Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Franco-day in Augusta:

The 3-4-5-6th grade students served as pages in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Franco-day in Augusta:

La chorale singing in the State House on Wednesday March 25, 2009.

La semaine de la Francophonie:

Inauguration of International French Week 2009, Langham Hotel-Boston
Beth; Mrs Yousuf Karsh, widow of Famed Canadian Photographer ;
Consul General of Canada Neil LeBlanc and his wife, Willy
State Representatives:Brian Bolduc and Henry E. M. Beck

Friday, March 27, 2009

Newspaper articles

Please click on the following links to read articles from the newspaper France-Amérique on the International French week:



Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Victorija Smith for her presentation on human body to the 1st and 2nd graders and for ink cartridges for the class
LuBett Taquet for plastic bottles for Valerie's class
6th grade parent for taking photos at the State house during the 3-4-5-6th graders performance
Jennifer Hluska for her presentation during the wine tasting
Francis Carlier for the visit of the Porland Museum of Art in French
Senator Stanley J. Gerzofsky and State Representative David Webster for inviting our students to serve as pages in the Senate and in the House of Representative
Elodie Le Nezet Soule, Elodie Chancelier and Beth LeBihan for helping at the wine and cheese event
Elodie Le Nezet Soule for the movie nights

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Meet Clarisse Bizot Next Year's K-1 Teacher...

Clarisse Bizot was born in Orleans, in the Center of France. After her science Baccalauréat she studied sports at the University of Dijon, then joined the Institut Universitaire de Formation des Maîtres (teacher’s school) to teach younger children, and she became a certified teacher. She happily taught all levels, and to share her love of the job, she decided to specialize in training new teachers. She taught a lot in preschool during the last 6 years and passed another exam, in sports this time, to train teachers already in position. Clarisse is very adaptable and loves all the subjects taught in school. She was a member of many associations regarding:
-Sports: horse riding, dance, rollerblading, swimming, and mostly gymnastics at a high level (15 hours of training per week at 17!!!) and she obtained two State Certifications in this discipline, which allow her to train young people to compete, as well as others to keep in shape.
-Music: She learned piano, saxophone, and she is currently learning guitar, she was part of a chorus and a Batucada (Brazilian percussions);
-Visual arts: she has creative past-times and took classes at the Beaux-Arts school of Digne les Bains.

Since the birth of her son Louison in 2006, she reduced the amount of activities outside school to focus on the education of her child, but she remains very dynamic. During her studies, Clarisse took part in a big project on the 21th century teacher. For that purpose, she traveled to Germany, Poland, Great Britain and Russia in order to study their educational systems. When Didier Carribou, her husband, wished to go teach abroad, she was immediately enthusiastic about the idea. She already imagines this experience to be rich in new encounters and discoveries. She is thrilled to bring her competence to L’Ecole Française du Maine and she cannot wait to discover this new environment, and to participate in and initiate exciting projects.

... and Didier Carribou, Support Teacher in Grades 2-7 next fall

Didier was born in Digne, a lovely little town in the South-West of France in a region where nature is preserved, and located between the Southern Alps and Jean Giono’s Provence.
At an early age, he was passionate about sports and nature (competition downhill skiing, hiking, mountain biking, skiing but also volleyball at a regional level). In 1988, he obtained a science Baccalaureat, then studied sports at the University of Montpellier. His versatility in sports and his science background were very useful at the time. In 1992 he prepared his masters in ‘sports and management’ and finished his State Certification as a ski teacher. He moved back to the mountain and taught ski for several winters in various ski resorts of the Southern Alps.
He particularly enjoyed teaching young children and decided to get his teaching certification. He joined the I.U.F.M. (teaching school) in 1995 and became a certified teacher in the High Alps region. He combined his work in class with his participation in associations through the sports federations of public primary schools (U.S.E.P.), sharing his experience as a ski teacher.
In 2000 Didier was recruited by the USEP of Haute-Provence Alps to become regional representative. His job proved very interesting and demanding and included: staff management, budget management, sports meets organization (all sports) for school students of the department, organizing and teaching during adult and teacher trainings.
He then met Clarisse, and in 2004, decided to go back to elementary school teaching. Since then, he shares his time between his passions: his family, teaching, sports (ski, hiking mountain biking, badminton), reading, music & shows, and cooking.

