Curriculum

The best of U.S. and French education.

Our curriculum provides a rigorous bilingual academic curriculum that blends the best practices of the U.S education system with the high standards of the French national curriculum, the Cycle System. 

The bilingual approach has specific objectives: by the end of Cycle 1 (Kindergarten), students begin to read in English. By the end of Cycle 2 (Grade 3), students read in both English and French. By the end of Cycle 3 (Grade 6), students are capable of tackling any academic subject in both languages, and are prepared for middle school and beyond with solid study habits and learning strategies.

Cycle 2: Fundamental Skills

U.S. Grades: Grades 1-3
French Equivalent: CP, CE1, CE2
French Immersion:  80% in Grades 1 and 2, 50% in Grade 3

In Grades 1 and 2, students continue to develop and acquire fundamental skills. With ever-increasing autonomy, our students establish and consolidate their oral, reading and writing skills in both languages, while exploring other units of study. At our school, students continue to learn through the French language 80% of the time in Grades 1 and  2, and make the move to a 50% split between the languages in Grade 3. This transition equips students with enough vocabulary, structure, and competency in understanding and expressing themselves to tackle any academic subject in Grades 3-5. 

Cycle 3: In-Depth Study

U.S. Grades: Grades 4-6
French Equivalent: CM1, CM2, 6ème
French Immersion:  Approx. 50% (plus specialty classes in French)

In Grades 3 through 5, students explore language arts, math, science, history, geography, and the arts at a much deeper level than previously. These are the years where balanced bilingualism is honed, with students spending approximately 58% of their classroom time in French, including specialty classes. Essential concepts are introduced in Grade 3, reinforced in Grade 4, and mastered in Grade 5. Experiencing two distinct national approaches to the same subject broadens students’ understanding of how another culture views the world.

Curriculum Highlights

English Literacy and Language Arts

Our program in the early elementary grades is an integrated and differentiated approach to learning to read, write, listen, and speak, designed to promote the love of these disciplines while encouraging thinking, reflection and responsibility for one’s own learning. Our goal is for learners to engage in and experience rich literacy-based activities, enabling each individual to draw on his/her past experiences, collaborate with others and advance at his/her own pace. This strong literacy foundation enables students to explore deeper content study and application in the upper elementary grades. We use the Aero Standards throughout our English program.

French Literacy and Language Arts

Building on oral skills, learning to read and write in French is the focus of Cycle 2. Working toward language proficiency is the target of Cycle 3. The study of literary texts or artistic works takes on an increasingly important role. Students gradually learn to identify subtext and go beyond the literal meaning to redevelop the work's figurative meaning and offer a simple interpretation. We use the French National Curriculum throughout our French program. 

Questioning the World

In Cycle 2, students approach science, social studies and social-emotional learning through an integrated approach supported by the French curriculum. Eight core domains are explored: Scientific practices, imagination and production, tools and methods for learning, language practice, use of digital tools, adoption of ethical, responsible behavior, and situating oneself in time and space. Students learn how to investigate and reason to describe and understand the world around them. They are provided opportunities to ask questions, observe, describe, and reason to draw conclusions.

History and Geography

Through instruction in French, the integrated curriculum of Questioning the World continues into Grade 3, while American units of study are introduced in English. In Cycle 3, separate units of study are taught in French and English, building on students’ basic knowledge and their ability to situate themselves in time and space. History and geography are closely linked, dealing with common topics and concepts and sharing tools and methods. Where possible, overarching essential questions and enduring understandings supersede content and language to enrich student understanding. 

Sciences

In Cycle 3, students continue to develop their curiosity, manual skills, precision in using language, rigorous reasoning, and gradually learn to differentiate scientifically validated facts from opinions. At French American, we have developed an unique bilingual framework that is rooted in the French National Curriculum and the Next Generation Science Standards. Our program honors the integration of science, technology, engineering, art and math, as appropriate.

Mathematics

The foundation of our program includes basic skills and problem-solving. In Cycle 2, six core domains are explored: discovery, modeling, representing, reasoning, calculating and communicating. In Cycle 3, students reinforce mental and written calculation techniques for automaticity while discovering new concepts such as: decimal numbers, proportionality, new measurements, and geometry. The best of French and American approaches to mathematics instruction are employed. Students have opportunities to learn through trans-disciplinary projects and in relation to real life problem-solving situations.

Art and Music

Artistic education is an essential part of a well-rounded, humanities-centered curriculum. These classes are designed to be creative and allow students to develop their own identities in a comfortable setting. In our programs, artistic or musical expression is always linked to the exploration of major works of art and artistic approaches. Both of these classes provide an additional opportunity for students to practice and apply their French language skills.

Physical Education

Physical Education is taught in French. These classes emphasize: Developing motor skills and learning to express oneself using the body, becoming familiar with tools and methods by practicing sport, sharing rules and taking on roles and responsibilities within a team, learning how to look after one’s health through regular physical activity, and becoming familiar with a physical and artistic sport culture.