Le Château des Enfants (CDE) Director Meagan Vincent spends the rest of her year as a Pre-K teacher at a school in San Mateo, California. While she loves having the opportunity to work with a larger range of ages in the summer, she especially enjoys working with the youngest members of the TASIS Summer Programs: the Minnows (ages 4½–6). Amelia Panella ’18 sat down with Ms. Vincent to learn more about her background and the important work she does at TASIS each summer.
How long have you been the director of CDE, and can you briefly describe what you do in this role?
This is my fourth summer working as the Director of CDE, but I’ve worked at TASIS for the past 13 summers. I started off as a counselor teaching art, and after that I taught English. I then became the Assistant Director of CDE before becoming the director in 2015.
As the director I oversee the implementation of the whole program, and my main role is to ensure the success of the summer not only for all our children, but also for our staff. I find people who are perfect for this unique program and help train and develop them so that they can also contribute to the success of the children’s summer. I support the group and create an environment where children can grow and change.
The director who worked before me and trained me for the role used to say that CDE is really a program for two groups of people: for the students and for the adults who come to work with the students. For many people this place is such a different world, and they learn a lot about how the school works and also learn a lot about themselves. Part of what I love about being the director is that I get to be a part of that transformation, both for the children and the adults.
What do you like most about working at TASIS?
Definitely the children! I’m always surprised about how much I love that—it is for sure the number one reason I keep coming back, summer after summer. I love getting to know these children as people and seeing them go from being very homesick and timid to strong and independent individuals. We get to see them come out of their shells and turn into different people in a very short amount of time.
One of the great things is that many students return to TASIS year after year, so I’ve seen Minnows become older CDE kids, I’ve seen CDE kids become MSP and then TSP kids, and I’ve even hired some previous CDE campers I was a counselor for many years ago who have now returned as junior counselors.
|I love getting to know these children as people and seeing them go from being very homesick and timid to strong and independent individuals.|
What do you think makes the summer program here unique?
I think that what TASIS does, I would imagine better than any other school, is create a beautiful place for children to get to see the world on a very small scale. I think that we create a truly global experience where children get to take on different perspectives and understand different cultures and belief systems as well as different learning styles, all the while having an amazing time and being surrounded by beauty and nature.
What are the main goals of the CDE program, and what do you think the children gain out of their summers here?
The main goal of the summer here at CDE is to create, or continue to grow, children’s confidence, independence, and self-efficacy. We want to help them believe in themselves so that they truly believe they can solve their own problems and advocate for themselves instead of having to rely on adults.