Why a French Immersion Prechool?
There are so many benefits to a French Immersion Preschool. Here are some of them:
Immersion education allows students to develop broader skills and facilitates learning. The intellectual gymnastics imposed by the passage from one language to another develops in children other skills among which: a better concentration, greater adaptability, a broader intellectual curiosity, a better organization of work.
The knowledge of languages offers children an openness to the world, arouses interest in another culture, removes certain cultural prejudices, and allows them to develop richer intercultural relations. This advantage also influences their future prospects on the labor market in a European context increasingly integrated for example.
Traditional methods of language instruction are aimed at “learning” a foreign language. In the context of immersion, we more often talk about “acquisition” because the development of new skills will be more natural.
Vygotsky writes about the classical learning of a foreign language that the child assimilates his mother tongue unconsciously and unintentionally while learning a foreign language begins with the awareness and the existence of an intention. This is why we can say that the development of the mother tongue is done from bottom to top while that of the foreign language is done from top to bottom. If the development of the mother tongue begins with its spontaneous and easy practice and ends with the awareness of its verbal forms and their mastery, the development of the foreign language begins by the awareness of the language and its voluntary mastery and ends with an easy and spontaneous speech.
Learning is, therefore, a more laborious process because it is "conscious" and requires effort, whereas acquisition is a more natural phenomenon and occurs (almost) unconsciously. The disposal method is certainly at the border of the two processes.
Immersion is without a doubt an effective method of language learning that offers children a set of skills whose linguistic knowledge is only one of the elements.
How involved should I be in my child's education?
The teachers will present the pedagogy and the philosophy of the school during the back to school meeting held the first week of school in September.
Throughout the year, the teachers may ask you to help them entertain the curiousity and the desire to learn of your child by involving your child in many at home activties such as cooking, playing or exploring while out on nature walks.
You will also have the opportunity to come during the school year to observe what happens and how a day goes at Au Clair de Lune's "classe maternelle". Parents are often curoious to see what a day is like their children. We have an open door policy and you are alwasy welcome to come and volunteer for the day.
Finally, If you are expert in a domain, we would love for you to come and share your passion with the children.
Will there be parent teacher conferences? Why are they important?
The short answer is yes. There will be parents teacher conferences throughout the year.
Parent teacher conferences take place twice a school year: one in January and one in June. It is important to receive feedback on the progress or needs your child may need. It is a time when teachers and parents exchange on what the best solution is for the child to garantee emotional and educational success in the classroom.
Keep in mind that teachers love to talk to parents during drop off and pick up. However, if you need a more in depth conversation, the teachers will always make themselves available for meetings throughout the year.
Will my child be able to read at the end of Preschool leaving Au Clair de Lune?
Our phylosophy insists on introducing savoir-faire and knowledge to the children when they are ready in order to follow their individual rythm. If a child manisfests the desire to start reading at 3 or 4 years old, we will definitly jump on the occasion to work with him or her.
Most likely, your child will leave Au Clair de Lune between the ages of 5 and 6 years old being able to read simple words and sentences. Because each child has its own individual rythm, some children will be going in 1st grade knowing how to read some words and sentences while others will be fluent readers.
Also because they are children learning not one but two languages at once, some might be better readers in one language over the other.
My child tells me he/she played all day long. Is he/she learning?
At Au Clair de Lune we apply a pedagogy based on the pleasure to learn. Your children will be "playing"with various activities a teacher will have presented to them individualy or in a small group of 2 or 3 students maximum.
Activities are always presented to resemble games but while they are extremly fun for children to experience, they all have a precise learning objective determined.
As always, the teachers are always ready to guide the students at any time if they feel the student is in need.
Why the students are mixed-age in the class?
At Au Clair de Lune, we are convinced that the children learn a lot from their older classmates. The little ones learn so much from their elders.
That is why we chose to open a "Classe de maternelle" with all ages mixed (from 2 to 5).
Different aged children adopt a pedagogical posture naturally. They guide each other in the exploration of the world pointing important elements to take in consideration.
The more advanced children on a domain will teach, in an unformal way, and the children in need of help receive these teachings by giving their full attention and therefore rentain with great efficiency.
The children giving the lesson also learn new important skills along the way. To help the other ones, children need to learn to be clear, progressive, flexible, patient and empathic. They often show a great imagination and creativity to help their classmates in difficulties and find solutions adapted to each one.
What curriculum do you use?
At Au Clair de Lune we want to provide all the children a warm environment where they can grow and learn while respecting they individual rythm and own pace. We mix the curriculum from the French Ministry of Education with the California Preschool Curriculum Framework. By following both French and American curriculums, we can proudly assure you that your child will be ready for whatever happens next. Whether they continue their schooling in a French immersion preschool or enter the American public school system, they will be ready for any challenge that come their way.
To know in greater detail about our curriculum go in the curriculum tab.
What are your class sizes and student-to-teacher ratios?
At Au Clair de Lune we know the importance of small ratios because how many students can a teacher help at one will determine the quality of education they receive.
For this reason we have implemented a 1:6 teacher student ratio. 1 teacher for 6 students really allows our educators to differentiate instruction, individualise learning, give personal attention and lead students to be more engaged and active throughout the day.
What is the difference between Extended Care and After School Activities?
Au Clair de Lune offers on site before and after school care supervised by an assistant teacher. Extended Care is designed to be a fun and playful extension of the school day for children who need to arrive early or stay later.
After School activities are designed to extend your child’s learning and love for discovery through themed activities taught by a French lead teacher.
What is the difference between a Preschool and a Day Care?
Preschools are more learning-oriented, offer a curriculum, have lesson plans and activities geared toward teaching children with a specific goal in mind. In a preschool, there are assessments and screening performed to guide the teachers on ways to improve upon strengths and develop areas of weaknesses.
Au Clair de Lune is based on an approach to teaching which develops the link and the relationship between the children and between the children and the teacher. The teachers always proceed to follow the child's invidual rythm.
Au Clair de Lune Preschool teachers and directors have higher education standards than for those at day care centers. We are always challenging ourselves to come up with new ways of teaching, and never stop our education. There are always new theories and approches to learn about and adapt to the classroom. As educators we understand the trust families put in our school.