Six months ago, we met Barbara de Baudry d’Asson, the founder of Union School Paris, who showed us in detail its bilingual school project for two to eleven year olds, which will open next September. Today, the construction of the building is nearing completion and the teaching team is complete. She gave us her enthusiasm and didn’t hide her impatience to hear the laughter of the children animating the toy.
Hi Barbara, first of all remind us of the basics of your school
In short, a new bilingual school has opened in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, 27 rue de La Faisanderie. Our students from the very small section up to CM2 will practice English 5.30 pm each week, immersing the native teachers. Children move from one language to another throughout the day. We will teach the National Education program by going even further than their expectations and also following the English curriculum.
What has been the biggest improvement since our last interview?
Without a doubt, the construction of the building. Six months later, we were at the foundation. Today carpenters and painters are busy in the classrooms, the gymnasium and the library. The architects of REV Studio cabinet has done a remarkable job for the building itself, for the layout and organization of the classrooms, the gymnasium, the fulfillment of the outdoor spaces with three playgrounds and a vegetable garden. Our graphic designers – PoliceStudio – take care of all interior signage in accordance with our image.
So the kids will be happy to enter the new school …
In fact. on Union School in Paris, everything can be new and thought out to the smallest detail. We are also in a participatory logic because the future mistresses of our kindergarten classes are fully engaged with the layout and choice of equipment. Many parts of our furniture are signed by Gambettes, creator of products that combine design, ergonomics and comfort. This is a real team work with full reflection done on top. We met at entire teaching staff once a month in Paris at a dinner to discuss various projects. It creates a real bond and allows us to approach the start of the school year by becoming anything but “strangers”.
So is the recruitment of your educational team complete?
Yes, all staff and faculty have been recruited for the start of the school year. We have already started sharing some profiles on our social networks. The first CV was posted on LinkedIn made about 2,000 views in 24 hours. It testifies to the interest aroused at the birth of our school, but also echoes Ellen’s unique and inspiring career, leading the group of kindergarten teachers. His thirty years of experience have already allowed him to live many educational adventures. In particular, he runs a bilingual school in Singapore and teaches at the European School of Strasbourg, a head of the National Education system originally provided for families whose parents work in European institutions. Ellen will teach English for small and medium sections, along with her younger friend and an assistant. He’s amazing, and he’s not the only one!
Can we discuss other profiles?
We can also mention Marie-Laurence Hagopian, who oversaw the coordination of the two curricula for the school. From Marseille, he studied and worked in the United Kingdom for 18 years where he earned a Master’s degree dedicated to Research in Applied Linguistics. A French teacher at various renowned private schools in London, including Norland Place School, she has always loved being a part of children’s educational adventure. As he himself: I am there to help them reach their full potential, not only academically, but also to explore and develop their talents so that they can become the happiest and most fulfilled version of themselves. “. Nice promise! For our readers, this name you do not know because we used to relay many cultural events organized by Marie-Laurence in London, especially. the meeting with director Azize Kaboucheduring a cocktail party and private screening.
Obviously it is impossible to talk about everything. But I will still mention another teacher, born in Toronto, who grew up in Serbia where he attended the French School of Belgrade. A teacher at an international bilingual school for five years, she speaks six languages and, icing the cake, she plays football. He needs to get along well with the students and be able to challenge them to the ball in our toys (smile). He came to Union School Paris with all his joy and passion for education.
As you can see, the framework laid out by our director Ian Tysoe is very strong. So we made sure that both curricula would be a very good model. We also withdraw class hours from our teachers so they can plan and coordinate between pairs.
You open nine classes to twenty students from the very small section to CM2. Can we still register?
We get a number of requests each week, but there are still places, yes. Registration always follows the same process. We want to meet with all the families to see if they “fit” the philosophy of our establishment. This happens face to face or via video conference when they are abroad.
The third exchange is exclusively dedicated to children. That way they can ask all the questions they want about the school. This is important so that they can project themselves as much as possible and already feel at home. The questions are usually related to the canteen, schedule, sports … It’s an open and “friendly” conversation because we want to break the image of the traditional director and make him or her easily accessible.
During these exchanges we sometimes experience pure moments of joy. We have the example of a four-year-old girl who told Ian Tysoe, our director. She told him about school, classrooms and told him everything would be new. Then she would look at him with her big eyes and say to him with her natural But you’re not new, you are “. Very funny.
We already feel a lot of closeness with the parents…
A conspiracy was born that it was really quick between our team and the families. And it can go beyond the simple structure of education. Other parents who have never found an apartment sometimes ask me to help them with their search. Others have called me by my name or invited me to dinner. I think our personality – that of school makers and administrators – is gradually spreading. It would be a different establishment too for that reason. A bond of trust was formed even before the school opened. Parents are an important part of the project. My door, like that of Ian or Katia, our “magician and super school assistant” is always open.
More than a new bilingual school, can we say that Union School Paris is a big family?
This is exactly the impression we have. Also, while the school hasn’t even opened its doors, we’re getting closer to 1,500 followers on Instagram. We are very active on social networks. The first Union School video released was viewed more than 7,000 times on LinkedIn, like the first photo of the building. That is to say how much is expected.
You’re talking about Instagram, but we also noticed the school on Spotify. Pasabta mi …
So far we have five Spotify playlists. Finally, I asked the teachers to tell me their favorite songs. Their inspirations at the time or what made them shiver. One of them, who was from India, offered me a Hindi song. Another opted for Ukrainian rock, as he took the last plane to leave Ukraine before the fighting began. These songs reflect a part of their personality or their history. It is also possible to listen to the playlist of the founding team or the teenagers. It provides a different perspective on the school.
How do you imagine the day of the new year at school?
I find myself with a broom (laughter) sweeping the classrooms. This dream shows how much I want everyone to be ready for D-Day and how much I can’t wait to get the job done. But everything will be available in early September, I can assure you. On the first day of school, from 4pm to 7pm, we organized a big party where the kids, the parents, the mayor were invited … and in general- all the people who contributed to the adventure, who were given time and advice, were sometimes free. I want that day that all the families can walk around the school to fit the place. At Union School, we’re all really here for the kids, that’s why.