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La Petite Ecole Inc

111 S Fairview Rd
Columbia, MO 65203

(573) 447-3950


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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Teacher-Led

From the Director:

At La Petite Ecole, we believe all that children have a great capacity to learn even the most academically challenging skills. Teachers have high expectations of the children and, by providing meaningful materials and work, they help the children learn to focus. Once children experience success, even with the most difficult tasks, they are excited and feel compelled to continue learning. The resulting confidence and heightened self-esteem are the most important things that children take away from their experience at La Petite Ecole and, more importantly, something that can never be taken away from the child.

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

  Play- based mostly teacher led not formally in curriculum conducive environment
Language       more

More Information

  • Tracing paper and other writing instruments
  • A well-stocked bookcase
  • Individualized reading and writing exercises
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

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  • Puzzles
  • Individualized math exercises
Time & space more

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  • Calendars and clocks
  • Parquetry blocks, pegboards, and mosaic toys
  • Maps
  • Building blocks
  • Circle Time Orientation
Sci. reasoning/physical world more

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  • A place for science activities such as growing plants
Music more

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  • Musical instruments
  • Songs incorporated into daily activities
Visual arts more

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  • Materials such as paint, ink, paintbrushes, crayons, markers, chalk, paper, etc.
  • Art work on the walls
Physical activity more

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  • A playground with climbing equipment
  • Bean bags, balls, and other objects that children can throw, kick, and play
  • Tricycles
  • Enough room for children to move around and play and a suitable indoor alternative to the outdoor playground on rainy days
  • Sandboxes and/or water stations for play
  • Large Gymnasium
Other subjects taught French, Computers

From the Director:

We never give the children the answer. Instead, we provide them with the tools to discover the answer for themselves, thus fostering an ability to actively acquire and seek out new knowledge. Children's current knowledge is continuously expanded by requiring them to perform at a slightly higher level, thus helping them grow.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

Because we typically have one teacher working with 3 or 4 children, our instruction is highly individualized for every child, not just those who are falling behind or excelling. At some point in the learning process, every child requires one-on-one attention, and we are able to provide that.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

La Petite Ecole offers the best in preschool education in a foreign language environment (French). The language center in the brain undergoes the greatest development in the first years of life. Exposing a child to a second language at an early age broadens cognitive ability in later years. Learning and thinking in another language also encourages multicultural awareness. At La Petite Ecole, the new language is not introduced as a separate subject, but as an intrinsic part of the environment. In an immersion program, the teachers communicate with children predominantly in the target language (French). As the children work and play in this new envirnment, French gradually becomes their preferred means of communication at school. It is known that learning a second language develops neurological pathways that are not stimulated in any other way. Early immersion not only gives children the ability to communicate in that language, it will also help them become better "thinkers" and "problem solvers", thus providing them with a great and uncontested advantage over their peers.

A Typical Day

9:00 / 1:00 Arrival
9:15/ 1:15 Circle Time
9:30 / 1:30 Group Activities (art, music, cooking, gymnastics, literacy, etc)
10:00 / 2:00 Snack Time
10:15 / 2:15 Free Play / Centers
10:45 / 2:45 Individual Learning Time (reading, writing, math, science, etc)
11:15 / 3:15 Outdoor Play

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

All staff at La Petite Ecole communicate daily with parents. Folders of the child's work during the week are sent home for parents to review every Friday. In the Fall, parents are also invited to come and observe their child's class. In addition, the director sends out weekly newsletters, uploads photos monthly, and organizes family events to foster a sense of school community. Parents meet formally with their children's teachers biannually and receive highly detailed written assessment of progress. A parent handbook and orientation meeting are provided at the start of the year. In addition to these opportunities, parents know that the door is always open.

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • Sit on the board of trustees
  • Hold social events at the school to build community
  • Fundraise
  • Are required to make donations ourselves
  • Are able to visit the school anytime we want
  • Go on field trips
  • Volunteer in the classroom
  • Receive newsletters

Modes of Communication

  • Notes
  • Phone Calls
  • Email
  • Special Meetings
  • Two or More Regular Conferences
  • Drop-Off
  • Pick-Up
  • Regular newsletter/printed updates circulated to the whole school


Separation is Handled through:

  • Pre-entry meetings with parents at school

Handling Separation: From the Director

The teachers realize that some children will, at some point, experience separation anxiety. Parents are reminded that what children fear is not being "away from mommy and daddy"; rather, what they fear is the *moment* of separation. By saying goodbye quickly and reassuring the child that they will return after school, parents help their children adjust.