At L?n Prep, Critical Thinking is Key

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Pre-K through 12th grade immerses students in globally charged curriculum

By Anam Baig

Léman Manhattan Preparatory School, part of the Meritas group of international private and boarding college prep schools, promises a dynamic, culturally aware education for all of its pre-kindergarten through high school students.

Formerly known as Claremont Preparatory School, it was acquired by the Meritas Family of Schools, a conglomerate of prep schools, last April. It was renamed Léman Manhattan Preparatory School after its sister schools, Collège du Léman in Switzerland and Léman International School in Chengdu, China.

Both Léman campuses are located in the Financial District. Its lower school, ranging from pre-K through 4th grade, is at 41 Broad St., the former headquarters of Bank of America International-where Claremont Prep used to be.

The middle and high schools opened to students in September 2010 and are on the top four floors of the Cunard Building, located on Morris Street and Broadway right by the Wall Street Bull. The campus boasts a two-floor library, art and music studios, multiple computer labs, a café and an athletic facility with a 25-yard pool, full-size gymnasium and fully equipped exercise room.

"We are located in the heart of American history. If you look outside our window, the Statue of Liberty is there, welcoming people as she has for hundreds of years. It's just an amazing, amazing place to be able to teach children," said Christine Karamanoglou, interim head of the Léman middle school.

Léman Prep immerses students in a globally charged curriculum and promises an open forum for communication between parents, students, faculty and the administration, as well as with students at other Meritas schools located on three different continents.

From day one, students are encouraged to be critical, culturally aware learners. Léman's lower school curriculum focuses on educating the child as a whole, with careful attention to math, language and art.

"Critical thinking is very important in the lower school. We strive to give our youngest students the tools they need to become independent learners, rather than just simply memorizing and reciting things they've read or heard," said Rob Cousins, head of the lower school.

The middle school furthers the critical thinking process for students, giving them insight into how to use the education they acquired in the lower school in a productive way. During this time, students are introduced to an advisory group, a concept many new schools are adopting in order to ensure a safe, fostering environment for the youth.

These are usually small groups of students headed by a teacher, forums for discussion that go past academia and into the personal lives of these growing individuals. The goal of the advisory system is to ensure every student is well-rounded before continuing with more rigorous high school and college education.

The Léman Prep high school will graduate its first senior class in 2013. It provides its students opportunities for academic excellence, co-curricular activities, special projects and internships with neighboring government, nongovernmental and artistic, environmental, educational and financial organizations.

By combining facets of local and international communities in the burgeoning neighborhood of the Financial District, Léman Manhattan Preparatory School continues to excel as a global learning community.

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