Preschool & Kindergarten
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.
The program they offer is unique: it blends 2 programs (American and French) and goes beyond. The American and French teachers are simply amazing: The teachers are dedicated to the student’s success and take a very individualized approach so that everyone feels included and heard.
The community is international and very caring: parents, teachers, staff. Everyone works together to help children grow and thrive. Bravo!
Parent of a Preschooler
My children have attended FAA for many years. We love the focus on academics, sense of community, and diversity of the school. They provide a rigorous curriculum that challenges and inspires students to reach their full potential. The faculty and staff are highly qualified, passionate, and dedicated, and they work to ensure that each child receives personalized education and care. It provides a unique educational experience that prepares students for success in a global society while instilling values of empathy, compassion, and community.
Jessica, mother of 3 students
My daughter has attended since the FAA opened in 2013, and she absolutely loves her school. 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, father of a 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.”
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. Students prepare for reading & writing by learning sounds, syllables & phonics in both language
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.
Social and Emotional Development / Becoming a Student
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.
English and French Language Arts
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.
Cognition and Knowledge of the World (Science, Mathematics and Social Studies)
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
Gross and Fine Motor development
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.
The Science curriculum focuses on the three branches of science: physical, life, and earth sciences. We provide students with bilingual co-teaching classes, where there is both a French science teacher & an english science teacher instructing the class in a bilingual fashion.
Our French and English teachers work together to strengthen students’ analytical thinking skills. We want students to be able to come up with different solutions and introduce research and analytical thinking. We expect students to become better writers who analyze reports.
Project-Based Method used in teaching Science The science curriculum aims to foster excitement and enthusiasm for learning science concepts through inquiry-based and student-active experiences.
For example: FAA’s seventh graders drew upon their knowledge of science, coding, and math to create hypothetical models showing how human behavior can affect a disease’s path through the general population. Drawing on real-world data, the students applied what epidemiologists have learned about the effects of masking, vaccination, and isolation. They created computer programs that would forecast a disease’s severity based on those different controls. Beyond requiring students to synthesize science, coding, and mathematical knowledge, this project showed students how proper data science can be used to combat misinformation and lead to better practices in public health.
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
We understand that real-world experience is essential for a child’s growth, which is why we organize exciting field trips that complement what student are learning in class.
From visiting the local firehouse and learning about fire safety to exploring the wonders of science at the Liberty Science Center, or appreciating art at the Montclair Art Museum, our preschool students experience different environments outside the classroom, enhancing their education.
In elementary & middle school, day trips become overnight trips! Learn more by checking out our field trip page!
Continuing student learning after-school
Our after-school enrichment program offers students a variety of activities to discover new passions while having fun!
Examples of current enrichment activities include:
- Lego Robotics
- Yoga & Mindfulness
- Sports (Gymnastics / soccer / basketball, etc)
- Acting in French
- Modern Dance
- and much more!
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
Discover What's New in Preschool
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Preschool & Kindergartner FAQs
Will my child's English skills get worse if they learn French?
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.
My child speaks already 2 languages, will learning a 3rd language overwhelm my child?
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
How can we support our child if we do not speak French at home ?
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.
Where are the teachers from?
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.
Do preschoolers have opportunities to leave the classroom on a regular basis?
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.
How often do preschoolers go outside?
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.
Do the preschoolers visit the school’s library?
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
Is the French American Academy a montessori Preschool ?
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