Primary (5 and 6 year olds)
Young children are curious, eager to learn, engaged and certainly are in a "sensitive period" for the sounds and musical aspects of language. That is why the classes consist of a great deal of songs, stories, poems, visual materials, hands-on materials, and kinesthetic activities.
Students will go through a long period of listening and comprehension of the French language before being able to utter any words. They will communicate verbally when ready through developmentally appropriate activities and without any pressure from the teacher.
Usually, the weekly routine includes: greeting song with gesture, have a short humorous dialogue, do some kinesthetic activities, sing presenting visuals and using gestures, introduce a concept with manipulatives, do a simple game and sing a bit more. After we say “Au revoir,” a student is responsible to turn off the lights; another to open the door for the class to line up and leave the room. A third student closes the door.
The students learn simple expressions and vocabulary in a context: greetings and goodbyes, saying their names and ages, expressing their mood and saying how they feel (hungry, thirsty, cold, hot), recognizing numbers 0 to 12 and counting up to 20, using simple expressions about the weather, colors, parts of the body, days of the week, clothes, foods, opposites, some animals and their physical description, following commands, and practicing nasal vowel sounds.
Lower Elementary (First to Third Year)
Lower elementary students are still in a period predominantly interested and attracted to the sounds of language, so the lessons include many songs and dialogues. Students absorb the language by following commands, answering questions, acting, playing games, singing, working in pairs. At this level, students start to follow the instructions and routine of the classes and gradually use the French language to communicate needs.
To enhance communication, the teacher makes use of activities based on meaningful context. A concrete, multi-sensory approach like visuals, manipulatives, puppets, models, and pictures are presented to the students to better grasp their meaning.
In 2011-2012, third grade students will start to practice simple reading, writing and punctuation using the Symtalk method. By the end of the year, they should be able to answer simple questions and write short sentences, and students' spelling gradually would be enhanced.
Students work on the following: greetings and introductions, describing and asking for objects in the classroom, and discussing the current weather and how he/she feels about it. Students also become familiar with Europe, speak about the weather, nature, and recognize the seasons. Students learn to express the foods he/she likes to eat and become acquainted to French food and traditional holidays. Students name and describe members of his/her family, the parts of a house, and his/her school.
Upper Elementary (Fourth to Sixth Year)
At this level, students are able ask and answer simple questions of studied material and write and read easy subjects. They follow the commands and routine of the class and are able to orally request what they need. Grammar is introduced in a context and integrated as needed for improved communication.
The students continue working with varied activities such as: following commands, singing, listing, matching, classifying, comparing, interviewing, identifying, labeling, asking/answering questions, working in pairs, listening to dialogues, reading a short tale, and playing varieties of games.
During the first part of the year the students review and extend knowledge of: commands, greetings, numbers, objects in the classroom, the French calendar (dates, months, and holidays), and the weather related to how we feel. The curriculum also reviews asking and answering where one is-from, age, name, and interrogative words. New structures and vocabulary are added by learning a bit about French speaking countries and some cultural differences (Africa), identifying parts of the school and places in the city, asking about location and permission to go somewhere in the school, and describing one’s own personality and physical attributes. Students learn how to shop as well as how to behave at a restaurant reading the menu, ordering food, and paying the bill.
The basic vocabulary and structures of the whole curriculum are cycled through the years for better retention.
After completing the full program, the students should be able to:
- Be acquainted with very basic geography, history, art, music, foods, and customs of the French-speaking countries.
- Have simple and short exchanges about studied topics.
- Understand simple phrases, sentences, and instructions or commands.
- Write short sentences.
- Read and understand very short texts on known material.