Michele Manigart, Belgian family
1. Why did you choose the LFKL?
I chose the LFKL because I believe French is a very difficult language and I wanted my kids to be truly bilingual (French/English) and the only place that is possible in Malaysia is the Lycée Français de Kuala Lumpur. I personally believe the only way to master the complex spelling, grammar and terms of usage of French language is either by living in a full-time French-speaking environment, or by being schooled in the French system. My hypothesis is based on my own experience: I grew up abroad and went to French school too from CP (grade 1) to 3ème collège (grade 9). At age 15, I had to switch to an international school because at that time the French school did not go all the way to graduation. The day I had to make the switch to international, I had not had a single formal English class, yet I switched without any problem because we lived in an English environment and it is a much easier language to absorb. After graduating, I then went to study in Belgium (in French) and got my first job in a French-speaking environment, covering their export markets. For me, being bilingual in French/English had a real edge and I believe it will also have the same impact for my kids. When I compare with people my age who were from French speaking families but got schooled in English, their grammar, spelling and understanding of the French language does not allow them to conduct business in French or study in a French-speaking university. At the LFKL, I chose German as a first foreign language and then Spanish. Latin languages like Spanish, Italian, Portuguese all become super easy when you master a strong Latin-based language like French. That also opened up the door to a once in a lifetime opportunity of doing my university exchange in Santiago de Chile where I wrote part of my thesis in Spanish. I think by choosing the LFKL, I am creating a lot of options for my kids in their future.
2. Does your child enjoy being at the LFKL?
My daughter is 6 and is in her second year at LFKL. She first went to a Montessori school for 2 years when she was 3 and 4 year old and entered the LFKL the year she was turning 5 years old. The idea was to give her a year to adapt to the system before she hit primary 1 (CP – Cours preparatoire). I had some apprehension, because I always thought Montessori was a superior system based on learning by playing. I was extremely surprised to discover that the Kindergarten (maternelle) at the French school was based on a very similar system and I found my daughter was very stimulated and she could learn based on very similar principles to Montessori, whilst having more discipline and “frame” (in French “Cadre”). She had 8 hours of class in English language and the English level of the teachers was actually better than the Montessori school she attended, her English actually improved at the LFKL and continues to improve. She is truly bilingual and loves the school!
As a result, I am enrolling my son next year, he is 3 year old now and he will enter Moyenne Section (3rd year of Kindergarten), a year earlier than we had initially planned.
3. Do you feel like your child is changing and growing in the LFKL? If so, How?
Everyday. From basics like table manners, learning not to interrupt when others speak, to more complex subjects you expect them to learn in school such as reading, mathematics. They learn about all their surroundings such as recycling, growing plants and learning about the planet. My daughter is developing a great love for reading, for learning and for discovering. Her intellectual curiosity is boosted every day. I was surprised to see how active the kids are: they take part in physical and sports activity every day. My daughter was a little chubby when she started school and within a year, she grew stronger and leaner and very sporty, her body coordination grew exponentially and now in CP (Year 1), they even have a semester of roller blading, how cool is that!?
4. What is the most positive thing about the LFKL?
I love a lot of things about the school, but if I have to single out one thing, I would say that what I love the most is that “they have built a great school whilst keeping reasonable”. The school has great facilities, without having to go overboard (I am not a believer that a 6 year old needs a facility better than a university to be able to develop well), great after school activities at reasonable prices.
The school organizes fabulous plays and school shows, not only to please parents, but also to focus on the child’s learning journey (many of the plays are co-created by the kids). The school offers the kids a fantastic environment, without making them “spoilt like kings and queens”. Across everything the LFKL does, you can see a balance between “how could we provide the kids with the best learning environment” whilst “being reasonable in the setup, expectations and pricing”.
5. Do you and your child have some special memories to share about the school, class and activity?
I love the LFKL approach towards food and snacks. The kindergarten at LFKL has an amazing rule of doing only shared snacks that contain only raw fruits and veggies. Every day, one child is in charge of bringing the morning snack (“goûter”) for the entire class and it can only be fruits, vegetables (and nuts if there are no allergies in the class – you are informed by the teachers if you can/cannot). Chloe was very proud to be serving the gûuter once a month and together, we put a great deal of creativity making it special, choosing a nice variety of fruits and veggies and preparing them together for her school. The child learns his/her sense of responsibility. It gives me great joy as a parent to know that the kids were eating healthy. The lunch menu at the canteen is also truly French: starter (usually a salad or a soup), main (1 choice in kindergarten, then 2 choices in primary onward) and dessert (cheese, yogurt). It is well balanced and the menu is co-designed by a nutritionist and a Chef every month (it is online if you want to see it).
I also find it amazing that the kids do roller-blading at school. In just 2-3 weeks, my 6 years old went from nothing to knowing how to roller blade.
I also like the fact that the school buses are very small (12 pax): that means my kids do not have to sit and wait in a large bus for it to get filled up and it allows the driver to know the children better. The bus are equipped with seat belts (and they really make the kids wear them) and cameras (if there are any problem, everything is captured on camera).
I was also surprised about the amount of English classes they have in Maternelle and primary. In Grande section (last year of kindergarten) and primary year 1 (CP), my daughter had about 8 hours a week of classes in English. I thought she would lose her English and it is actually the opposite. The LFKL has high quality English language teachers and whilst core subjects remain in French, a lot of subjects (sports, arts, etc) are in English and my child is now bilingual.