to us as we may move in 2-3years time due to my husband's job. I've read other peoples' experiences with their children on this forum and it's been really informative and helpful, and we will be discussing all our options in the next week and finally make a decision (as both schools need to know our decision pretty soon)! So, thanks to all of you who wrote in response to my post - it is very much appreciated.
  3. She's had 3 teachers since starting last April - and all have experienced these "behavioural issues" with her.  After the summer she'll be onto her 4th teacher with a new classroom assistant - and we're wondering whether we should take the risk of leaving her another year or bite the bullet and move her now. She will be joining a french loisirs group for a couple of days a week during the summer and she will be spending time with her friends from school too. Tomorrow we're going to spend the morning at the Intl School - just to see if she shows any interest in what they do there.  It looks like the Intl school has a more varied structure than her current school would offer next year too - which could prove to be a winning factor.
  4. Hi, we have a 4-yr old daughter who has spent the last year and a bit at the village school (she is the first English child they’ve had) and appears to have a mental block when it comes to communicating what she wants to say in French.   Her behaviour has been less than exemplary in class – has resorted to pushing/kicking her fellow pupils or shouting during sit-down time when the teacher is trying to teach them something.  Her teacher thinks it’s down to her frustration at not being able to communicate effectively with her peers and the fact that that she is “very intelligent” (his words, not ours).  He is convinced she understands what is being asked of her as she is often the first finished on any tasks given, sometimes doing them twice over.  The school didn’t seem to be too concerned as they thought she would pick up the French (being so young) like the little Portuguese boy who started at the same time as her, but it just hasn’t happened.   We have a very difficult decision to make in the next couple of weeks – whether to keep her where she is or to move her to the Intl School of Bearn.  We’d love for her to be bilingual but she moves into the Maternelle Moyenne section next year (22 children in class) and as the school offers no French tuition for non-French pupils we’re worried that she will stop wanting to learn at all.   Has anyone had children who have found it difficult in a French school and what did they do?
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