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The English Preschool and Kindergarten Program at EB

Blog Type:  Preschool
Date Posted:  Tuesday, October 1, 2019

What is the English curriculum in a bilingual preschool like Ecole Bilingue de Berkeley? Learn more in this overview of the Preschool and Kindergarten curriculum and how can you support your child at home.

Ecole Bilingue de Berkeley is a bilingual school where the French and English programs complement each other as students become bilingual and biliterate in a multicultural environment. 

A Preschool student is learning to trace using a plastic board coated in red paint.

Our immersion model begins with more instruction in French while eventually reaching a 50/50 ratio. Our school makes intentional decisions about how to progress students in both languages. Research consistently shows that students in immersion settings can make slower progress in certain areas at the beginning of their schooling, but catch up and surpass monolingual peers by the end of elementary school and beyond. 

Data at EB is consistent with that research which is why we emphasize that an immersion school is a long-term choice. Our goal is to prepare students to matriculate into French or American schools after EB with all the skills needed to thrive. 

Our school has a focus on differentiation in order to offer a personalized learning experience for each unique child. This means that while we use the academic standards of the American curriculum (California common core standards) to guide our program, we also respond to the needs of each individual learner. 

Differentiation is at the heart of our school and our English program. Students may be enriched with standards above their grade level or given support with standards below their grade level. Each child will progress at their own pace and teachers differentiate to meet each students’ instructional needs.

Students who are learning English will receive support for a specialist in English Language Development. This support can be provided in the classroom, as a pull-out service and in conjunction with the classroom English teacher. 

 

Toute Petite Section

Overview

This class includes our youngest students and corresponds roughly to a class for two-year-olds in an American preschool. These young children are just developing their receptive and productive language skills in English. 

Their English teacher is with the class 20% of the time or for about five instructional hours per week. They work with the French teacher to cover similar themes so students can build concepts and vocabulary in both languages. 

The focus is on making children comfortable at school and learning through play. Whole group time is limited and most of the learning is done through small group work and individual interactions.

A brief story time in a Toute Petite Section English class.

Components

Brief circle time, songs, poems, story time, sensory, gross and fine motor activities, structured and unstructured play, oral language (listening and speaking) with an emphasis on basic communication, and socio-emotional learning.

 

Petite Section

Overview

This class corresponds to a three-year-old preschool program in American preschools. 

Children receive English instruction for 20% of their instructional time or five hours per week. Thematic teaching allows French and English teachers to work on some of the same themes, concepts or vocabulary words in the same month. 

Students will vastly improve their oral language skills in Petite Section and much of the work revolves around introducing new words and ways to communicate. Students also develop their fine and gross motor skills. They will start to learn to count and receive basic early math skills. 

The climbing wall in the Preschool yard provides plenty of opportunities for gross motor skills development.

Components

Circle time, songs, poems, story time, sensory activities, gross and fine motor activities, structured and unstructured play, oral language (listening and speaking), arts, early math foundations, socio-emotional learning

 

Moyenne Section

Overview

This class corresponds to a four-year-old preschool class or what is known as Pre-Kindergarten in American preschools. 

Students are now developing more competent oral language skills in English and are able to communicate in many different ways. In addition, they are introduced to print materials and learn that print carries meaning. 

They will learn to write their first name and be introduced to the uppercase and lowercase letters of the alphabet, learning some of them. They will see their teacher modeling the reading and writing process. They will also continue learning to count (1-10) and develop basic math skills such as counting objects, classifying objects and identify simple shapes. 

A teacher reads a story during English time in a Moyenne Section (pre-k) class.

Components

Circle time, songs, poems, read-aloud, shared reading, shared writing, phonemic awareness, sensory activities, fine and gross motor activities, structured and unstructured play, oral language, arts, mathematics, socio-emotional learning

Link to standards

California Preschool Learning Foundations (learning targets for language arts, mathematics and social-emotional development)

How to help support learning for your preschooler at home: 

  • Talk to them and engage them in conversations, help them learn new words
  • Read simple stories to them daily
  • Sing songs and recite nursery rhymes and poems
  • Encourage fine motor skills with play-doh, art activities, sorting small objects
  • Encourage gross motor skills with outside play that includes running, jumping and climbing
  • Provide opportunities for structured and unstructured play

For more information and ideas on appropriate activities for preschoolers visit First5California.com

 

Grande Section/Kindergarten

Overview

Kindergarten includes students who are turning five years old. At EB, we also offer a Transitional Kindergarten option for those students who qualify--they will participate in two years of Kindergarten before transitioning to first grade. 

English instruction continues to be 20% of instructional time or five hours a week. In Kindergarten, students will consolidate all their preschool learning--this year is very important as it lays the groundwork for more academic learning in first grade. Students will learn more about the reading and writing process and become emergent readers and writers.

Emergent readers will learn concepts of print (how to oriente a book, text from left to write, difference between letters and words), start to recognize common words and may try to read repeated text. Emergent writers will use what they know about sound-letter correspondence to begin writing using invented spelling. Students will consolidate their knowledge of the alphabet by learning all the letters and basic sounds as well as learning how to write the uppercase and lowercase letters in print. 

Students learn mathematics in English once a week through the Number Corner which is based on the American math standards. Students learn about math through calendar activities, collections and counting. Kindergarten students learn to read and write numbers 1-20, compare numbers, describe shapes and begin learning about addition and subtraction.

Components

Circle time, social-emotional learning, read-aloud, shared reading (including poems and songs), shared writing, emergent reading and writing, handwriting in print, phonics, phonemic awareness, oral language, mathematics (Number Corner), arts.

Standards

A coordination game in Kindergarten.

How to help support learning for your Kindergartner at home: 

  • Read aloud to your child on a daily basis
  • Learn the alphabet with singing, labeling items at home, playing with letters
  • Play with sounds through songs, poems, nursery rhymes and rhyming books
  • Ensure proper letter formation with this chart
  • Practice math skills on counting and sorting objects, discussing shapes (find out more about math in Kindergarten)
  • Encourage fine motor skills with play-doh, art activities, sorting small objects
  • Encourage gross motor skills with outside play that includes running, jumping and climbing
  • Provide opportunities for structured and unstructured play