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Old 02-10-2008, 07:17 AM
846 posts, read 3,004,100 times
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Does anyone have any experience with Lycee Rochambeau in Chevy Chase?

I assume that classes are taught exclusively in French (their web site is nearly exclusively in French), and I gather that their curriculum is based on the National Curriculum of France, is that right?

Does anyone know whether they'll let a kid into first/second grade who doesn't yet speak French? I'm sure most kids would pick it up within a year or two. How about their pre-school program?

Does anyone know anything else about the place?

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Old 02-14-2008, 10:56 AM
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Hi vanyali,

I'm actually a former student of the Lycée Rochambeau, which I attended from 1986-1990 (7th through 10th grade), so a good while back. The classes are indeed held exclusively in French, and they do follow France's national curriculum, although I understand they now also offer the IB - not an issue for a first or second-grade child, but worth noting.

As to whether they'll admit a child who does not yet speak French I'm not sure; the best thing to do is to give them a call. The school's main purpose is to replicate the French educational system so that children who go back to France don't fall behind. At the time I attended, the school had mostly diplomats' and expats' kids as students, the very near total of whom were native French speakers. That also means that their parents were almost always native French speakers. I remember being surprised at how insular the world surrounding the Lycée was; don't underestimate cultural differences between the States and France if you are neither French nor a native French speaker. This may have changed since I was there, but given the population they cater to, I'm not sure that has changed much.

I'm assuming that your approach is to school your child there for him or her to learn French. The question is whether you are willing to accept that the transfer back into the American educational system will be a bit of an adjustment. My experience of the French educational system - in the higher grades, anyway - has been that it is both demanding and very structured. For a student motivated to please his or her teachers, that's great, but I have seen students with even the tiniest rebellious streak get chewed up and spit out. Again, this is based on my experience in higher grades a long time ago, but I think that even if the system has gained in flexibility since then, you will find that most of that still holds true.

The best thing for you to do is to call the school and see if you think that your child might thrive there.

Good luck!
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