At French International School of Philadelphia, we teach a dual curriculum in French and in English. Our students learn English with their American teacher and French with their French teacher. They do not learn either language as a “foreign” language but rather as another language. At French International School of Philadelphia, acquiring another language takes place at a young age when children are receptive to learning another language in the same way they are learning their mother tongue.
Our students are immersed in French at an early age in order to be given the opportunity to master the language. Our students learn to think in French as well as in English. Emphasis is placed on developing verbal skills in the pre-elementary grades, while academic learning (including reading and writing) takes place in the elementary grades. As outlined below, the time devoted to English and French instruction changes from preschool to eighth grade.
|Preschool /3 year-olds||87% French||13% English|
|Pre-kindergarten/4 year-olds||82% French||18% English|
|Kindergarten/5 year-olds||77% French||23% English|
|First Grade||73% French||27% English|
|Second Grade||65% French||35% English|
|Third Grade||65% French||35% English|
|Fourth Grade||62% French||38% English|
|Fifth Grade||50% French||50% English|
|Sixth Grade||50% French||50% English|
|Seventh Grade||50% French||50% English|
|Eighth Grade||50% French||50% English|
In classes conducted in French, we follow the official national curriculum of France and in English the standards established by the State of Pennsylvania. We coordinate these two programs so that they enhance one another. Language Arts, Social Studies and Math are taught in French and English. The remaining subjects are taught either in French or in English as described below.
Beginning in preschool, our students have an opportunity to explore the world of science through discovery and investigation with our science teacher each month. In grades two through eight, the program is formalized, with science classes occuring several times each week. As part of our science curriculum, our students learn to apply the scientific method. In March, all students in our school participate in our annual science fair. Our middle school students also enter their projects in the Montgomery County Science Fair.
All students in our school participate in weekly music classes. Students in preschool through kindergarten work with our French music teacher; student in grade one through grade four work with our English music teacher; and Upper School students in grades five through eight work with both our French and English music teachers. In music class, our students learn how to sing, read music, play the recorder and Orff instruments and use a keyboard. They study music history, familiarize themselves with famous composers and develop an appreciation for music. All Pk3 to grade 4 students perform in two bilingual musical programs and Upper School students perform in one bilingual musical play each year.
At each grade level, art is integrated in the curriculum. It includes the study of artists who have influenced society's cultural environment for centuries. In art class, students will learn to relate form, color, space and line while developing a sense of aesthetics. They also have the opportunity to express their creativity through varied media. On a regular basis, we organize visits to surrounding art institutions, invite local artists to our school and implement the Art Goes to School Program. Each student in the school participates in the annual end-of-year art exhibit.
Sports classes are incorporated into our weekly program and taught by the French classroom teacher in preschool through third grades. Fourth- through eighth-grade students have classes three times per week in English with our athletics coach. Additionally, all Upper School students in grades five through eight are invited to join our soccer, basketball and swim teams.
Our school is equipped with broadband access, a network, computer lab, and computers in each classroom for student use, including iPads, laptops and interactive "smartboards." Children are taught to research and to reinforce skills learned through technology.