FIGARO DEMAIN – Environmental values are at the heart of the Union School project, an out-of-contract primary school that has just opened in Paris.
Bilingual curriculum in French and English, artistic and sports activities integrated into schooling, as well as homework, Anglo-Saxon uniform, “in a little more rock”, slips Barbara de Baudry d’Asson, founder of Union School. It is in the upscale neighborhoods of western Paris that this non-contract primary school made its first return to school on September 5, in a brand new eco-building, rue de la Faisanderie (16e borough). Premises designed specifically to accommodate 21st century schoolchildrene century.
At a time when public schools are trying, as best they can, to “green” their environment, Union School offers its students recreation areas of 300 square meters as well as a vegetable garden of 60 square meters. Here, sustainable development is a subject in its own right, just like computer coding or theatre. In this school, which has drawn up a green charter, plastic bottles are prohibited and water bottles are required. Meals are 100% organic, from local production. Excellence, development of “soft skills”, environmental and solidarity values are at the heart of the project.
This one was born four years ago in the mind of Barbara de Baudry d’Asson, when her children were educated in London, in an English school. “My goal was to create an ideal and wonderful school“, says this former lawyer, who financed the project by personal contribution, and refuses to see an investment fund enter the capital. “The objectives set by the National Education are laudable and ambitious, but the school trip is often a little less joyful for the students.“, notes for his part Ian Tysoe, 66, director of Union School. In another life, this Englishman ran the highly reputed English Cottesmore Boarding School for eight years, a boarding school of excellence.
Union school, which is inspired by the English model, has also integrated the contributions of neuroscience into its teaching approach, in partnership with the LaPsydDé (laboratory for the development of child education), Sorbonne-CNRS laboratory, at the forefront of the subject. The twelve teachers – many of whom are multilingual and have had teaching experience abroad – recruited from among the 400 candidates who applied to teach in this “dream school», were trained in cognitive sciences.
It must be said that the salaries offered are 50% higher than in the National Education. Because the dream also has a price: tuition at 18,900 euros per year. The 90 students enrolled this year have “bicultural” parents. “Many families returned from England and China, says the founder. We are a long way from the model of 892 establishments labeled “Eco-schools”…
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