Our preschool and Kindergarten classes revolve around children (ages 2 to 6) as intrinsically curious and active learners. We are project-centered and play-based. The children are immersed in French language and culture, approximately 80% of the day.
As the children move from the classroom to mini-gym to the garden, through art, story, movement, and music, they naturally develop the language and the skills they need to learn by the end of Kindergarten in accordance with the French system.
Oral language is the cornerstone of all learning. Children at this age naturally and easily acquire language. Whatever the language spoken at home, they quickly begin to understand and learn in French.
French and English teachers collaborate and co-teach each week to build connections between the two languages so that students learn them naturally and in concert. Teachers differentiate for each student, meeting them where they are in their language development in both French and English. Students are fully supported in this immersive environment.
The students’ five hours of English a week are crucial in building their skills in all areas. English time focuses on oral language acquisition and pre-literacy skills that are the building blocks they need for acquiring French as well as academic skills.
Young children develop literacy through natural exposure (such as through story and print in the environment), play-based experiences, and expert, tailored instruction.
Our program builds a solid foundation for all four skill areas (listening, speaking, reading and writing) in both French and English as students:
Sing and listen to songs, poems, and nursery rhymes
Listen to books and stories read aloud
Distinguish and work with the sounds of letters and words
Start to learn the alphabet
Discover written language and develop the fine motor skills for writing
Teachers call students’ attention to similarities and differences between French and English. They guide students at their own pace to develop an awareness and love of language as well as the skills to engage with written text.
For young children, science is about observing, questioning, wondering, experiencing, and making connections. We capitalize on children’s curiosity and encourage exploration. The students begin with natural and health science, taught in French by our dedicated garden instructor.
We take a multisensory approach--all senses are on alert as the students touch, taste, smell, and look at everything. Students gain healthy eating habits and learn about what the garden needs to survive and thrive, and how to nurture it.
Students gain exposure to physical science as they start to compare and classify characteristics of the living and the non-living, as well as matter in its different states.
Math is integrated into activities and games the children engage in throughout their day. Students develop their sense of number and quantity, through counting, sorting, classifying, comparing, and matching. From circle time to lining up to go outside, natural opportunities to develop these skills present themselves.
At this stage of development, students need to interact with physical objects and images. In both integrated and dedicated math instruction, students:
Build toward fluency with numbers
Lay the foundation for numerical operations
Observe and learn shapes and their attributes
Gain familiarity with concepts and representations of space and time
Recognize written numbers
Physical Development and Movement
We prioritize physical experiences that contribute to children’s motor, sensorial, emotional and intellectual development. Students participate in activities in our dedicated space appropriately equipped for young children to develop balance and coordination.
Students develop their motor skills through:
Different types of movement (e.g., climbing, crawling, rolling)
Coordination and sequencing of movements (yoga, dance)
Balance and awareness of their own bodies in space
Play with objects (e.g., throwing and catching)
In activities with rules, they develop their ability to adapt and cooperate with others. Dance and rhythm allow children to express themselves through acquired skills and—at the same time—develop their imaginations.
Social and Emotional Learning
At EB, we believe that social emotional learning paves the way for students to succeed in school and in life. SEL begins in preschool and continues throughout students’ education at EB.
Our teachers are trained to help children become aware of their own emotions and begin to regulate them. We have a theme-based SEL program, called Vers le Pacifique (Toward Peace), that is specially designed for young children.
This conflict resolution and peer mediation program engages the children with appealing characters. It promotes positive, peaceful behaviors by helping students to develop self-awareness, self-regulation, and a common language around conflict resolution.
Children arrive into class accompanied with a parent and ease into their day with a choice of free activities such as rolling playdough, painting, or playing in the dramatic play area. All activities are in French, except for their hour of song and story with their English teacher.
The children gather for circle time - where they will sing songs, read stories, discuss about their day and get ready for a more structured activity led by the teacher. Mid-morning, children gather around tables to taste some fruits, vegetables or French baguette for snack. It is a great time for them to practice their French language and to socialize with their friends.
After morning recess, children may go in the garden, in the mini-gym or in the library to explore different areas and skills in French. At lunch, students eat together in their classroom and then either read books inside or play outside
Afterwards, students prepare for quiet time or nap, and rest for as long as they need. They will engage in quiet activities (puzzles, building, arts and crafts…) after they wake up. Then it’s time to clean up and gather to review the day’s activities, look at art projects, or sing together.
At 3 o’clock, students all go in the playground where they will meet friends from other classes and get ready for pick up, unless they are signed up to attend one of the many preschool afterschool activities. They can choose between yoga, soccer, hands-on science and a few others.
Ecole Bilingue de Berkeley does not exclude from participation in, deny the benefits of, or subject any individual to discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin. This policy applies to all programs, services, and facilities, including applications, admissions, and employment.