The principle anchors of our program.
Our early learning center focuses on developing communication skills through the speech and comprehension of languages and through behavior in a social context; developing body and mind through physical education and artistic activities (such as dancing, singing, drawing); and, enhancing interest and natural curiosity through playful activities, field trips, hands-on projects, and group work.
Overall, students learn what it means to be a successful student among a community of classmates. Students learn to respect rules and others, listen, cooperate, participate, focus, help, and ask for help. At the same time, students develop self-confidence, self-control and autonomy.
Cycle 1: The first steps in a gently unfolding bilingual education with a world view.
Our bilingual, academic curriculum blends the best practices of the U.S education system with the high standards of the French national curriculum, the Cycle System. Cycle 1 of the Cycle System guides a child's learning in our Maternelle.
U.S. Grades: Pre-K (Age 3), Pre-K (Age 4), Kindergarten
French Equivalent: Petite Section, Moyenne Section, Grande Section
French Immersion: 80%
Our program is differentiated.
We recognize that not all children learn in the same way. When we say that our program is differentiated, we mean that we provide each of our students with different ways of learning and understanding new information, based on what works best for each child. In this way, students gain confidence in their own ability to learn and succeed.
In our Maternelle, we adapt to different learning needs by offering a number of age-appropriate methods: learning by playing, thinking, solving problems, practicing, remembering, and memorizing. Through guided and free activities, students develop fine and large motor skills. Vocabulary, syntax, and the rhythm of language are built through daily verbal interactions in the classroom, in the context of physical activities, and through stories, art, dance, and music. Gently, and in incremental steps, the children socialize and develop autonomy. This is the prerequisite for the critical thinking skills that will emerge in later years, and are at the core of our school’s mission.
- Utilizing language in all its dimensions: English and French, oral and written skills
- Building the first tools to structure thought: Math
- Exploring the world
- Acting, speaking, and understanding through physical activity
- Acting, speaking, and understanding through artistic activities
The word "language" refers to a set of activities implemented by an individual when speaking, listening, thinking, trying to understand and, gradually, reading and writing. Our Maternelle allows all children to implement these activities by simultaneously mobilizing the two components of language:
- Oral language: During the early years, building a strong oral understanding and expression in both English and French language is the main goal. Used in interaction, production and reception, oral language allows students to communicate, understand, learn, and reflect. By practicing oral language, children discover the characteristics of French and English.
- Written language: Presented to students gradually until they begin to use it, written language familiarizes students with a form of communication that they will eventually utilize to reflect, anticipate, and make observations and assertions. Building this familiarity prepares children for learning to write and read at a higher level in Cycle 2.
At the end of Kindergarten, students should be able to know each letter (read, vocalize and write) in French, and acquire basic reading skills in English. Students learn how to build sentences and are able to write a few words.
Literature plays an important role in developing language. Students are immersed in a print-rich environment. Children are encouraged to develop an appreciation for reading as they choose books by topic and genre. Students study multiple works on a specific theme every unit.
Students learn to count, manipulate early mathematical concepts, understand and name shapes, and problem solve.
Children have an intuition that allows them to compare and evaluate in an approximate way: lengths (sizes), volumes, and collections of various objects (such as "there are many" or "not a lot"). Our Maternelle progressively leads students to understand that numbers make it possible both to express quantities (cardinal use) and to express rank or position in a list (ordinal use). This learning takes time and practice in situations involving pre-digital and then digital activities.
At a very early age, children intuitively discern shapes and sizes. In our Maternelle, they build further knowledge and understanding of shapes (square, triangle, etc.) and magnitudes (length, capacity, mass, area, etc.). The approach to learning plane shapes, objects in space, and magnitudes is done by comparison and description. This approach is supported by language: Students characterize objects by identifying and utilizing descriptive characteristics. In doing so, children develop the foundation for geometric and measurement principles that will be taught in Cycles 2 and 3.
Students discover science through the exploration of plants, animals, and the human body. Students learn spatial awareness and concepts of time.
- Exploring the world of life, objects and matter: When they enter Maternelle, children already have representations that allow them to take their bearings in their daily lives. To help them discover, organize, and understand the world around them, the teacher proposes activities that lead children to observe, formulate more rational questions, build relationships between observed phenomena, predict consequences, and identify characteristics that are likely to be categorized. Children begin to understand what distinguishes the living from the non-living, and they manipulate and manufacture to become familiar with objects and matter.
- Placing self in time and space: Through their exploratory activities, children intuitively perceive certain spatial and temporal dimensions of their immediate environment. These perceptions allow them to acquire, within their living environments, a first set of benchmarks, and to develop expectations and memories of a recent past. However, this knowledge remains implicit and limited. One of the aims of our Maternelle is to bring them gradually to consider time and space as relatively independent dimensions of the activities in progress, and to start treating them as such. It also seeks to get them to increasingly overcome their own point of view and adopt that of others.
Students develop their gross motor skills through running, obstacle courses, dance, and movement; and learn how to cooperate through team games.
The practice of physical activities contributes to the motor, sensory, emotional, intellectual, and relational development of children. These activities mobilize, stimulate and enrich the imagination, and are an opportunity to experience new emotions and sensations. They allow children to explore their physical possibilities, broaden and refine their motor skills, and practice balance. These activities also help children build their laterality, which is the oriented image of their own body, and better place themselves in space and time.
These bodily experiences allow students to develop cooperation, build constructive relationships among classmates, and respect differences—thus contributing to socialization. The participation of all children in the physical activities proposed, along with the organization and the implementation of Physical Education classes, aims to fight against stereotypes and contribute to the construction of equality between girls and boys. Physical activities are part of health education by leading all children, whatever their "performance," to experience the pleasure of movement and effort, and to know their body better and respect it.
This field of learning refers to the visual arts (painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, cinema, comics, graphic arts, digital arts), the sound arts (songs, instrumental and vocal music), and the performing arts (dance, theater, circus arts, puppets, etc.). Our Maternelle plays a decisive role regarding children’s access to these artistic worlds: It is the first step in the artistic and cultural education which aims at the acquisition of a personal artistic culture.
Students practice their fine motor skills by using varied media such as painting, collage, drawing, fiber, sculpting, etc. Students also develop an early appreciation for art by studying artists and their various stylistic expressions, and participating in field trips to local art museums. Students also learn the basics of rhythm and instruments, sharpening their listening skill through music appreciation.