Over the years, wonderful parents have joined the small community of Ecole Jean-Jacques Rousseau, with one common educational goal for their children: an immersion based program providing a sound basis for academic excellence for all students. Some of these parents have been with us for years; others are new to the program. Some of these parents would like to share with you their thoughts and experience within our immersion program, the after school program and our summer camps.
WHAT PARENTS SAY ABOUT OUR PROGRAM
This school is a gem. Small classes, high-quality nurturing teachers, kids are respectful, the love of learning is upheld and every child feels like they have their place in the community. After only 2 months in PK3, we saw a tremendous growth in maturity, independence, and language acquisition in our child. We are impressed with the director’s leadership style that sets the tone for a harmonious, organized, clean, and collaborative environment. The French curriculum – both culturally rich and intellectually challenging – is accompanied by advanced English and Singapore math programs, resulting in a well-rounded education. We also love the performing arts and music component of this school, giving each child the confidence to perform in front of audiences and a deep appreciation for the arts, while nurturing their emotional development. And just from the look of our child, he loves this school too.
-Cecile & Roy A.
Rosalie and Marguerite
I chose French School of Austin to give my girls the gift of a second language. I was not expecting how quickly they would begin understanding, singing, and speaking with no previous French exposure! Language immersion aside, the academics at French School of Austin are top notch. The small classes and individualized attention help each student to reach (and exceed!) his or her academic potential. Less than two months into the school year, my kindergartener is already reading in two languages, writing in print and cursive, and playing the cello! My daughters are flourishing at French School of Austin – I wouldn’t have them at any other school.
-Emily & Marc R.
Nous sommes une famille française dont l’emménagement de Phoenix, AZ sur Austin, TX c’est fait de manière rapide et imprévue fin août 2014. Nous étions à la recherche d’une école dans laquelle non seulement notre fille Myriam continuerait d’apprendre le français et l’anglais à un niveau académique élevé mais qui aussi proposait une classe à petit effectif. Nous avons donc choisi «l’école Jean Jacques Rousseau ». Dès le premier rendez-vous nous nous sommes très bien entendus avec Hind. Myriam s’est vite adaptée à son nouveau rythme de vie. En quelques mois elle a appris à travailler plus vite et à fait d’énormes progrès en français. Dans son ancienne école, Myriam n’était pas motivée à travailler plus vite et mieux. Grâce aux méthodes d’enseignement de Mme Louali, Myriam a compris l’importance de bien faire tous ces devoirs de manière journalière. De plus, Mme Louali réussit à incorporer les matières académiques avec des chansons et des danses. Par exemple, quand les élèves apprennent un cours sur la pré histoire, ils apprennent aussi la chanson « l’homme de cro magnon ». Quand Myriam m’a dit cela, je me suis dit : « Enfin une école qui mélange subtilement les jeux et chansons avec des sujets académiques !». Mme Louali prépare aussi les élèves au spectacle de Noël et de fin d’année avec des chansons françaises. En écoutant ma fille chantonner toutes ces chansons, toute mon enfance m’est doucement revenue comme dans un rêve. Ma fille bien que vivant aux Etats-Unis peut enfin découvrir à l’école la culture du pays de ses origines.
We moved to Austin at the start of the 2013-2014 academic year. I visited MANY schools, before I finally decided on JJR. My goal was to find a full-immersion language school, with a rigorous academic program, individual attention , small classroom size, and parents and teachers I could feel connected with. Most of the schools I had visited did not fit this. While their social/emotional environment might have been good (teaching compassion and empathy), their teaching curriculum was practically non-existent and was very poorly structured. Others had very strong curriculum perhaps, but all students had to “fit the mold”, and those who did not seemed to have very little chance of survival. Furthermore, the student population was not diverse, and it would only expose our son to a very thin slice of society. JJR, instead, has a rigorous program, children get individualized teaching, and there is a wonderful and diverse student body. Finally, most schools we visited use a system of rewards to motivate children. While I feel it is essential to be encouraging towards children, I feel that using rewards to entice learning teaches the wrong values and reduces intrinsic motivation and satisfaction for a job well-done. As Alfie Kohn would say: “we have to move beyond bribes and threats.
My daughter has been attending JJR since August 2012. I initially enrolled her here due to the chance of her learning a second and possibly third language. However, she has learned much more than a second language. The school is focused on academics via a Montessori/French approach. The classes are very small which allows each child to move at his/her own pace and also for the teacher to focus more on the children who need it. One great thing about this school is that there is a big focus on art and music which is different than most schools around. Whereas in public school my daughter would be on a pre-k level, here she is already on a first grade level for some subjects. This place is like my daughter’s second home, and for that I am very appreciative.
