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At Ma Petite École, our goal is to offer a friendly, supportive environment where children will have fun learning. We truly believe in the value of learning a foreign language, especially at a young age.
Emmanuelle Benefield is a French native with a bachelor degree in English, and a minor in teaching French as a second language. She has been teaching children of various ages for 19 years.
Her extensive experience teaching everything from AP literature to beginners at the primary level, has shown her how critical it is for an educator to captivate a child's attention.
While teaching English as a second language in Chamonix, France, she also worked for a prestigious mountain guiding company and was responsible for leading the junior hiking trips in the Alps.
Together with her husband Brian and three former Ma Petite École parents, she founded the Santa Rosa French-American Charter School in 2012. The goal was to create a a public K-8 school with a like-minded philosophy that implements the best of French and California curriculum standards.
Research has proven that learning a second language does far more than make a child bilingual, it stimulates their brain and leads to better academic performance and cognitive development.
Learning is fun for kids, and it is immensely rewarding to provide the right guidance and watch them blossom.
Children have a unique ability to absorb material and capture nuances naturally.
The low teacher child ratio at Ma Petite École allows us to give each child the individual attention they deserve.
Personalized Learning is our specialty! Our mission is to instill a love of learning that will last a lifetime.
Teaching different age groups is extremely appealing to me for many reasons. Mixed-age grouping optimizes the educative potential of all children. It reflects what some families experience, a wonderful dynamic group in which the younger ones look up to the older, and in turn the bigger kids enjoy helping and supporting their younger friends as they learn new skills. These opportunities occur naturally in a home environment and are encouraged in our preschool.
Below are some points that highlight what makes our setting so enriching for your children:
Because we frequently spend several years with children during this formative time in their lives, we develop a deeper understanding of a child’s strengths and needs, which puts us in an optimal position to support the child’s learning.
Children have several years to develop, and are able to see themselves as progressive, successful learners.
Children are viewed as unique individuals. We focus on teaching each child according to his or her own strengths, unlike some same-grade classrooms that often expect all children to be at the same place at the same time with regard to ability. One size definitely does not fit all.
Children learn at their own pace, with no fear.
Children develop a deep friendship with their classmates. They become a "family of learners" who support and care for each other.
Older children have the opportunity to serve as mentors and take leadership roles.
In this environment, children are more likely to cooperate than compete. The spirit of cooperation and caring makes it possible for children to help each other as individuals, not see each other as competitors.
Older children model more sophisticated approaches to problem solving, and younger children are able to accomplish tasks they could not do without the assistance of older children. This dynamic increases the older child’s level of independence, competence and self-esteem.
At Ma Petite École, every effort is made to support the children and help them realize their full potential. In addition to our one-on-one teaching, we also utilize creative tools to make learning relevant and exciting:
For math, children use MyBlee to help their understanding in this domain. MyBlee allows them to explore and manipulate materials that engage them in mathematical thinking and by introducing teacher-guided learning activities that focus on mathematical concepts.
MyBlee gives children exercises adapted to their level, abilities and learning speed. With short educational lessons, MyBlee enables extended and continuous learning. Children are introduced to new ideas and allowed to keep practicing and building on them until they are mastered. MyBlee is powerfully adaptable and each child is transported by this experience. Indeed, the result is a personalized curriculum based on the child’s age, level, and learning needs. As children master each topic, the levels become progressively more difficult, ensuring a fun and challenging path to improvement of their mathematical abilities. With MyBlee, learning is always interactive, rewarding, and fun.
Reading and telling stories are keys to our program. The preschool years are vital to building language competency and literacy. The richer the environment, the more benefits reaped by the children.
We are very proud of our library of 700+ books and as many magazines. Early on, children are exposed to these books and work on different skills through books. As with math, we also use technology to foster children’s language and literacy. With Storyplayr, your children have access to more than 555 stories. This library is constantly growing! Using Storyplayr, your children help build our own collection of audio books, recording their own voices and becoming the storyteller of their favorite books. A child who spends three years with us is likely be a French reader. We can record your child reading French books and we send you this recording thanks to Storyplayr!
Children who have been students at Ma Petite École demonstrate advanced literacy and language skills in French. They are also very inquisitive, well-spoken, focused and passionate learners. Teachers at the French elementary school have remarked that our students are well prepared, motivated, and focused. The solid foundations start here!
Brian earned a Bachelor's Degree in Communications from Sonoma State University and studied French at City College of San Francisco. Brian joined Emmanuelle at Ma Petite École in 2010 and worked with a group of children at the kindergarten level in order to prepare them for entry into first grade. He finds interacting with children at this crucial developmental period immensely rewarding.
Caroline is a native of France, having been raised in Nîmes. After coming to the United States, Caroline earned her Bachelor's degree in Foreign Languages at the Université d' Avignon. She went on to receive her Master's in Communications at Northeast Louisiana University. Caroline has studied early childhood education (ECE) and is a terrific asset to our team. She substitutes at MPÉ when the need arrises.
Art TeacherArt Teacher
Christine Cramer, the director of Young at Art, studied art at Syracuse University and the University of Massachusetts. She took courses at the Van Gogh Institute in Amsterdam. She has taught art in the area for the past 15 years at the Monart School of the Arts and in the Art School of Sonoma County. She is a docent in the Rincon Valley School District where she teaches in the After School Enrichment Program. She also teaches her own classes at Chroma Gallery in Santa Rosa. She loves working with children and helping inspire a love of art. Christine comes to Ma Petite École every other week and captures the children's attention with fantastic art projects that are directly linked to our in class activities. The children do everything on their own, following Christine's instructions and making their art a very personalized creation. Every activity comes out beautifully and clearly demonstrates each child's creativity and passion.