Through the dual lenses of French and English, we immerse our young learners in a supportive and nurturing learning environment that helps them develop a sense of self, self-awareness, and an early understanding of their world from two perspectives.
Through our project and play-centered learning, our students are exposed to an array of hands-on experiences and social interactions that set the stage for academic success and a love of learning.
Bilingualism in Preschool
Developing Cognitive Abilities
Brain stimulation is the strength of bilingualism. By constantly juggling between two languages during the day, more synapses are fired. In other words, students’ brains are pushed to develop faster than if they were exposed to only one language.
In our international preschool, students are immersed in French 80% of the time. Research has shown that placing a child in situations where they are surrounded by a second language will allow them to pick up on the grammatical knowledge faster and better. We gradually add more hours of English to reach a split of 45% English and 55 % French by elementary school.
My daughter has attended since the FAA opened in 2013, and she absolutely loves her school. I have gotten to know personally the very approachable, dynamic, and competent management team. The 3 sections K/Pre-K, Elementary and Middle School are equally strong and provide children with a top-notch education with a level of cultural exposure and fully bilingual setting you will not find elsewhere. Why should you consider this school? For a French family it is a no-brainer. Half of the teachers come from France bringing with them the culture and teaching philosophy. The level is significantly above public schools in France. Even for French parents settled permanently in the US, why deny your child the chance to be completely fluent and be able to communicate in French with grand-parents back home? For American families, the English program is very rigorous, with advanced materials, and children are at no disadvantage vs those in the best private schools. 8th graders have gone on to some of the best high-schools in NY/NJ. As a bonus you will enjoy being connected with the international community of the FAA. And yes your child will be bilingual.
Steven Pradet, father of 6th Grader
“It’s a wonderful school! Our daughters did not speak French until a couple of years ago, and now they love it! They are also getting so excited about reading and math. We love the small class sizes and the intimate feel.”
Parents of Elementary Students
“Our son attends the Middle School and we have been very impressed with the quality of the teaching and his bilingual educational experience in Math, Science, and Humanities overall. You don’t have to be from a French-speaking country to feel welcome and see your child thrive. We would highly recommend the Middle School to prospective families.”
Parent of Middle Schooler
“Small class size and very attentive teachers. The school operates like a small community. The school is sensitive and very responsive to child allergies and that is very important to me. My son started the school at age 2 already fully understanding French, however, he did not speak it back. Being fully immersed in this environment has gotten him to a place where he is comfortable speaking the language and at 3 he is actually speaking both English and French, knows who to speak which language to and can even translate for me (non-French speaker). The school also keeps up with technology, there’s an app where the teachers post often and there’s a communication weekly letting us parents know what the focus is for the week. I’m very pleased with the school.”
“After a year and a half we are thrilled that we made the decision to switch to FAA. Sonya’s experience has been absolutely wonderful. She will continue on to high school and college with not only strong academic foundation and fantastic command of French but also with incredible confidence and love of learning that the teachers instilled in her. Every faculty member has gone above and beyond in their support, care and encouragement. She calls some teachers her friends. I find it amazing. I could not wish a better Middle school experience for Sonya.”
Learning Through Play
How We Teach
The main objective of our play-based curriculum (which evolves into project-based in elementary and middle school) is to make students want to learn. Since the last 4 decades, the consensus on early childhood development research has been that children learn best when they are having fun, and for preschool-aged children, fun arises in play.
In our international preschool classes, learning objectives are embedded in purposeful play-based activities like painting, drawing, singing, dancing, constructing, etc. Through this method, students acquire deeper knowledge through active exploration.
Most importantly, our teachers consider children’s interests and unique abilities and support preschoolers’ individual growth in an engaging, fun, and structured learning environment.
3 Key Pillars of the Preschool Program
We are preparing our students to be future leaders. Through games, students learn how to be a student in a classroom community, to collaborate and communicate effectively with their peers, no matter their cultural background.
We engage students in activities that foster responsibility and autonomy to develop an early sense of self as an individual. We aim to help our students to take pride in their identities and to grow their self-confidence.