My daughter has been attending JJR since 2012. We first sent her here because we really wanted her to learn French but this school is so much more than that. In fact, we would send her here even if she was not learning another language. The school’s style takes on a Montessori approach with a French twist. Our daughters days are infused with art, language and music as well as the usual subjects and she has developed amazing friendships with her classmates due to the very small class sizes. The teachers here provide a very safe communal environment and I love how close everyone here has become. Communication is a breeze and we have always had all of our needs and inquiries addressed with extreme professionalism and diligence. All of the parents are also very involved and volunteer throughout the year lending their specialties and skills to the overall environment of the school. The director is extremely dedicated to her students and works extremely hard at constantly providing them with new opportunities and learning endeavors. I cannot even imagine sending my child anywhere else and am so grateful we found this little Austin gem.
-Donna & Chad M.
I’m usually not even sure where to start, when explaining the excellent qualities of JJR to friends. Class sizes are often a good place to begin: not just “small”, but in many cases with nearly one-on-one instruction, tailored to each child’s individual level of progress and ability. The language-immersion appeal is obvious (or should be!), but at JJR it does not come at the cost of rigor in science and math. The kids are expected to excel, across diverse areas of study, no matter which language they are working in, and they rise to the challenge! The musical and theater portions of the curriculum come to delightful fruition on stage at the end of each session, building confidence and leadership on top of creativity and technique. We just feel so lucky to have discovered this unique, challenging yet supportive environment, in which Rhys can grow into himself, in ways that even we did not expect!
-Rebecca & Jeff W.
This school has been so remarkable for Charles. When he arrived at the school in September, he was simultaneously ready and not ready for school. Because of the skill and love of his teachers, and the individualized attention he gets, Charles is speaking and singing in French and Arabic, he has learned to play with other children, and his attention span for “sitting down” activities has improved vastly. Charles’s main teacher works with us on ways that we can improve his behavior and make his day more consistent. These days, he just seems to get smarter every day, he’s more affectionate and polite than ever, and his imagination is just exploding. JJR nurtures, embraces, and challenges Charles every day, and we are so thankful.
-Abbey & Jason G.
My son, Aidan started J-J.R. this past Fall. Previously, we had heard great things about H. from other parents though we had no personal dealings with her. Aidan had been attending a Montessori preschool . We were happy there, but we were concerned about the future. Where would Aidan go to school once we left his school ? The International School? Home-school with French lessons? Aidan was only three at the time, but we knew that all the ‘good’ schools almost always had a waiting list. This was a decision to that needed to be made soon. We visited the International school. It seemed fine, but it was not the kind of environment in which we thought a child as young as Aidan would excel. He needed personal attention. After meeting with H. to talk about summer school, we were so impressed with her plan for J-J.R. that we wanted to sign Aidan up for the fall, though we had planned to keep him at Petite Ecole for another year. The Fall came and Aidan started JJ.R. He found that he was the youngest kid in the school. As a kid who can be lazy at times, having the older kids gave him something to aspire to. The students are patient with him. Aidan was excited and nervous about starting a new school. He has been constantly challenged. We’ve seen such a positive change in him. He’s been eager to learn to read and recognize words. He wants to do his “work” at home. The teachers know just how far to push him and praise him so that he loves learning, even when he has difficulty. The teachers are attentive and loving. I’ve often said that having Madame teach Aidan, with all her years and years of teaching expertise/experience, is like being taught by your grandmother. She formats her teaching to each child individually to how that child learns best. She is kind, firm, unfailingly patient and knows exactly what each child needs. I cannot say enough good things about her. Susan teaches the kids in English. She is attentive, competent and treats every child as if they were her own. She has been a public school teacher, home-school teacher to her three, then two, children. I feel like Aidan really benefits from her experience. My son thinks of everyone at JJ-.R. as family. I’m certain his love for his teachers/caregivers is in part due to his age, but it is also because of the kind of environment that the teachers have created. It is a home that is also a place of learning and love.
-Christen & Josh L.
