Virginie Butin, co-founder and curriculum director of the De la Fontaine Trilingual Montessori School in Tampa, Florida, has focused the better part of her career on childhood education. Holding a French degree in business and management, Ms. Butin spent 15 years prior to her work in early childhood education, working for the French Customs and Excise service.
Ms. Butin turned her attention towards childhood education, with an interest in alternative pedagogies and multilingual immersion, after her daughter was born.
Following the philosophy of Montessori, a pedagogy which advocates that the initial six years of a child’s life are crucial for the child’s language development, Ms. Butin created the first bilingual Montessori school in Metz, Lorraine, France in 2016. The school opened with a French teacher, an English teacher and an assistant, in a single mixed-aged primary classroom, Ms. Butin’s brainchild welcomed 25 children. Following a successful first year, the school expanded with the opening of an elementary classroom and a second primary classroom staffed by 10 bilingual Montessori professionals. Just two years later, at the start of the 2018-2019 school year, the bilingual Montessori school in Metz welcomed 65 children staffed by 10 bilingual Montessori professionals.
Deeply passionate about the importance and advantages of multilingual learning in early childhood education, Ms. Butin, in collaboration with co-founder, Anne Breton, opened the flagship trilingual Montessori school in Tampa Bay in January 2019, De la Fontaine Trilingual Montessori School.
Carole Anne Seidelman grew up outside of New York City, where she now is based. With a degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in linguistics, having done graduate work there as well in Romance linguistics, she has lived and worked in four countries, in international tourism and education. She speaks five languages, studies others regularly, has her own multi-lingual tour company, and compares languages to windows: if you only speak one language, then you are in a room with just one window.
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