Oral language is the bedrock of all learning. Whatever the language spoken at home, children at this age naturally absorb any language they are immersed in.
Preschool & Kindergarten Curriculum
All aspects of the curriculum are enhanced through multi-sensorial activities that stimulate curiosity, promote critical thinking, and develop social skills. Another key point to mention is that these skills are part of the 6Cs that we enforce throughout the entire school’s curriculum.
In our International preschool, our bilingual curriculum is organized into five interrelated domains.
Inspired by the Responsive Classroom Approach, this domain is one of our core educational program’s keystone. To put if differently, the Responsive Classroom Approach ensures success in all areas of the curriculum. For example, children learn to strengthen their relationships with others and develop self-awareness. Also, they adapt to classroom rules and learn to self-regulate and collaborate. Ultimately, they become more autonomous and accountable by taking an active role in the life of the class.
In all areas of our international preschool’s curriculum, children acquire a growing receptive and expressive new vocabulary in both languages. For example, they practice oral skills via meaningful communication during targeted language activities and spontaneous conversation. Then, overtime, they improve syntax structure, understand and follow spoken directions.
The more they practice, the more our little students demonstrate an understanding of the organization of print, syllables, and sounds (phonemes). Moreover, they display reading behaviors. Eventually, at the end of Kindergarten, children read independently in English and are ready to begin the first grade’s formal French reading program.
In mathematics, children learn about numbers and their uses. They strongly establish the concept of quantity, understand organized patterns, identify and describe shapes. Similarly, following scientific thinking, children make predictions, manipulate, observe and describe the characteristics of living things, objects and matter. They also show understanding by explaining “how” and “why.”
Equally important, children develop an awareness of time and space. They learn about their community and their own culture. They discover other cultures, people, and places.
Children express themselves and represent what they know, think, believe, and feel through visual art and creative movement. They engage in musical activities and participate in dramatic play
During physical fitness activities, children improve body awareness, spatial boundaries, coordination, and control. They also practice the hand-eye coordination and dexterity needed to manipulate small objects during fine motor skills activities.
Day in the Life of a Preschooler
In our international preschool, early learning is an essential step in the students’ journey to guarantee academic excellence and success. Thus, in PreK2, PreK3, and PreK4, children learn to become autonomous and develop an early sense of self as an individual. Supported by their teachers, they interact and live together through active engagement in a positive environment. Moreover, they get a healthy start and develop autonomy, strengthen oral language and discover writing and number concepts. Likewise, they begin to experiment in science, develop physically through gross motor activities and create artistic projects.
|8:15 am to 8:30 am||Drop-off|
|8:30 am to 8:45 am||Morning Meeting|
|8:45 am to 9:15 am||Language workshop, constructing numbers, world discovery + workshops to build autonomy|
|9:15 am to 9:45 am||Motricity activities & sports|
|9:45 am to 10:30 am||Snack time + Outdoor time|
|10:30 am to 11 am||Arts (painting, collages, etc…)|
|11 am to 11:30 am||Language workshop, constructing numbers, world discovery + workshops to build autonomy|
|11:30 am to 11:45 am||Classroom cleanup|
|11:45 pm to 12:30 pm||Lunch Time|
|12:30 pm to 12:45 pm||Bathroom time + falling asleep|
|12:45 pm to 2:15 pm||Nap time (need based)|
|2:15 pm to 2:45 pm||Language workshop, constructing numbers, world discovery + workshops to build autonomy|
|2:45 pm to 3:00 pm||End of the day meeting on the rug|
Kindergarten is an exciting transition as students blend what they have learned in preschool with more structured academic activities and routines. As a result, Kindergarten plays a pivotal role between early childhood and elementary school. This is the grade where students begin the formal reading program in English and become independent readers and problem solvers.
Practical Information | Preschool & Kindergarten at Glance
- Amount of Instruction in French: 80%
- Age of Admission: 2.5 years old by December 31st.
- Admission requirements: Potty training is not required.
