- Although teaching at EPIM is conducted in two languages, we do not call ourselves a “bilingual school” as we feel this term may cause confusion with a language school. At EPIM, we consider multilingualism to be a learning tool as opposed to an independent subject of study.
We are not a bilingual school; we are an international school with a dual language immersion learning environment. Teachers follow a rigorous academic program which is inspired by both French and international programs, in at least two languages.
- Each EPIM student has two head teachers, one native French speaking teacher and one native English speaking teacher. Every week, the child spends two and a half days with one teacher and two and a half days with the other teacher, so that in the end the curriculum is taught 50% in English and 50% in French.
- Curriculum classes (during school hours): Curriculum classes in languages other than French or English are provided on a case by case basis, to respond to the different needs of EPIM’s international or multicultural families. The list of languages offered is therefore subject to change from one year to the next. For several years now, EPIM has offered curriculum foreign language classes for native speakers of German, Dutch and Italian. EPIM can also cater to specific requests for other languages, on an on-demand basis.
- Extra-curricular classes (outside school hours): may also be organized, such as the case for example with Spanish, which is offered outside of school hours and with a more leisurely learning approach.
- A child’s experience in a dual-language immersion learning environment is naturally adapted to his or her level of competency in each language. Non-French speaking children are asked to enroll in an “FLE” course (Français Langue Etrangère - French as a Second Language) to support their acquisition of French language skills. The FLE course begins by teaching oral skills in French and progresses to writing and grammar only once the child is comfortable understanding and communicating in French. On average, it takes about two years to prepare a non-native French speaking child to approach the French national academic program full on.
Non-English speaking children may either follow the standard curriculum which is fully adapted to their needs, or add curriculum classes in their own native language, for those children who speak neither English nor French as a native language.
- The method and rhythm used to work with each child is determined by that child’s native fluency. Before the school year starts, teachers organize their lesson plans according to each child’s language competencies and in collaboration with the school’s Faculty directors.
- EPIM accepts children without discrimination of gender, race, religion or nationality. Admissions in Kindergarten and Primary School are based on an open policy and each application is considered after meeting with one of the school Directors or teachers. The objective of this meeting is to determine how the child will benefit from the school curriculum and contribute positively to the school community. Admissions at EPIM are not based on academic merit.
- Enrolment of special needs children are considered on a case-by-case basis. Each special needs child is considered individually and based on the specific circumstances in which the child may benefit from EPIM’s international curriculum and dual language immersion.
- EPIM is pleased to offer a unique opportunity for young children to adapt to their new school environment starting at 2 years old, whether or not they are already toilet trained.
- Adapting to an international school like EPIM is not a challenge in and of itself, because our mission is, on the contrary, to adapt to the needs of each child. An individualized program is devised for each child based on his or her specific needs. Students are encouraged to play the leading role in their education which means that they work with their teachers and not for their teachers, while learning to become independent learners and to be mutually responsible for each other. An adaptation period is sometimes necessary for a child who was previously in a passive learning environment, as he or she is guided to learn to use their own curiosity as a vehicle for learning.
- EPIM is always very proud to see its graduating or repatriated students exceed national and international academic standards, following their experience at EPIM. Students who plan to return home to their national schooling systems or who come to Provence with their families for an indefinite period of time may opt for any type of French or international schooling system following their experience at EPIM. All of our students integrate into post-EPIM school environments with ease and move on to engage in successful higher learning. EPIM students score among the top schools in France on the French national evaluation exams and every year, Cambridge exams are passed with very high scores.
- Thanks to the optional language classes offered at EPIM, expatriated students may continue to progress at a normal rhythm in their native language while learning French and/or English at the same time. Classes are taught by teachers specialized in the academic program of their home country and experience has shown that our curriculum foreign language classes are very well adapted to the needs of children who come to Provence for only a short period of time before returning home.
- Because children gain the most benefit from close and effective communications between parents and teachers, both individual and group parent teacher meetings are organized multiple times throughout the school year.
o One-on-one meetings are set up with each family once every trimester (3 / year). These are 15-minute sessions in which a child’s two head teachers provide a résumé of the child’s level and ongoing work at school.
o Group meetings are organized once during each school period (in between holidays; 5/year). In these meetings, one of the two head teachers presents the class’s ongoing work to all of the families at once.
- Finally, report cards are prepared and distributed at the end of each term (3/year). The first two cards provide a summarized review of each child’s skills and level of learning, and the final end-of-year report card provides a more detailed evaluation of the child’s accomplishments and skills.
Combined, these meetings and report cards allow for parents and teachers to meet on average once every 3 weeks throughout the school year. In addition, at any time during the year, parents are more than welcome to request an appointment with one or both of their child’s head teachers as well as with the school’s English or French Curriculum Director, to discuss any matter or concern.
- During school hours, children are required to wear the EPIM school uniform which consists of top wear only from Monday to Thursday (white polo shirt and blue sweatshirt with any appropriate bottom wear), and a full sportswear uniform on Fridays (blue polo shirt, blue sweatshirt and grey sports pants).
- The EPIM Parent Teacher Association brings together the families of children actively enrolled at EPIM, who share a willingness to support the development of the school’s environment and community through volunteer efforts or financial aid. The EPIM PTA was founded in 2011 to promote the values of our children’s school off campus and to support the realization of quality academic programs on campus.
Every EPIM family is automatically a member of the PTA, because every child benefits from its projects and support. At this time, there is no required set annual membership fee to pay; however, this is subject to change from one year to the next. Donations are welcome at any time.