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Our school

FAQ

1. How do I enroll my child at BISP?

The application process is simple. Begin by downloading and filling out our application form and send it to the Bilingual International School of Paris along with a copy of your child's birth certificate and photo ID, along with the application fee.  Additionally, if your child has already been enrolled in another school, we ask that you send us a copy of their most recent progress report and/or a letter of recommendation issued by the school.

Once we have received all of these items and your file is complete, we will review your application and inform you of our decision within two weeks.

2. Does my child need to be fluent in English to attend BISP?

Absolutely not.  BISP, the bilingual preschool located in the heart of Paris, welcomes children of all nationalities no matter what languages they already speak.  If a child already speaks French or English when enrolling at BISP, he or she will simply adjust more quickly to this new environment.

We evaluate each student's linguistic and academic abilities when they join our school to adapt instruction and support to their specific needs. Such personal attention helps your child to achieve their potential at their own pace.

3. What is the Wednesday Club?

BISP's Wednesday Club is a special program designed to further support English language learning.  Independent of the school program, Wednesday Club focuses on learning through play, and in such a way children boost their English language skills effortlessly. Activities at the Wednesday Club promote oral production and communication and have children speaking to one another and their teachers in English from the start.

4. We have just moved to France and my child does not speak French, can he still attend BISP?

Of course! Our dual language program places equal emphasis on French and English language acquisition. Our teachers work closely with children who have just arrived in this new linguistic and cultural environment to help them adjust comfortably.

Your child will receive the personal help and support needed to feel at ease at the school and engage in the French program.

Moreover, we always have French-speaking children in our classes.  Your child’s interaction with his or her Francophone classmates will support their learning of the language.

5. What is the difference between immersion and traditional language learning?

At BISP, we focus on language learning by immersion.  In immersion language learning, language is the medium of instruction. In traditional language learning, language is the subject of instruction.  We are not teaching French and English as foreign languages, we are using these languages to deliver instruction and communicate.

You can find more information on our dual language immersion program throughout our website.

As Jim Cummins, a professor of language development and literacy development of learners of English as an additional language underscores, traditional language learning solely provides cognitive academic language proficiency.  Taught in such a way, skills remain abstract and decontextualized and it can take up to 7 years or more to acquire them.

Immersion language learning, on the other hand, promotes quick acquisition, leading to cognitive, linguistic and social advantages. True bilingualism is not taught; it is experienced.

6. Why is it important to learn languages from such a young age?

When children start to learn languages from a young age, they gain appropriate language skills usually in just two years. When they begin later, say as teenagers, they will need 3 to 5 years to develop the same level of competency.

The Critical Period Hypothesis (CPH), which argues that there is a biological period of life during which picking up a foreign language is easier, has been the subject of heated debate and has not yet been proven or disproved. However, there is consensus that it is far easier to gain authentic control of phonology earlier in life. In addition, learning languages from a young age favors developing intercultural aptitudes, sensibility to the social and communications needs of others, and the non-verbal communication codes that go with verbal and written language acquisition.

7. Won't learning two languages at the same time slow my child's progress in other subjects?

No. On the contrary, studies show that receiving a bilingual education from as early as nursery school age heightens cognitive development. The intellectual stimulation that arises from the regular and balanced use of two languages facilitates abstraction, conceptualization and the understanding and use of symbolism. Children who benefit from a bilingual education do better at analytical tests and visual problem solving than their monolingual counterparts.

BISP's program covers the core requirements specified by both English-based curriculums and the French Ministry of National Education. Children leave BISP prepared to enter all types of schools, whether instruction is in English or French, or both.

8. Should I worry if my child mixes words from both languages?

Early bilinguals – sometimes even adult bilinguals! – mix languages, but that does not signal language confusion.

Your child will quickly learn that there may be different meanings attached to the same word in the two different languages and they will choose the one that suits what they wish to communicate best and comes to mind first. This is also how children learn from one another in a multilingual setting.

As your child matures, he will instinctively opt for the language that is suitable for the person with whom he is interacting. At BISP, our teachers interact with your child in one language-French or English- to help your child achieve the ability to separate his languages easily.

If your household is bilingual or multilingual, we recommend that each adult relate with your child solely in one language to help native language acquisition and linguistic differentiation.

9. Where can my child continue their education after BISP?

After their completion of our program, children leave prepared to enter any and all types of educational programs, be they bilingual, monolingual French or English; or an international secondary school. We will work closely with you to help you select the best possible school for your child, whether it be in Paris or a surrounding area, while taking your child's unique needs, abilities and interests into consideration.