We are an international family : mother is American, dad is Mexican, the 3 children are trilingual and have lived and traveled all over the world.
We found your school four years ago, when our eldest son started having some real problems in his seconde. He is what some poople like to call “enfant doué”: a kid with a very high IQ, very intuitive, great at math and science, and an insatiable appetite for reading. He was never a model student, since he as soon as he knows a topic, he quickly loses interest in repeating it time and again. At the time, he was in the Section Internationale in the Lycee de Sèvres, and he had given up going to class, was very depressive and had completely lost confidence in himself.
From the moment he arrived at the Montessori and you welcomed him with open arms, he understood that he had finally found an ally in what is otherwise a very antagonistic French education system.
He always knew that you would understand his problems, and that your flexibility allowed him to be honest with you. Your openness was a big relief to us since, as his adolescence led him down some very difficult times, we knew he had the confidence to talk to you.
While he never became a top student, your respect for the individual, and the focused one on one help that you and the Montessori offered allowed him to believe in himself once again. Fast forward to 2011, and he has now been accepted at the reputed Reed College , in Oregon , USA , to study neuroscience.
Our second boy was always a “just-ok” student in the french public system, always attracted to the “bad” kids, and constantly getting in trouble. He always thought that being good in school was not “cool”. This all changed at the Montessori, where he kept getting your encouragement as he increased his effort, and started to realize that being the best student was indeed cool. In 2008-2009 he had an amazing seconde at the Montessori, which led to him being invited to the prestigious United World College of the Atlantic .
There he is about to finish his IB, as one of the top 10 students in his class. And, just last week he got news that he has been accepted to Stanford University, one of the most prestigious and competitive schools in the world!
Our third boy is very bright young man, with amazing energy, and with a very strong sense of self. He has had a troubled education since a very young age because he refuses to adhere to what he perceives as an arbitrary school system. With the onset of adolescence, all of these issues have only become worse. While at the Montessori, he found great solace in you, personally. Your commitment to helping him and going beyond the line of duty has been remarkable.
I have seen him on the phone with you at midnight on a saturday night, as you help him work out his personal issues. Your guidance has been invaluable as he learns to manage his temper in order to make the best out of his remarkable capabilities.
Our decision to come to France 12 years ago was greatly influenced by what we knew about the French school system – the unequaled breath and depth of its Baccalaureate. Little did we know that there is another side to the coin – in order to take advantage of the system, you must fit into a mould. And, if you don’t fit, you will certainly suffer enormously, and probably fail.
Your personal attitude and commitment to the individual make the Montessori the one place where you can have both – the greatness of the French education system, and the freedom to be yourself.
We sincerely hope this great adventure will not end, and wish you all our best as you try to continue moving forward the wonderful environment you have created.
DV. and LT.