In 2008, Didier and Clarisse decided to re-ignite their careers and to attempt the experience of teaching abroad. The contacts with L’Ecole Française du Maine interested them immediately thanks to the school’s philosophy as well as its general environment. They are now ready to put their experience, dynamism, and enthusiasm at the disposal of this new organization.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Le persil...

On Friday March 20, 2009, the 1st and 2nd graders brought the parsley they have been growing in their class to Mary-Lou, the school's cook. She will be using it in the dishes she will serve to the children at lunch. Miam!

Knighthood Award of Palmes Académiques to Elizabeth and Willy LeBihan

In recognition of their dedication to the promotion of the French Culture and French Education in Maine, the Consulate of France recommended Elizabeth and Willy LeBihan for the prestigious award of Chevalier des Palmes Académiques, an order of Knighthood, founded in 1808 by Napoleon Bonaparte.
Xavier Darcos, French Minister of Education, awarded Elizabeth and Willy LeBihan the prestigious award of Chevalier dans l’ordre des Palmes Académiques.

L’Ordre des Palmes Académiques (Order of Academic Palms) is an Order of Chivalry of France bestowed upon academics and educators. The order was originally created by Napoleon to honor eminent members of the University of Paris. It was re-established on October 4, 1955 by President René Coty and is one of the world's oldest civil awards.

Originally, the Palmes Académiques were only given to teachers or professors. In 1866, the scope of the award was widened to include major contributions to French national education made by anyone including foreigners. It was also made available to French nationals outside of France who had made major contributions to the expansion of French culture in the rest of the world.

Founded by Elizabeth and Willy LeBihan in May 2002, L’Ecole Française du Maine, The French School of Maine, is a non-profit organization providing a bilingual education for children from preschool through middle school. The curriculum of the school follows the directives of the French Ministry of Education and the Maine Learning Results. Recognizing the numbers of Franco-American citizens concentrated in this area, the founders hoped to create a French learning experience for the children of people who grew up with French-speaking parents and grandparents, thereby passing that cultural heritage to the younger, English-speaking generations.

Originally located in Winthrop, Maine, the school relocated to Freeport in the fall of 2004 to accommodate the high demand for bilingual education. Today, as in 2002, the rigorous academic program contributes to the renaissance of the French language in Maine, and to the development of students into ambassadors of acceptance and independence.

An award ceremony is scheduled for June 18, 2009 at L'Ecole Française du Maine in South Freeport, at which time the Consul General of France, François Gauthier, will present the medals.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

La piscine!


We would like to share with you all the fun we have every week at the YMCA. We have been improving a lot since the beginning of the year! We split our class into three groups and we all have different activities. For example, some of us practice swimming on our backs using our arms, some practice swimming with our heads under water, and some of us learn how to dive. It is a lot of fun. After our lesson, we always have 15 minutes to play in the pool, and we really like to show our teachers what we just learned during the lesson.

Les Grandes Sections

Les cinq sens...

Bonjour !

For the few past weeks, the PS/MS and the GS have been studying the 5 senses. After having covered Taste « le goût », Smell « l’odorat » and Touch « le toucher », we will now start Sight « la vue ».
Last week, as part of the « toucher » activities, the PS/MS/GS divided into 4 groups. One activity was to touch objects in a closed shoe box to recognize them and say if they were hard, soft… Another activity was to find among all the objects of the classroom something hard, something scratchy… The third group had to find in a bag, without looking, the shapes that were corresponding to the ones on a board (match the shape of a circle to the circle on a board). And in the last group, the children had to take their socks off and walk and touch different textures (sand, leaves, water…)

We had a lot of fun and learned a lot !

Saturday, March 21, 2009

UMF Dancers, Modern Dance Company to perform at L’Ecole Française du Maine

Photos © by Fred Dearnley

On April 9, 2009, members of the UMF dancers will perform for our students, along with Artistic Director, Margaret Gould Wescott.

Thank you Margaret and Company for offering this amazing opportunity to our students. It surely will be an unforgettable performance. Merci Beaucoup!!!
As a former member of the company for four years, I personally can’t wait!!

Parents and Friends, rest assured, I put in a plea for a visit from Margaret's son, Seth Wescott (Olympic Gold Medalist in Snowboarding!) as well ….but as you can imagine his schedule takes him around the globe, far from South Freeport, Farmington and Sugarloaf these days. Margaret did, however, offer to come speak about his accomplishments and share mementos and films collected over his impressive career. That would be another welcome treat to look forward to! Thanks again!

