The French International School of Marbella is preparing for its 2nd school year in Andalusia

The French International School of Marbella (efim) is the second French establishment in the province of Malaga. On 14 May, this primary partner of the French Agency for Education Abroad (AEFE) is organizing an open day. The opportunity to learn more about the innovative pedagogy developed by its co-founders.

As we approach the wrought iron gate, the laughter and cries of the children rise. It’s 11 am The schoolchildren enjoy their break under the sun in the Piruli district of Marbella. Behind the doors, dressed in their blue sports uniforms, almost all the children have a piece of fruit in their hands. “We want to promote healthy and accessible food,” explains Rubí Cortés, CEO of efim. It has therefore become a ritual: at each break, fruit carts and bottles of water are offered for self-service to students.

A healthy and balanced diet at your fingertips

The health and well-being of students is the first pillar of this innovative education that Rubí Cortés and Philippe De Carlos, co-founders of efim, have wanted to launch. In this primary school (infant and primary), the meals are 100% organic. Children can enjoy international cuisine prepared locally in Marbella by a chef. On the menu of the day, the chef offers: corn soup, Italian chicken croquettes, pasta and a fruit salad. In the dining room, throughout the conversations, the meals seem to be unanimous among the students: “I love what I eat every time! Titila explains. From the age of 8, the young lady has no doubts: “There are things in the canteen that I like, such as potatoes, meatballs and yoghurts. But what I prefer is that we have a surprise dessert every Thursday! »A ritual set up by the educational team to break the routine of flavors and introduce pleasure into the daily lives of children. So be discreet: this young CE2 student will soon have the joy of discovering a raspberry mousse and a rice pudding during her next secret dessert. “We’re vegans,” said Sandrine Gasnier, Kyle’s 8-year-old mother. “When I saw that this school offered a selection of menus without animal products, I was very pleasantly surprised! “Before I continue:” I have five children, so schools, I know … We’ve always lived abroad. I worked at the French school in Singapore and have a good knowledge of the French school system. But here it is different. The children are very happy. My son says it is the best school in the world! »

The well-being of students at the center of learning

“We have been carrying out this project for 10 years”, explains Rubí Cortés, general manager of efim. “With Philippe de Carlos, Director of Education at efim, we were thinking of a new educational model. »

We thought of the ideal school

“We wanted to develop an ideal school, based on the observation that the current system had defects that could be corrected. Today we have reached a model where the well-being of children is at the heart of education. »

efim Marbella (photo © Laure Linot 2022)

At efim, a dedicated professional is responsible for ensuring the well-being of children. he called happiness-coach, intervenes throughout the year to monitor schoolchildren and train teachers. In this way, several “wellness” workshops have been set up. Every morning, before class, students do 7 minutes with the method Congratulations which borrows various approaches such as yoga or sophrology. A way to relax but also “to increase the psychomotor mobility of children” explains Philippe de Carlos, director of Education of efim. After each break, students do cardiac coherence exercises. he baptized them breaths, these breath refocusing times last about four minutes. Then, before leaving school, students participate in a “moment of gratitude”: they are invited to focus together on the positive aspects of their day. So many workshops that seem to arouse the support of students: “Here I have learned to manage conflicts in a different way,” says Adam, 9 and a half years old. “We try not to write, but to talk. We also have the right to calm down, and I like these moments of tranquility “, he adds.

A hybrid pedagogy developed from the Montessori, Gattegno, Freinet and Feuerstein methods

The efim offers a traditional teaching in accordance with the French National Education program, on which different alternative pedagogies will be combined. Here, all teachers are progressively trained in Montessori, Freinet, Gattegno or Feuerstein methods. Séverine Dumas, an ephemeral school teacher, is delighted to be a part of this educational adventure. “I have been teaching for 12 years and since the beginning of my career I have used alternative pedagogy methods. Not all children have the same way of learning. For example, the Montessori approach is based on sensory education while the Freinet method is based more on cooperation between students. By mixing different pedagogies, we multiply the chances of each student to enter the learning and, therefore, we avoid leaving the children aside. For Philippe de Carlos, director of education at efim, the evidence is: “It is by combining methods that we can best meet the needs of children, who are all different. »

Ephemeral Marbella
efim Marbella (photo © Laure Linot 2022)

In the teaching of the ephemeral, these 4 pedagogical approaches (Montessori, Freinet, Gattegno and Feuerstein) will be mixed, therefore, to take more or less importance according to the age and level of the children.

