Parlez-Vous Francais? Oui! At Lycee International de Los Angeles
“Bringing Up Bebe”, the bestselling book by Pamela Druckerman was the topic of a fabulous luncheon I attended recently, hosted by Lycee International de Los Angeles (LILA) and Launch Education Group at The Little Door. Before the event, I toured LILA, a wonderful, developmental Pre-K-12 in Los Feliz.
As we ate the Little Door’s superb food, Elizabeth Chaponot, the French/American head of school at LILA, spoke about the differences between French and American education and how LILA achieves the delicate balance of blending the two educational influences and cultures.
Elizabeth is an experienced educator and a mom, with impressive credentials and a passion for education. Her family founded LILA, she’s a graduate of the school and now she’s continuing the tradition. Elizabeth pointed out that at the school, she approaches French parents differently than she does their American counterparts. With American parents, she told us, she often begins with talking about the child’s unique qualities like their sense of humor or other characteristics. French parents, she said, want to know how their child is doing in school, but don’t expect continual feedback on their child’s attributes. American parents also place a premium on extracurricular actives like sports to a greater extent than many French parents. So, part of her job at LILA is to unify the distinct parenting and educational values of these two very different cultures.
Giving a quintessentially American perspective on the bestselling book, “Bringing Up Bebe,” Sarah Maizes, author of Got Milf? The Modern Mom’s Guide To Feeling Fabulous, Looking Great and Rocking a Minivan, is a triple threat: mom of three, author and comedian. She writes the parenting humor site, Mommy Lite Online. Sarah talked about writing the review of the book for the Today Show Moms and what she learned by reading it. She also talked about her own kids and the unique parenting challenges that come with twins and a daughter with Asperberger’s, who became the inspiration for her new children’s book, On My Way To The Bath due out in June.
Although my two years of college French are long forgotten, touring LILA with Juliette Lange, the charming and friendly admissions coordinator, I was pleasantly surprised that I recognized a few familiar phrases from days gone by, as ridiculously cute children darted by speaking the most adorable French.
LILA is a great option for families who are looking for a developmental dual immersion school. Students are taught to read, write and speak both French and English by the end of elementary school. However, the goal is to offer more than “mere knowledge of two languages. The ultimate goal is to form bi-literate students capable of functioning in two linguistic worlds, according to LILA. Families at LILA truly embrace French language, culture and diverse cultures at the school. A quarter of the school is comprised of French nationals and there are students from 48 nationalities.
Founded by Progressive educators in 1979, the school has grown to four campuses (Los Feliz, Pasadena, Orange County and West Valley). The school is accredited by the French Ministry of Education, The Western Association of Schools and Colleges and The International Bacculaurate.
LILA is a Pre-K-12, private school nestled on six acres in Los Feliz. The campus is instantly welcoming and low-key. It buzzes with with student excitement. The one-story buildings contain large, bright classrooms containing with smart boards. Teacher’s assignments and the student’s work decorate the walls. When I arrived, the school day was in full swing.
- Learning is project based at LILA
- There are 2 grades per class, 450 students
- A new secondary campus is in the works in Burbank, to move the secondary campus to a new location
- The point of entry is Pre-K or K unless fluent in French
- Tuition is approximately $14K per year for Kindergarten. Financial aid is available for up to 50% of tuition
- LILA is more than a language immersion program, it’s a cultural immersion program
- Graduates from the school attend top U.S. and international colleges and universities, including Columbia, Stanford, NYU, Berkeley, UCLA, USC, Brown, McGill University, Oxford University, Sorbonne, Universite Paris and more
- LILA emphasizes community and the sharing of cultures
If you are considering a dual-immersion French-English school, visit LILA and see for yourself this unique, sprawling school on a gently sloping hill in Los Feliz. LILA puts a worldly spin on education! C’est magnifique!
For more information, visit, Lycée International De Los Angeles
Photos: Mia J. Photography and Christina Simon