Raising children brings a lot of joy, but with some worry, of which education seems to be on top of the list. Our son, Benjamin, attended preK, Kindergarten, first and second grade at Le Lycee Francais de Chicago. He’s been homeschooled with some French sessions since then. While homeschooling had its benefits, he has lost, over the years, all his French knowledge and education. When we moved to Austin, Benjamin was 12 years old and we gave up on keeping up with his French education until we heard about the LYD program. We decided to meet with the director and explore Benjamin’s options. She tested Benjamin in all subjects for 3 consecutive days. On the third day of testing, she informed us that she will take Benjamin and that it wasn’t too late for a full immersion. The structured approach of the LYD curriculum made easy the transition from a homeschooled environment. Without the specificity of the program, the re-immersion would have been painful—almost impossible. The director had succeeded on developing an individuallly tailored curriculum to each student’s ability and intelligence preference. As a stay-at-home mom who taught her child for 5 years, I was impressed with the developing teaching material so that all students within a group can learn effectively, regardless of differences of ability. At LYD, my son was judged by his progress and attitude, not just his test scores. He was provided all the attention and support we could ask for. Fearing of failing and of low grades the first full french immersion year, he suprised us with very good grades and a 89% overall score. His progress was recognized fully by his teachers and his attitude toward learning was praised. Through this second (unexpected) chance of French immersion, my son learned a very important lesson at LYD and that is HOW to study and WHAT to value in one’s own work ethic. He wasn’t afraid of what he lacked and how he compared himself to other students , who came to LYD with a more recent French background and education (some were Native Speakers), rather he was taught that he should be proud of what he is—as he is. And he keeps striving forward because of it. We are very proud that our son is now trilingual in French, English and Spanish, both culturally and linguistically. He is finishing up his senior High School Year in Paris as a transfer student of LYD and he will be sitting at the prestigious International Option of the French Baccalaureate followed by the Undergraduate Admission Test of the L’Institut D’Etudes Politiques de Paris (Paris Institut of Political Studies) in June 2011. Because of his experience at LYD, my son was prepared to take the reins and straddle his cross-cultural world!
-Rachel & Ariel A.
Loving our children unconditionally is as natural as breathing. Having the patience, grace, and wisdom to help them realize their full potential, now that’s a humbling endeavor. One of the best decisions we have made in guiding our daughter has been to enroll her first at the LFM and at the LYD Program in Austin. Upon our arrival in Austin, our daughter has been immersed for seven years at the French School of Madrid ( LFM Saint-Exupéry). Sadly, we had found out, back in Madrid, the limited options that Austin offered for immersion. We visited Lycée francais of Austin, but we decided to enroll Anna in 5th grade at another private school. In the winter 2005, we heard of LYD from another parent, and how it might start in the fall. In May 2005, we enrolled Anna almost immediately after speaking with H. and meeting with the rest of the parents! We were very impressed with the philosophy of the school, the specifics of the curriculum and the academia in general. Of course, we were very happy about the continuous cognitive and cultural benefits of the immersion program, but even more important to us is that these gifts were given to our daughter in a context of academic excellence, comfort and mutual respect. Almost a year later, we were very impressed with her academic improvement in general, but in Math in particular. Before LYD, Anna struggled with Math in 4th and 5th Grade, which affected her confidence and her self-esteem. After speaking with H. in the first few weeks of class, she explained that Anna has a skill gap that went undetected early one and have lead to numerous other skill gaps. This is because these fundamental math skills were needed to build new skills in later grades. She added that skill gaps create a domino effect and it is very important to help the child immediately. The work she did and the nurturing commitment with our daughter was beyond expectations. Not only she scheduled tutoring sessions and study schedules during and after school, but she managed to individualize the lesson plans and the math curriculum to our daughter’s needs! As a result, Anna caught up on years of gaps in her very first year at LYD, and she achieved an excellent math level by the time she was in Grade 8. She won the LYD Math contest the following year! My daughter went from ‘I can’t do this”, to “I think math is cool!”. Furthermore, her success in math has been a turnover in our daughter’s school and personal life. She went from a silent, shy and reserved teen to a happy, strong and self-confident teenager. Now, her favorite hobby is to beat us at home in mental math or problem solving for fun! Because of the personal attention she was provided at LYD, Anna has built a strong academic foundation, confident learning tools to help her succeed in school and in life. Thanks to H., Anna is considering the French Engineering school INSA for the fall 2012. There are no words to describe how grateful we are for the hard work and the effort for the past few years, so we are left hoping we can show some of it in writing. Here we are expressing a very heartfelt “Merci Beaucoup”, you have touched Anna’s life and made a brighter future for our daughter.
-Tatyana & Alexander K.
Simon and Stella S.