Pedagogies need to be combined to better meet the needs of children

A skillful mix that adapts to the specific needs of each one: learning to read, math, grammar, treatment of disorders of the “dis”, moral and civic education, etc. A method that seems appealing to students: “I love everything I learn. here. Problems, math, divisions, ”says Edin, 9 and a half, smiles. Ryan, 6, continues: “I like English, Spanish, French, playing a lot of games …” He thinks for a moment and adds, “Besides, math is better in this school. it was just average, ”he explains.

This hybrid pedagogy was developed by Philippe de Carlos, co-founder of efim and PhD in education sciences, after 10 years of research and training. Rubí Cortés is delighted: “We have managed to develop an exclusive teaching method, a unique model, to which we add additional proposals based on field feedback,” explains the general director of efim. This new educational model developed over a long period by Philippe de Carlos aims to be duplicated. The director of Education at efim explains his vision: “We want to give students the skills to act in the world. Knowledge is not enough, students must also be given the skills and knowledge to learn to learn ”.

Trilingualism ubiquitous in all activities

In the hallways, it’s intercourse. “Hello Travis! A student asks his English teacher, before greeting them just as easily with a” Hello! his French teacher. This natural transition from one language to another is the goal desired by the ephemeral Marbella. At this international school, French-English-Spanish trilingualism is at the heart of learning. “We respect the specifications for approving a French establishment abroad,” explains Rubí Cortés, “but we do not limit ourselves to the 19 hours of teaching in French in the National Education program. We have developed an original system of co-interventions where language teachers come to help the French teacher in all subjects. As a result, trilingualism is ubiquitous. ”

Every day, in addition to the traditional language classes in the school curriculum, two native teachers of English and Spanish circulate around the classrooms to provide vocabulary in their mother tongue and instill multilingualism where there is none, usually not. Each activity becomes the pretext for an encounter with the language. In the dining room, for example, the staff speaks Spanish with the children. “It’s really an international school,” says Sandrine Gasnier. “When I talk to other parents of students, we come across many nationalities: Romanian, Spanish, French, English,” she continues, before concluding: “We have all lived in different places but we all want to participate in the education of “Our children have a real family spirit that emanates from this school.”

marbella efim
efim de Marbella: A course on language and form with a Montessori teacher (photo © Laure Linot 2022)

Thanks to the Gattegno approach, students can learn languages ​​in a fun way with the help of color codes that associate sounds and their spellings.

In 4 months, my son learned to speak French

This approach calls for all memories (visual, auditory, and kinetic) that optimize assimilation. “This allows for significant cognitive economy for students, whether they are French-speaking or not,” explains Philippe de Carlos. The director of Education at efim explains: “Because this Gattegno approach is used for learning all languages, it gives the same benchmarks and the same mechanics to schoolchildren, regardless of the language they teach. . Sandrine Gasnier, Kyle’s mother, saw the dazzling results of this method in her 8-year-old son: “Kyle learned to speak French in four months! I didn’t know a word of French when I got here because even though I’m French, we only speak English at home. Today, Kyle speaks French with his grandparents. My mom is so happy! “Before I add,” I’m so happy with this school, I’d like to put Logan, my 14-year-old son in it, but the college section doesn’t exist yet. »

Approval by the AEFE and extension to the university and baccalaureate sections in 2023

“We want to maintain educational continuity as much as possible,” says Rubí Cortés, general manager of efim. With this in mind, the ephemeral will open an additional 6th grade class from the start of the school year in September 2022. Before extending later to the rest of the university and high school levels.

At the beginning of the course, in September 2022, new “design thinking” activities will also be offered to students. This methodology, based on digital culture, promotes students’ trial / error experience. For the CEO of efim, it is obvious: “At a time when artificial intelligence is being used more and more in the professional world, the place of the individual will not only be based on his ability to calculate, but in their emotional and narrative difference. »

After this first academic year 2021-2022, the Marbella ephemeral school hopes to complete the process of its approval by the French Ministry of National Education.



To register for the OPEN DAY on May 14 or more:

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