The French Curriculum

Preschool

Maternelle: Cycle 1

In the French educational system, “l’école maternelle” includes both preschool and Kindergarten. Children are placed in the section which best corresponds to their developmental age; typically, age three in PreK-3 year old (petite section de maternelle), four in PreK-4 year old (moyenne section de maternelle), and five in Kindergarten.

For Kindergarten, children must turn five by December 31 of the year enrolled.

All of our preschool and Kindergarten classrooms have full-time bilingual teacher’s assistants to give each child ample individual attention and gentle support as they learn a new language. 

Starting in PreK 4 year-old, English is taught a total of 3 hours per week.

Preschool Philosophy

PreK 3-year old and PreK 4-year old (Cycle 1)

Our Preschool offers children full immersion in French. Our children not only learn to understand and speak French, they also learn about different cultures and traditions as they are immersed in a multicultural environment.

Our Preschool’s goal is to balance the development of knowledge while taking into consideration the children’s experiences and interests. Our ultimate aim is to help each child develop a sense of autonomy/independence, and support their growth of knowledge and skills necessary for school readiness.

Our Preschool revolves around children being intrinsically curious, active learners through play and tasks, and their desire to overcome difficulties and succeed. Our teachers encourage the development of the whole child by responding to their individual needs. They provide a safe environment for children to explore different types of relationships, to learn and discover the world through play, to wonder and investigate ideas and possibilities, to create and produce projects, to practice and rehearse rich and diverse situations by helping children develop their own identity and a multicultural awareness.

The National French Curriculum guidelines and our Academic Long Range Plan (“Projet d’école”) guarantee the continuity between our preschool, primary and middle school curricula.

Kindergarten (Cycle 1)

Children learn phonemic awareness, reading readiness and beginning mathematical concepts. With a short period each day devoted to individual concentration in an academic activity, students begin to acquire self-discipline and study habits. Music, art, gardening and creative movement are an integral part of the program. The children are encouraged to express themselves as much as possible in French. English is taught a total of 4 hours per week. Each Kindergarten classroom has a full-time bilingual teacher’s assistant.

Elementary (Cycle 2 and 3)

First and Second Grade (Cycle 2) 

Reading is stressed in the first and second grade; at the end of Grade 2, students should be able to read in French and English. Mathematics, dictation, composition, and cursive writing are taught in French, along with art and music. Five hours per week are spent working in English in First Grade and Six hours in Second Grade. Mathematics, science, physical education and fine arts are taught in French. Music is taught by a specialist. Exposure to French culture and civilization is also part of the daily activities.

English is taught by American certified teachers 6 hours per week in First grade (Language Arts) and 7 hours per week in Second grade (Language Arts, Maths, Science and Social Studies).

Third through Fifth Grade (Cycle 3)

Poetry, short stories and novels are a part of a wide-based and comprehensive approach to the teaching of language arts in both French and English. Reading comprehension skills are studied and refined as the students progress through these grades. Students practice their linguistic skills through creative writing and research reports. Social Studies is taught in English, and there is an ongoing study of history and geography in French. Math is taught in both languages. The French and English math curricula are coordinated in all grades. Learning the basic facts and processes is stressed in grade three, and is reinforced in grades four and five. The study of fractions, decimals and percentages becomes increasingly challenging as the students progress from grade three to five. Physical education and music are taught by specialists.

English is taught by American certified teachers 7 hours per week in Third grade, 8 hours per week in Fourth grade and 9 hours per week in Fifth grade (Language Arts, Maths, Science and Social Studies).

Classes Taught by Specialists

Music: In grades 1 through 5, the music instructor teaches music history, notation of beats, phrase length, melody and rhythmic patterns, singing meter patterns, playing by ear, music notation, tempo, dynamics and music appreciation, choir.

Physical Education: In grades 1 through 5, P.E. is taught by a specialist. The program’s objectives are to develop skills through individual exercise and team sports.