Trillium International school set to open doors in September 2017

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Looking to enroll her children into a bilingual school, Audrey Braud was presented with a choice of three schools within her commutable area. This limited choice, coupled with the cost of school fees (varying from 15-30k euros per year), made enrollment prohibitive. Frustrated, this former Financial Director decided to investigate the possibility of opening her own school.

Her research revealed that whilst existing schools offered a respectable curriculum, the method of teaching was rather standardised. “We are in 2017 and I feel the French school system is the same as it was a century ago.” Audrey explains, “It doesn’t promote intellectual curiosity nor encourage individuality.”

Having identified the need for a new type of school, Audrey set out to make bilingual education accessible to a greater number of families. “I thought to myself: there’s a clear need, just do it”, and she did! She found like-minded professionals who were equally frustrated. In fact, the founding partners are her children’s teachers: Simone Pouwels, Jessica Baia and Mark Fletcher – all advocates of the Montessori pedagogy with many years experience of teaching small groups, focusing on fulfilling a child’s autonomy, responsibility, self-confidence and self-esteem.

The four founders share a strong belief that all children can be successful, but nurturing that success requires an acceptance and understanding that every child learns differently. As the school’s director explains, “There are four types of learners; visual, auditory, reading/writing and kinaesthetic. The latter need to touch materials to understand an abstract concept like additions, where for example a child needs to count dots / beads to understand before progressing to number additions on a paper.” This is at the core of Trillium International School’s principle, adapting the teaching method to each child’s, your child’s, natural learning method.

Trillium International school, opening its doors in September 2017, will use a blend of teaching methods and philosophies. The Montessori pedagogy will be applied but it goes much further. The school will use the Kumon method for mathematics, the jolly phonics for reading/writing … and more generally to encourage the positive discipline classroom management. When asked why the school is to apply a multi-philosophical approach, Audrey informs us “None of the approaches are perfect. You can always find something in a method that does not fit a child depending on his/ her abilities. For me, applying the Montessori pedagogy is more than just using the Montessori materials. It’s a way of thinking, being and teaching. So you can be in a school with a Montessori pedagogy and use something else to reinforce mental mathematics, for example the Kumon program”.

Located in a residential area of Marly-le-Roi (78) in the western suburbs of Paris Trillium International school’s 500m² spreads across two floors and boasts a 400m² playground. Opening in September 2017 they currently employ 4 teachers and have 24 pupils enrolled for the new academic year. The school’s first year looks promising with an incredible enrollment and appreciation among parents.

When we asked about the schools ultimate ambition, Audrey told us “I would love to create much more than (just another) school. I want to build a community with a positive and proactive attitude which provides children with a bilingual and bi-cultural approach, equipping them with the necessary skills to succeed in a global society with values of respect and mutual understanding, honesty and cooperation, empathy and open-mindedness.

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