FAQ Early Learning

  1.  Does my child have to be bilingual to be accepted into BIS?

  2.  Who will be teaching my child?

  3.  Is there an after school care service?

  4.  What will my child’s timetable be?

  5.  What equipment do we need to buy?

  6.  Is the French programme the same as the French National program?

  7.  How long does it take for a child to become bilingual?

  8.  What about children whose mother-tongue is neither French nor English?

  9.  Can my child integrate easily into another school if we must leave?

 10.  Do I have to give notice if my child will leave BIS?

 11.  Can my child take a nap in the afternoon?

 
 

1. Does my child have to be bilingual to be accepted into BIS?

Your child does not have to be bilingual. However, we do have bilingual children at the school. Our small class sizes, bilingual teaching partners and our teaching methods (specific to BIS), will allow your child to progress in all curricular areas, in their 1st language (English) and in their 2nd language (French). Most of our students only speak their mother tongue when they begin at BIS.

2. Who will be teaching my child?

All pupils in Early Learning and Primary have two teachers – an Anglophone and a Francophone. These are your child’s main teachers. Your child is taught by specialist teachers for Music, Spanish and Sport. The whole teaching team work together, in conjunction with the parents, to ensure that each child is making progress across the curriculum. 
In Early Learning, there is also a full time French Teaching Assistant who also runs the after school child-minding service / 'garderie' from 16.15. 

3. Is there an after school care service?

This is available Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday until 17.15, and also in the morning between 08.30 and 08.45. If enough notice is given, it is possible to leave your child until 18.00. For any further questions, please contact the secretary.

4. What will my child’s timetable be?

The children in Early Learning have a 4 day week (excluding Wednesday). The Primary department has school on Wednesday morning also. The school day is from 09.00 – 16.00 including an hour and 15 minutes for lunch and recreation. 

5. What equipment do we need to buy?

All material is provided by BIS, except the contents of the pencil case for Primary students. This should be bought and regularly checked by the parents in case it needs to be renewed.
 
Included: exercise books; textbooks; photocopies; art materials; specific class equipment; access to computers; iPads; access to internet via the school wifi; most of the short school excursions within class time (visits to the museum or theatre). 
 
Not included: personal material; external exams; private music lessons; personal insurance; excursions outside of class time and end of year trip. 

6. Is the French programme the same as the French National program?

The programme of the core subjects (French and Mathematics) is covered in whole. There are less hours taught in French however, the small class sizes allow for the classes to proceed at a good pace. 

7. How long does it take for a child to become bilingual?

First of all, the child has to become familiar with hearing a new language, then to understand what is being said in everyday situations with a progressive understanding of instructions, activities and stories in the school environment.
At the same time he begins to build-up a vocabulary whereby he is able to answer short questions and make simple sentences. Little by little he is able to construct longer sentences, relate his activities and retell stories.
He begins to write in the 2nd Language much later, in Primary, after the age of 8.
It is frequent that children do not want to speak their 2nd Language at home, especially if the language is not spoken by the parents and this is normal; therefore it is difficult for parents to measure their child's progress.
Each child is different and progresses at his own rhythm and so it is not easy to give a specific amount of time required to become bilingual. In Primary, two years is the minimum for a child to be able to communicate with reasonable fluency, longer than this for younger children.
Any contact with the 2nd Language outside of school is actively encouraged, e.g. children's programmes (television or DVD), cartoons, stories and games and also play-times with friends, who speak the language.

8. What about children whose mother-tongue is neither French nor English?

It is most important that these children continue to speak and progress in their mother-tongue at home with their family. It is a sound base for learning a second and later third language.
At BIS the child will have a first language for his learning activities, either French or English, carefully chosen by his parents after discussion with the teaching staff.

9.  Can my child integrate easily into another school if we must leave ?

One of our missions at BIS is to ensure that all students (French or other) are able to progress academically whatever stage they are at, and this includes preparation and passage into another school or system if the child moves on.  As official curricula are respected within each learning cycle, and school reports are extremely detailed, pupils from BIS can easily enroll at other schools, public or private, in France or abroad, in Early Learning or Primary, BIS is under contract with the ‘Education Nationale’, and therefore, passage into a public primary school, or into a public or private ‘collège’ is done on a simple reference from the Head teacher. In Bordeaux, there now exists international/American sections in some of both the public and private colleges and 'lycées', and this allows the continuation of study in English (generally at a lower level than here at BIS). Admissions are usually based on competence tests in English, and with a certificate from BIS saying that the pupil is capable of moving into the next year of study.

10.  Do I have to give notice if my child will leave BIS?

For pupils who leave BIS, a full school term’s notice is required (see details in the contract signed before all enrolments). This obligatory and necessary period allows for a smooth passage into another school or system, French or otherwise. It also allows the school to respect class numbers at each academic level, and to be informed of places available for those pupils on the school’s waiting list.

11.  Can my child take a nap in the afternoon?

Pupils that stay for the whole day (from 3 years old) do not generally need to take a nap during school time. However, if a child from Reception or Year 1 appears to be very tired in the afternoons we can propose that he or she rests in a designated rest area.