From the UMF Dancers website:
The UMF Dancers is a post-modern, improvisational dance company committed to creating classes, dances, performances and lecture demonstrations around themes of race, social class and gender. Our work explores the integration of the body, mind, and spirit. We aim to create a community of dancers where tolerance of divergent points of view and affection exist.
The UMF Dancers are proud to be celebrating their 29th year as a modern dance company. We are located on the campus of The University of Maine at Farmington, which has been named the top public comprehensive college in the Northeast for 8 years in a row by the US News and World Report.
Although recently we are focusing on the contact improvisation form of dance, in the past, the company has studied the work of Rudolph Laban, African Dance, Dance and Text, Choreography, and has for the last 10 years been studying modern dance from a somatics point of view. Through the company we also have been able to study Dance History and have amassed an impressive video library through the Mantor Library.

We welcome you to explore our website, learn more about the history of the UMF Dancers, meet current and past members, and explore our photo gallery.


Founder & Artistic Director Ms. Margaret Gould Wescott:
Margaret is a Maine native who is a student of dance and believes that mind/body/spirit is one word. She has been choreographing, teaching, performing, and directing dance events since 1967. She is the Founder and Artistic Director (1980). She is the co-author of The Maine State Dance Curriculum. Margaret is the past president of the Maine Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (MAHPERD). In 1998 Margaret was chosen as Maine's first Dance Educator of the Year by MAHPERD. Margaret is a bodyworker who graduated from the three year Rubenfeld Synergy™ training program in New York City in May of 1996. She is a member of the Visual and Performing Arts Department at UMF and is the proud mother of Sarah (35) and Seth (32) Wescott The twenty-fifth reunion concert of the UMF Dancers celebrated friendship, creativity, and the solidarity of intentional communities.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Semaine de la Francophonie

The school has organized several events for the Francophone week.

On Monday, March 23 at 1:30pm, the children will be performing at the Freeport Community Center. La chorale will sing, followed by the Suzuki students' performance.

On Wednesday morning, the 3-4-5-6 graders will sing at the State House in Augusta and serve as honorary pages at the Senate and House of Representatives.

On Wednesday night there will be a Wine Tasting followed by a movie night at the school. The Wine tasting will start at 7:00pm, and the movie - 'Ne le dis à personne' by Guillaume CANET- will start at 8:00pm.

Visits of the Portland Museum of Art will be offered in French on Friday, March 27, from 5:00pm to 7:00pm by Francis Carlier.

And finally, on Saturday, March 28, you can attend a Provence Cooking class, from 10:00am to 2:00pm with Elodie Le Nezet Soule. Please call the school in advance to register! Cost: $50 /person

We hope to see you all for these special events!

New England Association of Schools and Colleges

There is so much going on this time of year, and immediately upon our return, we were all back in full swing at the school. Teachers and students picked up where they left off. With the sun shining brighter each day and snow on its way out, we all feel the excitement of spring and the reality that the school year is taking a turn into the final weeks. We are happy to be refreshed as we tackle the tasks ahead in the time remaining.

This week was particularly important to the development of the school. On Tuesday, we were visited by the NEASC Accreditation Committee. This initial visit followed the submission of our application requesting to be admitted into the self-study process. This process typically takes 18 months to 2 years to complete once begun. The three administrators who visited were very impressed with the school and its projects and history. They visited each classroom and met with Beth and Willy at great length to discuss all aspects of the school. We are very pleased by their praise and encouragement and are anxious to embark on this journey towards accreditation. This status will validate all of the hard work contributed thus far by so many who have dedicated time and talents to this school, including the teachers, students and their families among others. Our cooperation as a community has brought the school to this point, one where we can envision such a milestone as accreditation. Thank you all for your past and continued support!!!

In the school kitchen:

As you probably have learned, Laura has made the decision to return to practicing medicine. We thank her for all of her hard work and for her interest in the children at the school. We wish Laura all the best as she returns to practice. Before the vacation, Laura asked us to be looking for a replacement for her, pledging to stay on until a suitable replacement was found…. and one person immediately came to mind…Mary-Lou! We called her and she thought it over, then jumped right in with both feet! For those of you who recall, Mary-Lou cooked for the school for an entire year when we first arrived on the scene in South Freeport. At the time, she was the owner of the Village Store next door, where she ran a deli and baked homemade treats for many years. She sold the store to retire, but boy are we glad she is willing to take on the important role of cooking for the school. Welcome back Mary-Lou!!!

