Languages

EFI Bucharest is a unique trilingual school with three languages of reference: French, English and Romanian. At the end of their schooling, our pupils will be able to speak and write idiomatically in all three languages.

  • French is our main language and academic reference. French is also the  language used for communication, and accounts for more than half of the teaching time. Pupils are mainly assessed on the French language as it constitutes the foundation of our curriculum in primary and high school.
  • English is our second language. In the 21st century, mastering English has become essential. English is an important asset for our pupils as today, as it is the world’s language of communication.
  • Romanian, the language of our host country, has a privileged place as it is taught to all of our pupils, regardless of their nationality. Time spent on learning Romanian will depend on the child’s ability and origin.

Why choose multilingual teaching?

At EFI Bucharest, pupils get used to learning with several teachers and switching from one language to another from a very early age. They develop various skills and the ability to adapt, a valuable asset for their life in school and their future.  

Numerous studies show that bilingual students benefit from:

  • A greater ability to deal with several subjects simultaneously
  • Better attention to detail
  • A well-trained memory
  • Stronger social skills

 Multilingual learning also promotes the stimulation of cultural and intellectual construction. It prepares them for a successful career in Romania or anywhere else in the world.

Early and daily teaching of foreign languages

In addition to French, EFI Bucharest has chosen to start teaching English and Romanian from the first year of preschool (3 years old).

Many people are not aware that small children can distinguish all sound frequencies. Sound varies a great deal from one language to another, but from the age of 7 or 8 this ability slowly begins to decrease. Moreover, small children are usually straightforward and extremely spontaneous. 

After a period of adjustment, young children talk more willingly as they are less worried about making mistakes, an extremely valuable asset for language learning. After only a few months, they will gain in enjoyment and self-confidence, both essential elements in education.

To ensure a fast and continuous progression throughout preschool and primary school, teaching time in English and Romanian increase progressively each year to collectively reach around 40% of school time.

Class

Hours per week

Pre-kindergarden 3yo (Petite Section)

English: 4h30 Romania: 2h00

Pre-kindergarden 4yo & Kindergarden (Moyenne section & Grande section)

English: 6h00 Romanian: 2h00

Year 1 (CP)

English: 6h00 Romanian: 3h00

Year 2 to Year 6 (CE1 au CM2)

English: 7h30 Romanian: 3h00

Native speaking teachers working in teams of 3

To guarantee all pupils master the fundamental skills in French and mathematics, our educational model has a  slightly heavier time schedule (26 hours instead of 24 hours in the normal French school system).

Language classes are given by native speaking teachers who have studied and taught in their country of origin. Linguistic authenticity is key for teaching rhythm and intonation and to ensure the good development of pronunciation and oral comprehension.

 

Each class has three teachers who work together closely:

  • A head teacher who teaches in French
  • A English-speaking teacher
  • A Romanian-speaking teacher

The three teachers occasionally work in co-intervention. This means two teachers are simultaneously present in the classroom. This system requires the time schedules to be finely designed to avoid overloading school days and over-layering language classes.

EFI Bucharest is thus at the crossroads of three teaching cultures. Among the teaching trio, the French teachers steers the coordination as he/she is responsible for the proper conduct of the programs.

A rigorous program that places active learning methods at its center

With trilingual education, the articulation between language learning and disciplinary knowledge acquisition is essential. Students thus learn “English” as well as “in English”.

  • In preschool, the majority of the pedagogical animation is centered around playful and interactive sequences that place pupils in an active role (doing) with success (realizing that I have succeeded) : games, songs, manipulation of objects, staging...
  • The study of Reading and Writing in English and Romanian starts when Reading and Writing are first mastered in French (i.e. during Year 1). The transfer to English and Romanian then happens smoothly.
  • From Year 2 to Year 5, the hourly volume dedicated to English and Romanian further increases. Our teachers use 2 well-recognized programs (The English National Curriculum and The Official Romanian Programs). Besides, some specific subjects start being covered directly in English and Romanian: arts, sciences, ...

In Secondary School, students acquire the subtleties of the English and Romanian languages and are encouraged to write creatively, developing a deeper connection with the language, as it becomes a tool for expressing their imagination (“Whole Language” method).

At EFI, we use a skills and aptitudes booklet that takes into account the trilingual specificity of the school. However, to ensure students acquire all the necessary fundamental knowledge of the French National Programs, the French teacher does a specific individual follow-up focused on the acquisition of fundamental written and oral skills in French.

Groups adapted to the level of pupils

On the basis of the tests taken during the admission process and during the school year, students are placed into groups, adapted to their level and progress.

There are 3 levels for English: Starter / Intermediate / Flyer 

And 2 levels for Romanian:

  • Romanian, mother tongue (Limba maternă)
  • Romanian, language discovery (Descoperire)

NB : For pupils integrating EFI Bucarest in Year 3, a minimum level of English is required. At beginner level, students will be asked to take part in an intensive course (the week before class begin in September) and to the English workshop “Let’s Take Off!” on Wednesday afternoons.

International immersion

The school constantly creates bridges between languages and cultures with educational and collaborative projects or extracurricular activities in three languages.

Some examples: Signs and wall posts in the school are in three languages, twinning with a class from another country, studying some texts in three languages, organization of cultural projects linking French, English and Romanian languages ...

Preparation of language certifications

All our students prepare the international language certifications. These language tests, recognized by the CECRL (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages), evaluate the student’s level and more importantly add value to their school curriculum ahead of university orientation.

At the end of elementary school, pupils prepare language certifications in French and English

Later, during their secondary studies (junior high school and high school), our students will continuously prepare language certifications for which they will receive the best training at the school