In Elementary School at the French American Academy, our bilingual curriculum gives students a proven path to academic and personal success. First, it includes measurable progress in core skills like reading, writing, math, and science. Second, but equally important, it provides students with superior cognitive development and social-emotional growth through various aspects of academic life.
The Elementary curriculum develops bridges between the French Ministry of National Education program and the US Common Core to ensure students build a strong foundation for success in middle and high school and beyond.
Two Tracks Available in Elementary School
This is the natural continuity of your child’s bilingual elementary education received at the French American Academy or at another French-American School. Students can speak, read, write and count in both languages at the 6th-grade entrance level.
Accelerated French Track
In this track, students are not required to have prior French language and can start without any French Knowledge. This track can also be the natural path for French-speaking families who didn’t choose a bilingual education during elementary years but would like to deepen their child’s ability in French.
Elementary School Curriculum
Language Arts: Language skills are at the core of the elementary curriculum. In both languages, we want our students to explore and strengthen all areas: reading, writing, speaking and listening.
Mathematics: We work collaboratively with Math and the City, a national center of research so we can provide a strong curriculum in computation, algebra, geometry, and data organization.
En Route to Algebra 1
Mathematics are way more than memorization of facts and techniques. Most importantly, it’s about having children engaged in inquiry, proving their thinking, and communicating it to their peers. In order to achieve this, we set up activities and routines in every classroom that build number sense and encourage students to take different paths to solve problems.
Ultimately, our goal is to have our students take Algebra 1 in 8th grade.
Our students in grades 3 through 6 compete in Math League competitions in NJ and win prizes!
Mathleague.org runs the largest network of local and state math competitions at the elementary, middle, and high school levels in the United States and abroad. Students can participate in local contests challenging their mathematical abilities in four rounds of competition including Number Sense, Sprints, Target Problems, and a Team Round. These timed rounds allow students from various local schools to compete with one another for a number of individual, team, and school prizes based on their number of correct answers. Winners can then advance into the State Championships and eventually a National Championship.
We want our students to become confident readers and writers.In both French and English class, we choose the Readers and Writers workshop approach. In this case, each session begins with a mini-lesson. Then, teachers work with small groups or with individual students to explicitly teach strategies that address each child’s learning needs.
Elementary school’s French and English teachers teach together to help students build bridges between the two languages. French and English teachers work together to help students build bridges between the two languages. Through the method MAK developed by Marianne Verbuyt students will take the time to study the structure of each language and compare them. Marianne Verbuyt has included visual tools in her method to make that learning easier, funnier and more efficient. With this well-designed and thoughtful approach for syntax, punctuation, and prosody the students develop a stronger mastery of each language.
Oral language is still really important in the elementary curriculum. So it is fundamental for children to develop their oral language skills to enrich their reading and writing. During their time at the French American Academy, students have different opportunities to improve these competencies.
For instance, here is a quick overview of moments when they practice, but also show all their talent as speakers.
- French language workshop to target specific oral language skills.
- Bilingual oral presentation starting in 1st grade
- Plays performed at the “End of the Year show”
- Student council : students are encouraged to convey ideas effectively so they can have an impact on their school community.
Learning beyond the Classroom
Examples of past trips:
The 2nd and 3rd graders spend three days and two nights in the Catskills or in Connecticut. Animals and habitats, sustainable development, recycling and compost, and the “Flying Squirrel” are among the highlights of the trip.
The 4th and 5th graders travel for a complete week. In other words, they are out for 5 days and 4 nights. Typically, we alternate between two trips :
- A one-week trip to Quebec, Canada, for the cultural connection
- A historical trip to Boston and Plymouth for the social study curriculum.
“This was the best time of my life” was a repeated exclamation from participants upon their arrival back in NJ. Read more on field trips by visiting out field trips page.
Benefits of Field Trips
Educational Trips are a lot of fun! But beside this obvious benefit, there are many others that come into play. Among them, you can find :
- Developing cohesion among the group
- Building confidence
- Developing a sense of autonomy and responsibility
- Proposing different ways of learning
- Living an unforgettable adventure with classmates!
Elementary School FAQs
In Elementary school at the French American Academy, French proficiency is not a requirement However, for students in 1st grade and up, we offer two French language tracks to choose from! The Bilingual Track does require some prior knowledge of French, while in the Accelerated French Track students do not need to know any French. But don’t worry, we understand that language learning can be challenging and offer additional support to ensure all of our students succeed. Plus, our nurturing environment is perfect for helping students thrive and reach their full potential.
In Elementary school at the French American Academy, all of our French teachers are from countries where French is the official language and speak French as their native language and all our English teachers are native English speakers.