\'Badaboum' went the children when they fell and this was what the French School was called when it was established in 1987 by expat parents in Kathmandu who wanted a completely francophone environment for their children to study in.
Today, the school has evolved into a multinational school with 10 percent Nepali students, 40 percent French or half-French and 50 percent of other nationalities. With an enrollment of only 40 students, it guarantees a lot more individual care and attention than other international schools.
Interestingly, the school doesn't have grades but divides students into three peer groups-kindergarten (age 2-5), grade 1-5 (age 6-10) and grade 6-12 (age 11-18). This method makes it easier to teach smaller groups and helps the seniors support and assist juniors.
The curriculum here is the same as the one taught in schools in France. Books and other materials are brought from France, and being French the teachers lay a lot of emphasis on art.
" We encourage art, it gives the students a sense of individualism and mixes fun with work. As they grow older we channel this force into more streamlined courses such as science and maths," says Sebastian Autin, principal.
Autin says his school focuses on nurturing a sense of responsibility and independence in the students. Since the grades are mixed, each child is given assignments to complete on their own. This makes them less dependent on teachers who act as guiding counselors and help rather than dictate and spoon-feed them. The entire school goes on an annual trek to encourage appreciation of nature and to familiarise students with Nepal.
Though the language of instruction is French, English and Nepali are also taught and the older students are offered the option of learning a third language, either Spanish or German. It strives to broaden the children's view of the world while living and studying the social, cultural and geographical norms of Nepal.
The French school plans to expand and include more Nepali students into its fold. They have an alliance with a school in Dolpo from where students come to study and interact with the French School's students. Aside from everything else, what attracts most parents is the fees here that is half that of other international schools.