Greenville, South Carolina

The March vacation was wonderful for the LeBihan family, we took a road trip to Florida where we had a marvelous time playing in the sun and recharging our batteries for the rest of the school year. On our way home, we took a planned detour to Greenville, South Carolina to visit a French school there, Ecole Française Bilingue. http://www.efbgreenville.org/

Visiting other establishments is always interesting because we can always learn from other schools. We were particularly interested in this school as we have a lot in common. While most French schools are located in urban areas (Dallas, San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Houston, Boston….), our schools are both located in more rural environments. Furthermore, our schools both have similar student enrollments, with small numbers of students in each grade. The school in South Carolina welcomes 77 students daily, from Kindergarten through high school, while we have comparable numbers, with students from preschool through middle school.

The Director, Nicholas Brindel, is an acquaintance of ours. He formerly was the middle school director at the International School of Boston. In the past, we have had the opportunity to meet him on several occasions- at receptions or meetings with the Mission Laique Française. Mr. Brindel was very gracious, giving up his entire morning to discuss the school with us. He gave us a tour of the school, a beautiful facility situated in a setting much like our own school and surrounded by residential properties and woods. Nicholas arranged for us to meet with a middle school teacher to help us in the planning of our 5ème in the fall (7th grade). We were fortunate to make personal contact and to discuss curriculum materials with her. Friederike now has a list of recommended materials and a person she can contact personally for ideas!

Our schools are different in that the school in South Carolina is run by the French company, Michelin Tires, which employs 20,000 people in Greenville, South Carolina. Michelin built the school and pays the entire operating budget, to provide a French education to the children of French employees brought to the states for a few years, as a benefit. This ensures the children can reintegrate into the French system upon their return to France. American children also attend the school, but in smaller numbers. Ultimately, each of the 40 French schools in America is unique. We all follow the same curriculum, but our populations are very different and therefore each school needs to address the individual needs of their school’s population. It was a very informative visit, well-worth the detour, and we are grateful to Mr. Brindel and his faculty for their hospitality.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

L'Amérique du Nord francophone: Passé, Présent et Futur

Wednesday, March 25, 2009 7:00 -8:30 pm/ Mercredi le 25 mars, 2009 de 19 à 20h30

French North America: Past, Present and Future/ L'Amérique du Nord francophone: Passé, Présent et Futur

Please join us to hear a discussion on the diversity of experiences for the French-Canadians in Northern America, featuring Dr. Barry Rodrigue (University of Southern Maine), Éric Waddell (University Laval ), Greg Chabot (Franco-American playwright, actor & director), Normand Beaupré (author) & Marie Cormier (actress). Presentation will be in French and English.

Veuillez vous joindre à l’auteur et professeur de l’Université du Southern Maine Dr. Barry Rodrigue (Voyages : A Maine Franco-American Reader), à son collègue Canadien maître de conférence et auteur Éric Waddell de l’Université Laval (Franco-Amérique), à l’auteur Franco-américain dramaturge/acteur Greg Chabot, à l'actrice Marie Cormier ainsi qu'à l'auteur Normand Beaupré (The Boy with the Blue Cap–Van Gogh in Arles) pour discuter et célébrer la riche culture francophone à travers l'Amérique du Nord. La présentation sera en français et anglais.

Maine Historical Society
489 Congress Street
Portland, ME 04101

(207) 774-1822

Admission : Free / Gratuit

Information and RSVP: Rosine McKenna, rosine.mckenna@international.gc.ca, (617) 262-3760 Ext. 3803

Monday, March 16, 2009


You are all invited to join us on Monday March 23 at the Freeport Community Center to enjoy a wonderful concert. La Chorale will perform, followed by a Suzuki concert of the violin, guitar and piano students.

(School parents: please remember to provide a change of clothes for your child that day (black pants or skirt and white top) even if he/she is not performing.)

We hope to see you all there!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Pendant les vacances...

During the vacation Aidan made his very own French flag and went to the conquest of Maine's heavy snow...


6th grade parents for providing wood for the science project
Amber Hayes for donating wood puzzles for la Maternelle
Doug Piehl and his crew for replacing tiles of the kitchen floor
Bob Michaud and Norht East Mechanical for checking the heating and cooling system of the school
Stephanie and Tim Bowden for tissues