Methodology - Trilingual School

  • The methodology of La Maisonnette

  • La Maisonnette® is a tri-lingual nursery school and kindergarten; our methods and ways of working are geared to a child’s level. We follow a multi-disciplinary pedagogical method (Fréinet, Montessori, Rodari, Gardner, Malaguzzi) constantly up-dating based on the latest research, in an effort to promote a multi-disciplinary and eclectic formation that enables children to use their resources in everyday life.


    La Maisonnette® is unique in its approach to tri-lingualism, following the principle of “une langue, une personne” (a separate person for each language). Our method is based on early partial emersion with mother-tongue teachers as a self-propagating tool. The three languages and cultures are together but separate.

    This enriches children culturally and helps them accept and delight in the differences of others. Recent research shows that children who are pluri-lingual from infancy develop better meta-cognitive and meta-linguistic skills.

    Children in our school are introduced to foreign languages right from the beginning through nursery rhymes, simple stories and everyday phrases, so that they begin to learn the musicality of other languages without it interfering with their first efforts to communicate in Italian. French and English are introduced naturally into a context where Italian is being spoken. Phrases that are used often are repeated in all three languages to avoid creating confusion in their initial language comprehension.
    At the kindergarten level everything that is said is said in all three languages so that it becomes natural to the children.
    English and French are used in formal and informal play, in reading, and most of all in singing songs about activities that are repeated throughout the day, i.e. cleaning up or going to lunch.
    In this way the learning of a second language comes about by way of techniques and mental patterns already used for their mother tongue. Curiosity is what makes children want to know and understand and eventually to communicate. The ideal is that children learn and communicate only for the pleasure of doing so, gently encouraged, without coercion, in a stress-free environment.
    Afternoon language courses are offered in French and English through the elementary school level.


    At La Maisonnette®:

    • CHILDREN are listened to, respected, valued for their individuality and their cultural backgrounds; establish relationships with everyone at the school – adults and children alike – learn to trust in their own resources and abilities.
      Children who are at ease with themselves and the world will always find adults ready to listen to them.
      The teachers are ready to listen to the children’s fears, doubts, enthusiasms and needs; at the same time they encourage group cohesion among children of the same age and relationships between peers.
    •  CHILDREN learn from direct experience.
      They are introduced to a variety of experiences in and outside school having to do with everyday life, which gives them the tools they need in order to learn – the teachers work alongside the children to find the best learning strategies for each one.
    •  CHILDREN use the instruments they are given correctly and move freely within the various spaces offered by the school, choose their own activities, choose who they want to be with, and their own rhythms.
      The teachers promote and plan daily routines (meals, naps, diaper changing, cleaning up, farewells), they post, together with the children, lists of rules and who will be responsible for the day and label the various corners of the room in all three languages. Every day there is a period of free-play.
    • CHILDREN invent, elaborate, create, develop their imaginations and critical thinking, and experience errors as temporary theories.
      The school offers activities based on open-ended questions that do not have one answer only, with innovative use of materials and tools requiring groups to work as a whole and take decisions together, going beyond the rules and finding new ones, which means every child has a say in what is happening.
    •  CHILDREN live in a multi-cultural and multi-dimensional society and have different cultural and linguistic experiences.
    • CHILDREN who are allowed to develop fully, to express themselves in different languages, have a definite advantage as they are growing up.
      This school stimulates the development of multiple intelligences by offering children a wide range of activities in the different areas of learning for them to experience and react to. Children become sensitive to multi-cultural stimuli by being in contact with teachers who speak different languages and who bring their own cultures to the school and by being with children from other countries.
  • Part of what we do is to involve the children’s families as much as possible in our various activities during the school year (open school days, meetings, holidays, parties, parents’ day, etc.).
    Families are invited to contribute to special occasions with food, games and customs from their countries or contributions having to do with their various professions.

    Trips to theatres, shows, museums, farms and other cultural events are organized during the school year.

    This kind of experience – going outside the school without their parents but with their schoolmates and teachers, in a different vehicle from the one they normally take, is highly educational for children.