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It seems that Education is the number one concern of parents with children considering moving to France. On many expat forums there are countless discussions stressing about the minuscules of education in France to the exclusion of all else. Yes of course the schooling of our children is a primary concern and we all want what’s best for them, but education is only one part of the equation - an important part it’s true, but not the only part.
It would be unwise (perhaps) to take your children to a country with a very poor standard of education, but this is France we’re talking about, not the third world, There are many criticisms that can be made of education standards here, but there are plenty of successful people out there who have gone through the system and managed to succeed either despite or because of it.
Once we’ve accepted that by going through the French education system our children are not going to become gibbering idiots, we can embrace all the other considerations that form part in the equation.
Pace of Life
Consider the benefits of living life at a slower pace giving the opportunity to experience and share the simple pleasures in life as a family.
The opportunity to grow and flourish in a safer environment, where pollution, crime and drug rates are lower and children can explore freer from harm.
What about the benefits of being exposed to a culture where family life is celebrated and children are not seen as inconveniences that need to be ‘catered’ for? Isn’t it beneficial to live in a country where children are “children” for longer and where respectfulness is inherent?
Let’s not forget to mention the benefits gained from being bilingual – a gift that provides a multitude of advantages throughout life. In addition, recent research suggests that bilinguals are better at retaining their mental abilities into old age than monolinguals. So not only will you be improving your child’s job prospects, but you may be helping to prevent them going senile too!
What I’m really saying is, try to take a more rounded view of what is most beneficial for your children. There is so much more to life than just education and France has such a lot to offer. In my opinion the equation should look something like this:
Pace + Safety + Culture + Language + Education =. Well-balanced, content child
After all, that is what we are all striving for, isn’t it?