At EPIM, private international schools in Marseille and Aix-en-Provence (Luynes), consisting of a kindergarten and elementary school, under the defined and formalized guidance of two curriculum directors, the main objective is to preparing children to learn and adapt to any situation. For this reason, EPIM is particularly selective in the recruitment of their teachers. Additionally, a comprehensive evaluation system is in place throughout the year, both to measure the level of children's learning and advancement, and also to improve the practice of teaching.
The EPIM meets the needs of society today and tomorrow: learning to adapt
Because every parent is faced with numerous uncertainties regarding the future for their child: what skills should he have and which will be most relevant? What profession will they choose? Will they have difficulty finding a job? etc. Each child will experience quite varied work and social environments. In this case, adapting, for the child who will become adult, is being prepared to learn when faced with new situations.
At EPIM, in addition to bilingual teaching and as in every other school in France and around the world, it is important to establish the academic knowledge, which is gained through the acquisition of reading and writing skills, by learning and memorization of grammatical rules and spelling, by regular mental calculations, the comprehension of math concepts, by memorizing poems and writing text lessons, the preparation and presentation of expositions. Working at home from the PC, taking into account the child's age and working style is also a way for children to consolidate their learning.
However, at EPIM, it is also important to teach the student to adapt to very different situations. And in this case, the method used by the child, and those proposed by the teacher, are just as important as the knowledge acquired.
At EPIM, either as in French or in English, it is as important to communicate knowledge already structured as to provide a degree of autonomy sufficient to enable the child to support his actions and his progress in the class.
EPIM's commitment is to give the child a vital role in his/her learning
In the classroom at EPIM, the teacher wants children to learn to react to situations, mainly through play for younger children in the early years of kindergarten. The teacher identifies interests of children and the obstacles they may face. They respond to requests with adapted propositions. They harmonize with the learning style of each child, using different methods of learning to read, for example, according to the facilities of the child.
They create a climate of trust that allows the child to express their doubts, questions, and asserts their knowledge and skills.
For teachers, it is an attitude of tolerance used that emphasizes the need to provide the means to enable all children to progress, each with individual abilities, related to their own personal history, academic or other. They know how to take advantage of reduced class size (16 students maximum) offering a wide variety of activities, or differentiated, adapted to each child allowing them to reach their potential. Taking this diversity into account is almost even more essential than the primary mission of EPIM which is to welcome all children in the world. The requirements also differ according to the child's language and level.
The ultimate goal is to motivate the child in their learning from an early age. If he/she feels personally concerned, if the activities that are proposed are meaningful to him/her, then he will want to learn. The role of the teacher of EPIM is to construct situations where the child can exercise their initiative, and can make about what he/she will learn.
At EPIM, the child understands, "Yes, I am learning for myself!"
In practice, from an early age, the teacher works essentially to develop the child's reasoning through manipulation and experimentation.Later, with the older students, the teachers encourage the students to do research, giving them the opportunities to work in a group with the same language level to share their knowledge. By promoting mentoring, EPIM will allow the child to develop curiosity and critical thinking as well as analytical skills.
It is about developing individual work and self-reflection where the child learns to use the tools at their disposal: games, books, computers, projects, presentations, for work involving writing, mathematics, science ... that allow the pupil to use all his/her skills and expertise.
The themes are then used not only in the so-called traditional subjects, English and French
languages, mathematics and science, but also in the fundamental subjects such as personal and social development, sport, not to mention the great importance given to the arts.The broad objectives that govern the program at EPIM are:
- Language skills, French or English, communication, playing, evocative and written language
- Graphics and writing activities
- Living together
- Speaking and expression with the body
- Exploring the world: the senses, material, objects, areas of life, environment, hygiene and health, space, time
- Mathematics: shapes, sizes, quantities, numbers
- The awareness and discrimination, imagination and creation: the artsElementary (Primary classes):
- Mastery of oral language, reading and writing in French and English, taught as the first or second language according to the child's native language
- Mathematics, knowledge and application
- History and geography
- The science and technology education
- Application of conventional information and communication techniques
- Arts education with visual arts, music and theater
- Physical Education and Sports
- Civil education
- Discovery of the world
- Learning about life within the school community
These objectives meet the criteria of the requirements of the International Program of Education as well as the "common core of knowledge and skills" as defined by the French National Education.
In each of its establishments, EPIM provides children access to a library filled with French and English books, computers, gyms or sports fields, and holds strong partnerships with major theaters in the region, sailing clubs, swimming pools, museums etc.
At EPIM, the teacher adapts to the child to help them to learn to adapt
Every year, EPIM receives a large number of applications for teaching positions, and thus maintains a high level of requirements for teachers who join their team. The qualifications and experience EPIM requires from its teachers should cover the following aspects:
- Disciplinary and cultural
- Oral and written command of English or French
- Developed teaching skills
- Ability to take into account student diversity, empathy, emotional education
- Classroom management
- Information technology and communication skills
- Teamwork and cooperation with all EPIM staff members
- Ability to reflect upon their practice, innovation, self-study
- Ability to act ethically and responsibly
- Student evaluation skills
At EPIM, teachers are as competent in teaching children as in the evaluation their results. Child assessment and evaluation at EPIM
Child assessment is central in our kindergarten and elementary (primary) school classes.
