Education has been my focal point for many years.
As far back as primary school, even though I was the regular “top of the class” pupil that fit neatly into the system, I had the feeling that this system was ill-adapted for children to fully blossom. As a teenager, I decided that someday I would create a different school. Of course this vow was rather vague at first. Yet, this idea permeated my whole life, and year after year, it developed into a firm project. My various experiences, trades and trainings contribute to that end.
When a student I worked as a summer camp counsellor and a private instructror, and for years I was a volunteer in several associations to help children and teenagers with learning and academic orientation.
A graduate in philosophy and governmental science, I got a Master’s degree from Paris-Dauphine University, where I studied business strategy and project management. I have worked as a head-huntress for a recruitment firm, as a PMO for big projects, as a community manager for a sustainable development start-up.
In the meantime, I also got a degree in teaching French as a foreign language. I volunteered to help refugees with learning French, and realized how swiftly and effortlessly their children could learn a foreign language. With a view to cultivate and strengthen my understanding of independent school creation and running, I took training with Paris-based bilingual “Living School” and with and Faber & Mazlish.
Then in 2011 I took a radical step. It was time to embrace this long project head-on. The first step was to get some first-hand experience as a teacher, and to observe the functioning of a school. So I resigned from my Parisian IT consultancy job, and took on preparing for the national competitive exam to become a Primary Teacher.
Preparing for the exam took one year, part of which was dedicated to act as a supply teacher in Paris’ difficult suburbs. I was very pregnant when I passed the competitive exam, and ranked 48th out of 820 candidates. Being a teacher in a state school with thirty kids aged 4 or 5 deeply reinforced my motivation to propose something different. My ideal is to create a school in which each kid is individually considered, a school that let kids progress at their own pace, while encouraging their interests and creativity.
As we moved in Toulouse in 2013, I began working on the creation of Nectarine School. Now a mother of two, I get to practice my schooling principles with my kids.
After obtaining the PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate of Education), I worked as a teacher for 13 years, 11 of which were in England. Teaching -and particularly working with children and teenagers- is a passion for me. On returning to France, I decided to have a break and to work both as a private tutor and an English workshop leader, to promote English amongst young children. Despite meeting dedicated colleagues who truly love their job, I feel that the French school system has some weak points, starting with the fact that if a pupil does not fit in, he/she may very well be considered to be “failing”. Most teachers are genuinely interested in their pupils but the classical educational system lacks means and flexibility. Therefore, there isn’t a great deal of experimental/fun learning, and the specificity of each child cannot be catered for. Having lived in three countries (France, Britain and Germany) with different school systems, enabled me to reflect critically on our way of working in France.
I met Adélaïde mid-January 2016, on my return from a two-year experience in Germany, and her project immediately fascinated me. Opening a school like Nectarine is innovative, audacious, risky and exciting at the same time. When she subsequently offered me to embark on the Nectarine adventure, I said “YES” without hesitation.
My immersion in the British culture for twelve years allowed me to become bilingual and gave me the confidence to raise my two young children (6 and 2 years old) as bilingual children. At Nectarine, I will speak English and invite all children to take part in fun activities (reading stories, singing nursery rhymes, songs, painting, drawing, arts and crafts activities). I will encourage them to communicate in English, while paying attention to what they wish to do.
Annerieke, our volunteer
I am Annerieke, 25 years old and I am from The Netherlands. Last year I graduated from my Psychology Masters and continued my starting career, first as a recruitment intern and later on as a recruiter. I always had the dream of coming to France to develop my French and to experience the riche culture. What better way to achieve this than with a voluntairy experience! Luckely Adélaïde gave me the chance of making my dream come true, by offering me a place at the l’école Necatrine, where I will jump in wherever is needed and speak English throughout the day.
In my spare time I really like to do sports (any kind), but especially playing tennis which I played on a high level when I was younger.
Additionally, I like to draw, listen to music and if there is some time left I really would like to bake.
Besides these hobbies, it is also my passion to help en meet other people, I gained a great experience in travelling through certain Asian countries for several months. Also during my studies I gained more valuable experience by taking care of, and working with mentally and physcially disabled people, which was very rewarding.
I am looking forward to working at the school and I will do the best I can to live up to the needs of the children.