Educating The 'French' Way

By 2020-08-20 11:53:54

Living in an ever-evolving, international city like Shanghai provides many families with the daunting task of finding the perfect school for their child. Often the easiest solution is to choose an institution that follows education styles and philosophies we are most familiar with. Yet what may seem unfamiliar at first glance could also be the perfect choice to support your child on their educational journey.

Contrary to popular belief, Lycée Français de Shanghai (LFS) is not just a school for the French-speaking community; there's a lot more to it than meets the eye. This private institution, overseen by the Managing Committee of the Parents' Association and accredited by the Agency for French Education Abroad (AEFE, Agence pour l' enseignement du français à l' étranger) has been educating students from various nationalities for the past 24 years. They recently celebrated the successful opening of its new Yangpu-based Eurocampus, co-shared with the Deutsche Schule Shanghai.


LEED Platinum Certified Campus

As the first school in Asia to obtain the LEED platinum certification, the highest international certification of eco-buildings, with a planned lifespan of 50 years, LFS' new Eurocampus sets a new standard for sustainable development. Striking a balance between form and function, this 56,000 sqm school features the best energy-efficient technologies, modern facilities, and educational tools to offer students an exceptional learning experience. From state-of-the-art science laboratories to art and music studios, a soon-to-be-built Olympic-size swimming pool and a 600-seat theatre, every possible student interest has been taken into consideration. Suited to the school's smaller class sizes, a large gymnasium is easily altered using floor to ceiling curtains. For those excellent air quality days, the school also has an outdoor, multi-sport pitch, framed by a running track, and multiple basketball courts.

Students and parents alike can also enjoy an inviting yet comfortable canteen, serving delicious international dishes for all dietary needs. For its youngest, LFS serves a special nutritious kindergarten menu with options for individual requirements, such as nut allergies and vegetarians.


Developing Essential Learning & Life Skills 

Learning at LFS begins at the age of three in nursery; this is known as 'cycle one' of the five cycles within the LFS curriculum. Each of these cycles represents a period in a student's life and comes with their own learning and development goals. During cycle one, school days and activities are designed to introduce students to basic principles of learning and living harmoniously in society, while also stimulating their sensorial, motor, cognitive, social, and emotional development. Children are given the freedom to express themselves through physical and creative activities, and to cultivate their own interests through inquiry-led, game-based learning approaches. By the time students are ready to join the primary school, they will already be confident, independent, and enthusiastic learners, with strong empathy and tolerance for others.

Within cycles two and three, students are introduced to elements of history, geography, sciences, technology, and culture to facilitate their advancement in oral and written expression, problem-solving in literacy and numeracy, and mature their comprehension of moral and ethical debates, such as cultural diversity, equality, and human rights. To expand interests in creative subjects, beyond their regular timetable, students are encouraged to enrol in some of the school's extracurriculars.

At present, LFS offers 50 extracurricular activities, ranging from athletics, art, performing arts, music, student clubs, and of course cooking! It even arranges a variety of sports, drama, and public speaking competitions across Asia. As both Mr Péchoux, the Executive Director, and Mrs Gouix, the school's Principal, note, these extracurriculars are an inherent part of LFS school life as well as European culture. They are important not only for university applications and personal development, but also for developing a strong school identity.

Mr Péchoux   Executive Director

"When the kids go out even if it's an individual competition they go as LFS, Lycée Français de Shanghai, bearing the colours and flags of the school happily together as one," says Mrs Gouix.

This sense of unity within a community that shares the same philosophy of education was a strong asset during the time of school closures due to the COVID-19 epidemic. From the first day of the crisis, with the support and the resources of the Agency for French Education Abroad network, the school adapted its working methods and developed the use of online, interactive, and stimulating tools to ensure continuity in student learning. For each class level, LFS teachers carefully considered the best methods and pace of learning in order to offer the most efficient e-learning conditions, with students in exam classes receiving special support. The mobilisation, commitment, and flexibility of the teams, as well as daily support of the families, have been powerful drivers through this complex and unprecedented period.


First-rate, Flexible Curriculum & Trilingual Environment

Mrs Gouix, Principal

To graduate, students study eight courses within their chosen stream to complete 'The Baccalauréat' – known as 'le Bac' in France. This world-recognised qualification, attained in the last cycle of LFS through a combination of examinations and coursework taken in French, or also in English or Chinese if the student has chosen its International option, offers graduates the opportunity to apply to top universities located all over the globe.

Being bilingual is a rare and special skill that many of us will never achieve, yet it is becoming more necessary. Recognising the impact a trilingual environment can have, LFS has gone to every effort to encourage the use of all three of its core languages; from small elements such as the labelling of classroom utensils, to larger aspects, such as offering a multi-lingual curriculum. In order to meet the French Ministry of Education's strict criteria, LFS requires its students to study a minimum of 50% of their classes in French, leaving them the flexibility to study the remaining half in either English or Chinese.

Whether it is a child in nursery learning to understand the meaning of sharing and mutual respect in French, to a young teen discovering an important moment in history in English, the use of different educational approaches and styles at LFS helps all students maintain an open mind.

On the other hand, for those who do not come from native French-speaking countries, and enter the school at an older age, LFS offers additional French language support through a special programme called FLESCO. This intensive, award-winning course was specifically developed to help second-language speakers learn, improve, and advance their French at a rapid rate.

Affordable For All

Sending your child to a good school in Shanghai is of course of the utmost importance to all parents, but for some, it comes down to a sum. One important aspect to consider when visiting LFS is that the school is non-profit. All money the school receives goes towards making building improvements, advancements in learning tools, and funding school projects.

"We are non-profit, which means we are not a business. We want to keep it affordable because I think this is part of our responsibility to the community, not only towards the French community but to all communities… We achieve this by asking for the right price for what we offer," explains Mr Péchoux.

Future-Proof Learning

With its flexible curriculum, trilingual environment and wealth of extras, at a lower than average cost, Lycée Français de Shanghai is an excellent option for any student; regardless as to which language they speak. As the French would say, the school has a certain 'je ne sais quoi'.

For more information on how Lycée Français de Shanghai can best support your child's educational journey, contact the admissions team at one of the below to book your visit.