Deciding on the right school...Lycee Francais?

Hello,

I am American and my husband is Swiss (french speaking). I am trying to find some foreigners, especially English speaking families or partly English speaking families who send their kids to the Lycée Francais in Bruxelles. We are a family who changes countries a lot so that system would be ideal for us. We also want to raise our children either French or bilingual. Right now I have a 6 year old in the Belgian local school and a 5 year old in Montesorri still. My oldest is having a terrible time integrating with the Belgian kids. They are not letting him play at recess and change all the rules of the game when he does play. He hasn't made one friend yet and he has been there 4 months. The kids are all Belgian and they practically act like they have never seen a foreigner. My son speaks french at about a 70% capacity so he does okay. He is doing excellent in his school work and the teacher loves him, but even she admits how mean the other children are. She said we have bad luck with the other kids in the class. Next year his brother will start primary and we are considering putting them both into the Lycée because we may move in a few years and it would be great to keep them into the same system. If my oldest finally integrates and makes friends however, I will leave him in the local school. It has been so hard on him though.
Does anyone know what it is like in Lycée Francais? So far I only have the opinion of French and Belgian people and it will not be the same for my kids who will be foreigners there I am sure! I would love to find some non-Belgian or non-French families who have sent there kids there and get some advice. And the Lycée won't let us visit the school or classrooms. They are very friendly that's for sure!
Thanks so much for any advice!

LF is great if you know you are likely to change countries and having a child in an AEFE school gives you priority to the rest around the world. The curriculum is what it is, if you're happy with it, then fine for you.

A few disadvantages of LF in Uccle.
1)If you don't live nearby, it can be a long trip in a car or school bus. It also means you won't be living next to classmates. It might mean your children will be limited in what they can do after school for activities, as they might not be back in time!
2) The term dates at LF are different to local school dates and most of the international schools also follow as close as possible local schools dates. It means some holiday weeks at LF, you won't find any stages available or any children's events going on, as everyone else is at school.

Which local school is your eldest at? At the local schools where I live, many of them have a high proportion of non Belgian children and a good mix. At our children's primaire, about 40% are not Belgian, that 40% contains over 30 nationalities : biggest minority languages are English, Spanish and Polish. It means both the children are used to other cultures and the teachers are used to parents with other views of education! I wonder if you have chosen the wrong school for your child. Consider looking for alternatives. It sounds like your child is in Mater Dei or Notre Dame des Graces :-) great schools, but almost completely Belgian!

Thanks for your message. We do live close to LF about a 10 minute drive. My eldest is at Verrewinkel right now just around the corner. Where do your go that have 40% non-Belgians? That's really the problem I think. The kids just aren't used to it and they are treating my son like an Alien practically. And he is a really sporty active kid. He just wanted to play football and basketball during the recess and he can't. It is becoming so annoying. Especially since he loves the rest of the school and I really love the school.

Verrewinkel is a very middle class school but no surprise that it's nearly all Belgian as very few expats down that way, I've only met one English speaker in the immediate area. The nearest schools likely to have a higher percentage of expats are Hamaide, Plein Air, Décroly, maybe a bit less likely Eglantiers plus the 3 St Job schools. There is an Uccle communale which specialises in sport, that's Centre-André Didier, but it's an awful long way away.

If he's not already doing sport outside school, then get him doing it. There's loads of choice here.

Do you not have the class list where you can invite children around? When it comes to socialising, sometimes the parents need to make the decisions, even if the children initially say they don't like the idea. So just send some invites out. Or send out a message that your son X has joined basketball team Y and would anyone like to join his team too?

Have you thought about moving your 5 year old now and not next year? If your Montessori is true to the principles, it can be quite a shock to go from a school where the child makes the choices, to one where the regime can seem well regimental? Most children go to maternelle together and move up a class to 1ere primaire. It's far harder to come in as the new kid when much of the class would have known each other for 3 or 4 years already IN ADDITION to the difference between maternelle and primaire. I'd normally recommend children to move in 3e maternelle to get used to a Belgian school there, then the next year they are ready for primaire better.

wow schoolmum, love you! you are awesome by all the knowledge that you have regarding the schools! healthymum... getting worried as time coming closer for us to move to Belgium/Luxembourg... still deciding. I am American as well but my husband is Belgian. The girls (13) have been studying the last four years in a British system in Middle East.
getting worried now for their move to Belgium!!!

hi my familly and i are going to move to Brussels in december 2013. we are looking for good school for our children ( two girls are 9 and a boy are 8). i heard some about LF in Uccle but i'm still thinking on decision because my children don't speak franch. could you give me some more informations? it will be very helpfull for me. thank you . Olga

Olga, your idea of LF might be a complete non starter 1) because there is in all likelihood no places and 2) because they have no French.

Choose your school on work location, budget and communes which are easier to find places than others, eg Watermael-Boitsfort is easy compared to Ixelles.

Thanks for advise:)
It s nice of you.

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