Brussels, Belgium Report of what it's like to live there - 05/15/18
Personal Experiences from Brussels, Belgium
1. Are you the parent of a child(ren) attending this school? A teacher at the school? Or both?
2. What grade or grades do/did your children attend at the school? During what year(s) did they attend the school?
3 and 4th grade. 2014-2016.
3. What was your reason for living in the city where the school is located (e.g., government, military, corporate, NGO, retired)?
4. Are other schools available to expatriates in this city? Why did you choose this particular school?
tons! Our child started at a different school, but after a year and a half, we switched him to the Montessori school. We chose the Montessori School because of it's wholistic approach, the joy the teachers and kids seemed to bring to class, the differentiated learning techniques, and the ability to really dive deeply into certain subjects.
Admissions & Welcome:
1. Are the admissions and placement procedures clearly stated to prospective families, either on the school website or through other means of communication?
2. How would you rate the school's support and welcome/integration of new students and their families, and why?
10 out of 10
Administration & School Procedures:
1. How is the overall communication between teachers and parents, and the administration and parents? How is communication facilitated?
Great. Although sometimes they'd post news on the door and forgot to email it out to parents. If parents weren't at pick-up, they'd miss it. But this was infrequent.
2. Aside from school fees, are there required expenses such as uniforms, laptops/tablets, musical instruments, or field trips that parents are expected to cover? What are the approximate costs?
All students are required to choose either piano/ guitar/ or violin and are expected to be able to practice at home. Each family has to provide their own instrument.
Academics & Resources:
1. What personal or academic counseling resources are available at this school? Is there a dedicated college counselor at the school? Is he/she familiar with universities worldwide?
none. too small.
2. Is there before and/or after-school daycare available? What are the costs?
3. Does the school have a library? How large is it? How updated are the books? Can students borrow books to read at home?
A small cozy library, just the right size for the small school.
4. How are information technology resources at the school. Are they up-to-date? Is there a computer lab?
5. What are the technology requirements for students? Do they need their own laptops/ipads? How is technology integrated into the classroom and homework?
6. Describe the physical education resources at the school. Is there a gym? A swimming pool? Are there playing fields or tennis courts available?
Outdoor gardens with vegetable garden and chickens. The students go to nearby facilities for gym classes- either to Tervuren Park, or the nearby community gym, or the golf club when they did 6 weeks of a golf unit.
7. What is the approximate teacher-to-student ratio in the grades that your child attended?
8. Are Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses available in upper grades? If this is an IB school, is the full diploma required of all students?
This school campus ends after 5th grade. Then the kids can continue to the Middle School and High School which are located at Hof Kleinenberg. The MS and HS are IB.
9. Are students generally challenged appropriately by the curriculum? Please describe any particular strengths or weaknesses in this area. Do you have any thoughts how the curriculum is applied and implemented at this school?
Yes. They have "Studies" that they work on over several weeks to present the information they have researched. One teacher always speaks to the children in English, the other always in French.
10. Is the amount and type of homework generally appropriate for the age and grade of the students?
Yes. Only nightly reading, and taking home studies to finish as needed before presentation deadlines.
11. What fine arts electives are available (music, drama, visual arts)?
Art and drama are integrated into the regular class. The drama production that the school put on each year was LOVELY! Super creative and really showcasing the talents of each and every student. The kids have lessons on the instrument of their choice once a week.
12. Are the teachers at the school required to speak English as a first language--or at least fluently?
Half the teachers are native English speakers. Half the teachers are native French speakers.
13. What services are available for gifted/advanced students at the school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
Students work at their own pace, so they can really fly in the subjects where they are good. And the teachers are great at providing the right amount of structure to make sure the students don't neglect other subjects.
14. What services are available for students with learning disabilities at this school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
The school prides itself in being able to make sure that all children learn at their pace and are integrated into the classroom fully. But, this does fall onto the regular teachers to help make this happen. There are no special counsellors or specialists to make this happen.
15. What services are provided for speakers of English as a second language at this school? Please describe your experience with these services, if applicable.
The school is very international and has children learning either English or French, or both... all the time. They do a great job of helping the kids within the normal classroom. But it is not a structured extra class.
16. What extra-curricular activities (including sports) are available at this school? Have your children participated in these activities? What activities do you feel are missing at the school?
None. But this is typical in Belgium at this age. All activities are through private groups after school.
Social & Emotional Well-Being:
1. Do expatriate students socialize with local students at the school? Are both groups successfully integrated into the school culture?
They all mix.
2. Are there are any problems with exclusionary behavior, cliques, or bullying at this school? Please describe any problems your children may have experienced in this area.
None. The kids are inclusive, kind, and curious.
1. What letter grade (ranging from A, excellent, to F, fail) would you assign to this school based on your overall experience? Would you choose it again?
A- I would choose it in a heartbeat. Our son loved it. We loved it. We are elated our son had the joy of going there for two years.
2. Please tell us anything else you think prospective parents and students should know about this school. Thanks for your contribution!
The school is very small! The campus consists of two houses converted into large open classrooms that share a beautiful garden space in-between. One house has a mixed class for 3,4, and 5 year olds. The other house has a classroom upstairs for mixed 1st and 2nd graders. The downstairs class is mixed 3rd, 4th, 5th graders. The children work together within their class on projects, and engage in teaching each other. It's a beautiful, kind, caring, and yet rigorous environment.