Kindergarten meets the essential requirement of preparing the child for the autonomy necessary to ensure basic learning. It is in these early years that children acquire the knowledge and skills needed continue on in elementary school.
Throughout each year of kindergarten and elementary school in EPIM, student achievement is assessed on a regular basis with the results systematically communicated to parents in the form of reports or quarterly newsletters in English and French accompanied by detailed comments on individual acquisitions, the challenges at hand and actions to be taken.
These report cards, developed by the EPIM, are recognized by the European Council of International Schools (ECIS), as well as by the French school inspection, in order to meet the quality standards of the international program and the national curriculum of the UK, as well as the criteria that the National Education expects from a French school.
With an academic file that follows the child throughout their learning and schooling, the EPIM student, whether French or international, is prepared to easily integrate either into another international school in the world, a private or public French middle school, an international middle school such as IBS at Luynes, or into the international sections of collège Monod in Pennes Mirabeau and collège Mignet in Aix.
A EPIM, the academic record of each child is both international and French
In French as in English, evaluations remain a major component at EPIM, firstly because it enhances the learning process and secondly because it offers parents and children the possibility of a read dialogue regarding learning and processing skills.
The purpose of the assessment differs depending on when it occurs during the school year and/or the learning process:
- The first evaluation at EPIM, a diagnostic evaluation, is done at beginning of the year: The teacher analyzes the situations, needs, profiles and pre-requisites of the students. This allows them to locate the child's level, abilities, skills, and to define individual and collective goals of the class. Assessment material developed by the Departmental Academic Inspection is utilized throughout the year starting with the oldest class of kindergarten.
- Later, during the year, the teacher conducts a formative assessment to gather information on judging the quality of learning achieved. This reveals where the students are in their curriculum program regarding precise given objectives. The teacher can then tailor the curriculum and set up adjusted situations for each individual student, playing on smaller class sizes.
Formative evaluations at EPIM are done naturally throughout the year, everyday, around quizzes, presentations, etc. for older children, while the assessment of the younger students is done by observing the behavior of their development in comparison to their behavior at the beginning of the year, etc.
According to ages, formative evaluations focus on the goals in active situations: autonomy and responsibility, awareness of weaknesses, strengths, willingness to grow, participation in an individual and/or collective adventure, the appropriate functioning and attainment of a personal project, the ability to inform others, etc.
A portfolio brings together the work that the child produced during the school year, the assessments of the teacher, his remarks on the work of the child, and methods to help children improve their learning.
At EPIM we seek to define common formative assessment grid for the entire teaching team on which these observations are reported. In addition, national assessments of CE1 and CM2, as far as the international equivalent, are also used and communicated to interested parents. Finally, EPIM is a registered Cambridge Exam Preparation Center. The review of the University of Cambridge, recognized worldwide, delivers dipolomas to non-native English or bilingual students for their English language skills.
- At the end of the year, a summative assessment, measures the skills and compares with the set goals for learning that year. This assessment reflects the expected level of ambition.
At EPIM, competency assessments can improve learning for children as well as the teachers personal practice
EPIM does not use the French grading system, out of 10 or out of 20, increasingly criticized throughout France, as it focuses on their weaknesses. What does a 5 / 10 on a reading assignment signify to a primary student? That he/she can not read? Does he/she have difficulties reading in front of his/her classmates? Has the teacher not taught them how to read? This rating system is particularly subjective, as one must first know what they are grading on: the acquisition of ephemeral knowledge or true competence of the child?
Thus, as practiced by international schools worldwide, EPIM uses the Fillon reform of 2005 to assess the level of learning and knowledge skills of children based upon the following criteria whether knowledge has been :
- Being acquired
These assessments are given based upon the general age group.
By proposing the possibility of addressing and correcting each criteria evaluated, the child then has the opportunity to work on his/her weaknesses with a readjusted program, much more effective than 10/20 on an assignment.
From this perspective, evaluation is much more based on skills to achieve than the final result. Competence assessment allows EPIM always know what the student has acquired, what is being acquired and the child has not yet acquired.
The assessment of skills also allows the teachers at EPIM to recognize what they can do to help the child gain confidence in him/herself, esteem and respect. A 3 / 20 on an assignement does not support this image and can destroy a child's confidence in the longterm.
It also gives the child the right to make mistakes in estimating their achievements over time, building on the recent progress, or by questioning their accomplishments when they are not integrated.
Finally, skills assessment practiced at EPIM allows the child and his family to have access to explicit knowledge regarding concepts and expectations.
With the assessments, the only pressure experienced by the child is that of success, not the fear of failure.At EPIM, mistakes help children identify the areas where they need to improve: they are not a means of punishment.