“Agile Minds, Open Hearts, Bright Futures.” This is the motto of The École. Formerly known as the École Internationale de New York (EINY), it has been functioning from 2009 onwards in the Flatiron District. It started with only about twenty students. Today, it counts more than 200 students who take courses in both French and English from nursery through the 8th grade.
The school received a makeover in 2017 when a parent couple bought the school from its American owner. Laurence and Philippe Roux did things on a big scale: a new name, a new logo – five multicolored dialogue boxes symbolizing bilingualism – and nearly 9 150 square feet of additional space.
Keeping an Individualized Approach
The new space is located on the ground floor and basement of the school’s original building.* At the end of last year, the restaurant on the lower floors of the building closed, and The École took over their lease. Work is now in progress to build a modern educational space.
The additional classrooms will receive cutting-edge resources and technology. “Every space is designed to be multipurpose,” the new owners say. Flooded with light from skylights and a glass roof, the new laboratories, auditorium, and workshops will allow for new activities. At the entrance, there will be a lobby where parents can convene to wait for their children to be let out.
“The École started with less than one class for each grade,” recalls Laurence Roux. “With the additional space, we can have two classes per grade.” But there are no plans of expanding any further. “To ensure quality education, we limit the class size to 20 students. We want to remain human-sized and preserve our community spirit.”
A Unique Educational Project
“We want to offer our students the best of both educational worlds: we try and blend the French academic structure with the flexibility and spirit of inquiry so dear to the Americans.” Students learn cursive and script writing as well as both methodologies of mathematics. In this “dual language program,” study time is equally divided between the two languages.
The École is accredited by the French Ministry of Education and the Agency for French Education Abroad (AEFE). Apart from its excellent results, the school forms a true community, which welcomes expatriates and makes it easier for them to integrate. “Our young and dynamic teachers turn the school into an innovative teaching laboratory.” Another notable feature of the school is that only a third of the students come from French families. The others belong to multicultural or American families.
*Inaugurated at the start of the 2015 school year, the Maternelle Building on Fifth Avenue is a 10-minute walk from the main building and just a two-minute from the historic Flatiron Building.