Lower School Curriculum
Coming from Maternelle, where they have completed the first Cycle of Fundamental Learning (Preschool and Kindergarten), our students continue to develop their academic, physical, social and emotional skills through two Cycles: Cycle II, the Cycle of Basic Learning (grades 1, 2 and 3), and Cycle III, the cycle of In-Depth Learning (grades 4, 5 and 6). Although they will transition to Middle School in grade six, this grade level remains programmatically attached to Cycle III.
For first and second grades, classroom instruction takes place 80% in French and 20% in English, with students engaging in French language arts, history, science, math and the arts with their French homeroom teacher, who is paired with a native English-speaking teacher for English language arts and the social studies. The second cycle concludes in third grade, which has been designed as a transitional grade from the French immersion of the previous grades to the bilingual part of the program, with 65% of the instruction in French and 35% in English. The French and English teachers share the core curriculum in language arts, mathematics, social studies / history and geography, science and visual arts. Two specialist teachers teach music and physical education.
Our students conclude their elementary course of studies in fourth and fifth grades, where the languages of instruction become 50% French and 50% English. At these two grade levels, the children work in blocks of days in each language to ensure consistency and continuity. They also receive specific instruction in music and physical education from our specialists.
Elementary: Kindergarten to Grade 5
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 one hour per day. Each kindergarten classroom has a full-time billingual teacher’s assistant, in part to support children who are still learning how to express themselves in French.
First, Second and Third Grades
Reading is stressed in the first and second grade; at the end of G2, 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. One hour per day is spent working in English. Mathematics, science, physical education and fine arts are taught in French. In second grade, music is taught by a specialist. Exposure to French culture and civilization is also part of the daily activities.
Fourth and Fifth Grades
Instruction time is divided equally between the two languages. 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, music, and computers are taught by specialists.
Classes Taught by Specialists
Gardening: In grades K through 2, the gardening instructor teaches basic plant biology and environmental science.
Music: In grades 2 through 8, the music instructor teaches ABA form, notation of beats, phrase length, melody and rhythmic patterns, singing meter patterns, playing by ear, music notation, tempo, dynamics and music appreciation.
Physical Education: In grades 3 through 8, P.E. is taught by a specialist. The program’s objectives are to develop skills through individual exercise and team sports.
Technology: From kindergarten on, students have weekly sessions in the computer lab to gain familiarity with concepts. In grades 4 and 5, the computer instructor teaches basic techniques, including the use of common software and using the web to conduct research.