It is a well-established fact that every person is unique, and humans being a creature that evolves through a constant process of learning, there is always room for improvement. However, self-discovery and education often go hand in hand in the holistic development of children all around the world.
Becoming the best version of oneself is a process of discovery, self-realisation, and hard work put together. In this process of achieving personal greatness, the environment, the education quality, industry relevance, creativity, social skills, etc., plays a very important role. It is even challenging for ladies as they require a different approach to grooming.
In this modern world, finding an institute that contributes and satisfies all these qualities responsible for holistic development has become the need of the hour. Catering to this specific niche of the requirement of the world, Le Châtelard, an international boarding school for young ladies in Les Avants, Switzerland, aims to groom the young ladies to unleash their full potential and become the best version of themselves.
To acknowledge the school’s contribution to transforming and giving a new direction to the education industry in Switzerland, The Knowledge Review caught up with Maria Veronica Canales, the Director the Le Châtelard. In an indulging conversation with the magazine, she sheds light on the school’s journey to become one of the country’s best-in-class schools.
Le Châtelard: The Ideal Boarding for Holistic Development
The institutional building of the school has a rich and happening history of itself, and it has transformed from being a historical heritage into modern, comfortable, and functional facilities since 1873. Being set in natural beauty in a secure environment in Switzerland, the school meets every need of students for their holistic development.
The school welcomes young girls to experience a unique way of life with an academic excellence program under Christian and universal human values. The students are groomed into an enriching culture of ‘Savoir Vivre’—the art of living—and they study French, sciences and humanities along with other essential subjects. Highlighting some of the school’s values, Mrs. Veronica Canales says, “Our institute provides intellectual, emotional, and spiritual techniques that they will need for her personal and professional future, and that will allow her to become the best version of herself.”
“To support a healthy attitude in students’ lives, our program provides students with a wide range of extracurricular activities as an additional touch to their formation. On weekends, our students have cultural and recreational outings in Switzerland and France. We have several field trips to discover splendid European places full of art, history, and sports during the year. As we are an international boarding school for young girls with Catholic bases, our social program has two pilgrimage trips as well as social outreach visits to asylums and orphanages,” the Director of the school adds.
The school also has a caring boarding faculty to cater for the everyday needs of the students, aiming to provide them with a safe and warm environment that feels like home. Moreover, the school houses an international staff to maintain education standards at the facility.
To give students holistic arms in their development, the school has a well-balanced system that juggles studies, sports, art, and leisure time. While speaking about the same, Mrs. Veronica asserts,“Our institute leads to an atmosphere of harmony and friendship between students, teachers, and staff that we call “Le Châtelard´s family spirit. This is where life-lasting friendships begin.”
School’s Vision, Mission, and Core Values
The school’s vision is to accompany and guide each student towards their integral formation and bring them opportunities to grow as a person and learn the art of living. With such a vision, the school aims to develop its students into leaders and practice the beauty of Christian life.
To achieve this vision of the school, the school has set itself on a mission to seek the development aspect of the person through:
- Teaching students by giving them the appropriate knowledge corresponding to their grade
- Educating the students by developing in them a love for authentic values and a sense of what is good, right, noble, just, and beautiful
- Forming the character of the students as the foundation stone of all virtue and integrity
Emphasising on the core values, the Director of the school expresses, “The class of Savoir Vivre, the art of living, is a trademark of Le Châtelard. Who am I, whom do I want to become and how do I achieve it… are questions that permeate the whole class and environment of the school? This class covers five aspects from external to internal and vice versa. ‘Image is powerful, but image is superficial’. The class contains topics of etiquette, courtesy, good taste, among others, as well aspects as human anthropology, mindfulness, good use of social media, emotional intelligence, well-being, and self-esteem, among others.”
Home Coming of a Proud Leader
With a rich history of 30 years, the school has undergone various leaderships, and many educators have contributed to the school’s success during that time. However, for the last nine years, the school has been under the supervision of a proud alumnus of the school, Veronica Canales, from the class of 1994-1995. She has been a passionate leader with a clear ideology of serving the mission of the school. Being a great educator and leader herself, she has led the school in the right direction to make key improvements in the areas of the school. Under her sheer leadership, the school laid the foundation to what Le Châtelard is today.
Taking about Veronica’s influence on the growth of the school, the school management says, “Making parents part of the daughter’s experience has been a key strategy to the school´s success. The school has a great communication strategy that makes parents feel they are physically present, accompanying them in their experience. The dad and daughter week, as well as the mom and daughter ‘Savoir Vivre week’ have not only fulfilled all expectations, but they have permitted parents to have an amazing Le Châtelard experience too, as they enrich their daughters´ formation by building closer ties to them.”
Imparting Quality Education with Quality Teachers
Quality education has become the need of the hour for students across the world. Being aware of how a good teacher can help enhance the school’s education standards, Le Châtelard has assembled a team of motivated and qualified teachers who are passionate about teaching and enthusiastic about transmitting their knowledge and skills.
The school has also recognised the development of teachers, and to maintain such high teaching standards at the school, training courses are offered to teachers. At the same time, being a school committed to the future and holistic development of students, the school supports and encourages their personal formation projects, giving the teachers more freedom in teaching.
4 Pillars of Education Program at Le Châtelard
Le Châtelard has developed and curated a unique way to impart excellent education through tradition and innovation unlike other boarding schools. The four pillars that make the educational programs complete are Reflection, Hard Work, Analytical Skills and Critical Thinking.
Taking about the different methodologies implemented at the school, Mrs. Veronica Canales says, “We educate free and responsible students who must feel loved and supported in their learning. Therefore, our commitment is holistic, as it addresses all aspects of the person and not only the intelligence, and personalised, where each student has different talents that need to be empowered. We seek to help our students get to know themselves better and to anticipate needs, difficulties, and aspirations in order to respond to them even before the request is made. Our meeting place of tradition and innovation in academics explains why we keep traditional exam-taking techniques, as well as project-based learning activities to evaluate our students.”
Shaping the Leaders for the Future
Le Châtelard was established to prepare students for becoming world leaders and global citizens. Over the years, the school has specialised itself in providing students with the tools they need to venture into the world anchored with values that will keep their culture, beliefs and traditions alive.
Explaining how the school shapes the future of the school, Mrs. Veronica Canales explains, “Among many, will power be one of the most important areas to form in our students. No matter what goal in life you have and what motivates you, if you don’t have a well-formed will power, you will not go far. In a changing world, we need to form our students as working people, capable of overcoming difficulties in life. Together with working habits, we also need to form them to be resilient people, capable of recharging constantly.”
The school has Social Outreach Program that helps them imbibe and develop essential values like empathy, integrity, and social welfare. Through this program, the school prepares the students to live in a social world where people rely on each other, irrespective of their race, religion, etc.
Along with the outreach program, the school also considers saving ecology as an important aspect of preparing students for the future. Through this unique program, students learn to take responsibility for our planet. Moreover, the world is now a global technological village, where one needs to master technology and use it as an aid. The school today has developed a strong foothold in preparing students for the future and allowing them to flourish in modern-day technology.
Mrs. Veronica Canales believes that the best way to prepare future citizens and leaders of the world is to teach them where true happiness lies. And she concludes by quoting Oscar Wilde, “The best way to make children good is to make them happy.”
Roadmap for a Bright Future
Since the inception of the school, Le Châtelard has had very clear goals along with imparting higher education standards that have paved the path to success for the school. Envisioning the future of the school, Veronica Canales says, “we will continue updating and adapting its academic and formation programs according to modern times to always try to adapt and improve things.”