- Teacher-student ratio: 1 to 6 students
Learning beyond the classroom
Field Day Trips & Events
At our international school, The French American Academy, we want to give our students real-world experience! We carefully plan field trips to enhance the curriculum and enrich overall learning. From taking a trip to the local firehouse, Liberty Science Center or visiting the Montclair Art Museum, children experience different learning environments outside the classroom.
Discover our Campuses
Jersey City, Hoboken & Englewood
All of our International preschool locations at the French American Academy follow the same curriculum and philosophy. Learn more about our New Jersey preschools in Jersey City, Hoboken, and Englewood.
Jersey City, NJ
Preschool & Kindergartner FAQs
Learning a second language does not mean a child’s brain will have less space for the first language. In fact, research suggests that learning a second language can actually stimulate brain development and improve cognitive skills. Learn more.
At our international preschool, our goal is to provide students with a strong bilingual foundation in both English and French. We understand that while English is widely spoken in our community, it is important to actively immerse students in the French language in order to achieve proficiency. We are dedicated to providing instruction and opportunities for our students to thrive in both languages.
Learning a third language is a rewarding and enriching experience for a child, especially at a young age. Research suggests that being exposed to multiple languages has numerous benefits for cognitive and language development. Children have a natural ability to learn languages and are often able to pick up new languages more easily than adults. So, if your child is already proficient in two languages, learning a third language may come more naturally to them.
Don’t hesitate to encourage your child to take on this challenge and expand their linguistic abilities – they may surprise you with their progress and success
As an international preschool, we are proud to welcome a diverse student body, with over 42% of families who do not speak any French at home. Don’t worry, this is not new for us!
Here are some ways you can support your child in their French language studies at home, even if you do not speak French yourself:
- Encourage your child to practice their French skills regularly, whether it be through homework assignments or additional language exercises.
- Provide a quiet and distraction-free environment for your child to do their French work in.
- Sit down with your child and ask them to explain their homework and what they have learned in their French class. This can help reinforce their understanding of the material and give you an idea of what they are struggling with or excelling in. You can also ask your child to teach you a few phrases or words in French to help them feel more confident and to show your interest in their studies.
- Encourage your child to use resources such as language learning apps, books, and videos to improve their skills.
- Encourage your child to listen to French music and watch French films or television shows to expose them to the language in a natural and enjoyable way.
- Talk to your child’s teacher about additional resources and support that may be available to help your child succeed in their French studies.
- Be supportive and encouraging of your child’s language learning journey, and celebrate their progress and accomplishments along the way.
At our International Preschool 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 our English teachers are native English speakers.
Our preschoolers leave their classrooms daily to engage in a variety of activities. They have scheduled daily gross motor skills class in the gym and, weather permitting, they visit Hamilton Park or our courtyard daily during recess. Preschoolers also visit our library, cafeteria, nap room, music room, and other areas of our school on a regular basis. In addition, we have a range of school events that provide additional opportunities for our preschoolers to explore and learn in new environments.
We believe that providing a diverse range of experiences is important for a child’s development, and we strive to offer a wide range of activities for our preschoolers to participate in.
Preschoolers at the French American Academy go outside as often as possible, weather permitting. They have scheduled outdoor time daily and may go to a nearby park or to our courtyard during recess and special activities.
We prioritize providing opportunities for our preschoolers to go outside and explore the outdoors as we believe it is important for their physical and cognitive development.
Our large library is a bright and welcoming place, perfect for cozy story times with the librarian.
Preschoolers visit the library at least once a week to enjoy a variety of books, but they also have access to additional books in their classrooms where their teachers also read to them. We believe that reading is an important part of a child’s development and strive to provide plenty of opportunities for our preschoolers to explore the joys of literature
At our international preschool at the French American Academy, we are inspired and include some Montessori core beliefs in our curriculum, but we are more than just a Montessori preschool. Our educational approach goes further than only Montessori core beliefs. We proactively promote 21st-century skills required in today’s world, bilingualism, project/play-based instruction, and global citizenship.
Montessori Core beliefs we include in our curriculum:
- small class size to give students individualized attention
- embracing life-based teaching
- promoting independence among children
- manipulatives that link math and geography to day-to-day life