The French program at the Edison is designed to create a solid listening, speaking, reading, and writing foundation for further studies at the middle and secondary school level. A cultural component is integral to the curriculum. Our program seeks to inspire curiosity concerning other cultures and places and to move students up one proficiency level per year of study according the the national standards established by ACTFL, the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages.
The early exposure to a new language in kindergarten assists students in acquiring an authentic accent at an age when they are most receptive. As many of our students already speak a second language, steps are taken to recognize and value heritage languages while comparing and contrasting them to the new sounds and language concepts particular to French. Songs, games, and stories develop listening and speaking skills and simultaneously expose students to the cultures of the countries in which French is spoken. Celebrating French feast days and holiday traditions like la galette des rois in January and crêpes for la Chandeleur in February add both culture and fun. Movement and motion is incorporated into almost every lesson. In the upper elementary classes, students are introduced to reading and writing in the target language, and they begin to create their own sentences accompanied by illustrations to reinforce the content and ideas. Interactive reading and listening comprehension tasks are presented using authentic cultural resources supported by appropriate scaffolding and the direct teaching of interpretive techniques.
Why study French? Learning French provides optimal grounding for expanding one’s linguistic repertoire to include other languages. Of the five Romance languages, it is the closest to English. Linguistics estimate anywhere from 33% to 50% of the English language is derived from the French. Students will learn the recognize and use the most common root words and spelling patterns that connect English and French, growing their vocabularies and linguistic confidence in both languages simultaneously.
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