My children joined JJR in preschool and first grade without any French. Within 2 months, they were able to follow the class lessons, which are entirely in French, and formulate and speak simple sentences. JJR’s teachers have a way about encouraging their students to learn. They are consistent about only speaking French and require the students to speak it back. This is unlike the other bilingual/immersion schools our children have attended in Austin where the teachers, while preferring students speak the foreign language, will engage with them when they speak English. My kids have learned so much French and fully integrated into their classes very quickly thanks to JJR’s approach. JJR is a small school with intimate, mixed-age classrooms. Because of the low student to teacher ratio, each student gets individualized attention. JJR’s teachers take time to get to know each child in order to create a customized curriculum for each student. While JJR has a higly academic and rigorous program, the teachers really care about the kids. It shows because my kids genuinely look forward to going to school.
-Kim & Jared S.
Our son Isaac is nearly finished with his first year at Ecole Jean-Jacque Rousseau and we, his parents, are extremely pleased with the progress he’s made in the French language as well as his other academic pursuits. He hears French in the home, but prior to this school year he responded in English. We enrolled him in JJR to encourage his language skills while he was yet young enough acquire fluency more readily. In school Isaac is learning to read in French as well as English and he enjoys picking out books in either language and reading them on his own. The work he is doing is challenging for him, he is engaged in his lessons, and he adores his teacher. Isaac comes home singing songs in French and he likes to show us the things he learning and doing. After a year his vocabulary has grown significantly! We were also impressed with the math and English curriculum and noticed that it was significantly more challenging than found at his grade level at the public school. We are happy with progress our son has made and look forward to another year at JJR!
-Rachel & Jonathan E.
Aliyah and Arthur J.
My daughter was born 8 weeks prematurely. Like many premature children from the time she was in daycare she was academically behind the other kids. She was last to learn colors, alphabet, counting etc.. .We signed her up at Austin International School because languages were important to us and we hoped that the smaller settings would help her. We were however disappointed by the academic level being thought at the school and were shocked when the pre-k teacher told us that trying to read was not important at this age. We later signed her up in one of the top charter schools in Austin. Although we spent a lot of time working with our daughter, after a year and half at the school it became apparent to us that our daughter would not be able to catch-up in a an environment where she was 1 in a group of 28 kids in the classroom. After our experience in Austin International we were weary of trying another French school but after meeting with the director of the school it became apparent this school was different, the family running this school had many years of experience teaching kids ,was passionate about education and believed in a small classroom setting .This was not a foreign language school but first and foremost a school whose education program was geared on academics and most importantly on teaching the kids how to think no just learn a curriculum by heart. When we enrolled our daughter at the school she was put in a classroom of 7 kids and the teachers spent many hours working with her on a one to one basis to help her catch up. My daughter fell in love with the school from the first day she attended and has made tremendous progress since we enrolled her.
My son who was also enrolled in the same charter school as my daughter is very bright but has been diagnosed with ADD. Although he was getting good grades in school he was not reaching his full potential in a large school setting and was getting in trouble for being a class clown. We were so happy with Jean Jacques Rousseau school we convinced the director of the school to open a high school class for my son. Although it is still early in the year we already see that he is being challenged academically and has showed a keen interest in learning foreign languages. If you are looking for a small school environment that goes beyond what is offered in public, charter schools I believe Jean Jacques Rousseau offers world class opportunities not found elsewhere in Austin.
-Henry J., proud parent of Jean-Jacques Rousseau
As we were actively researching many school options for our son to enter kindergarten, we enrolled him in the summer camp at JJR. He thoroughly enjoyed the art and other activities for two weeks during the summer, and we learned that JJR was actually a small school as well. After reviewing all the possibilities, we decided JJR would be the best fit. Academics are strong in all core areas, and the classes are small enough to provide the individual attention necessary to address each child’s specific strengths and needs. Art and music are emphasized as well, with weekly violin lessons part of the curriculum. At the beginning of the year our son spoke essentially no French except for a few numbers and color names, but now he can do kindergarten-level work in all subjects in French. English literacy has not been forgotten; there is a daily English language arts class, which brought him to reading above grade level in English. Every child is given a chance to shine at JJR. Whether it is displaying an art project or competing in an academic competition, the students have many opportunities for enriching activities. I was especially impressed how during the end of year school performance, every single child was featured as a soloist in at least one dance, song, or instrumental piece. All the children in one class also participated in a French-language play, and every one of them had a speaking part. JJR would be a great fit for any child needing a nurturing academic environment in a French immersion setting. We are very happy to have found this school and are looking forward to watching our son grow as he continues attending the school for years to come.
-Allison & Brian B.