Viviane Salin, founder of a bilingual school in Singapore

Viviane and her husband Vincent settled in Singapore with their children and embarked on an original project: to create their own bilingual French and English school. Among their various tips for young expatriate families in Singapore, they advise you to think carefully about your international health insurance, so that you can experience motherhood with confidence.

Why did you choose Singapore as your country of expatriation?

“After working in France for a few years, Vincent in auditing and banking, and I in music and events, we were keen to discover another country. It was a job opportunity that led us there, but initially it wasn’t going to last more than 2-3 years.”
She seized the opportunity to turn her passion for music into a profession and became a violin teacher while performing at the Singapore Opera.

How did you come up with the idea of setting up your own school?

Unable to find a suitable school for their children, they decided to create“La Petite École de Singapour“.
“Our children were growing up in a ‘third’ culture (a mix of French, Singaporean culture). Born in Singapore, of French parents, learning English, we needed a different structure.”

Viviane explains that she and her husband then decided “to try their hand at entrepreneurship and create our ideal school, with different teaching methods that could also meet the needs of other expatriate families.”

Première pre-school (ages 3 to 6, French curriculum in French and English) opened in Singapore in 2012, followed by the first nursery in 2015.
“We opened two new schools in 2017: a Pre-school in Bangkok and a Playgroup – pre-school – elementary school (ages 1 to 9) in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam.”

What are the principles of La Petite École?

“At La Petite École, the concept is simple: provide bilingual education for children from nursery to CE2, in a relaxed, fun atmosphere to encourage learning through play.” The curriculum is that of the French national education system, but in French and English.

Has it been well received by expatriate families in Singapore?

“Opened with 17 students in 2012, La Petite Ecole de Singapour now has 160. In 2013, La Petite École de Singapour obtained approval from the Agence de l’Enseignement Français à l’Étranger (AEFE).”
In Ho Chi Minh, Groupe La Petite Ecole took over an existing school, which represented a new challenge. One year after the takeover, La Petite Ecole de Ho Chi Minh has 107 students and a staff of 20, including 7 teachers.

What are your next stops on site?

Another challenge for the future is to develop partnerships.
Otherwise, the main objective is to consolidate their project and make it grow. “We’ve applied for certification for our two schools, in Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh.”
July 2018 saw the opening of The French Academy, a new language center in Kuala Lumpur.

Continue to promote our brand and why not open new schools.

Can you give a health tip for future expats?

You should always plan ahead for your maternity ward. There is a 10-month waiting period for most international insurance policies , and you don’t want to take out insurance “too late”.

To contact Viviane
More information on Petite école

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