|The Childrens' House Montessori School has offered French lessons since its' founding in 1988. Each of the 3-6 year old classes is visited one morning a week by the French teacher. Over the course of the morning the children are explosed to elementary and relevant vocabulary lessons, songs and simple games in French. These include basic greetings, the alphabet, and the names for colors, numbers, food, animals, body parts, family members, clothing, etc. Simple art projects, musical movement and puppetry are fun and reinforce the vocabulary which has been presented. The children participate in small group lessons and a whole group circle. Our toddler class is exposed to age appropriate material during a brief circle time each week with the French teacher, when she uses song, movement, puppets and other props to reinforce basic vacabulary. The Extended Day (kindergarten) class is fortunate to receive an additional hour of French instruction each week, in which they can practice speaking simple phrases, do additional art or cooking projects and expand their cultural studies.
Out goal is not that the children attain fluency in a second language, but rather that they are learning to absorb the sounds and some meanings of another language during this critical phase of brain development for language acquisition. Recent research supports the idea that being exposed to another language at this time will enhance their ability to learn another language throughout their lives. French remains very much an international language, and is spoken not only in Europe and North America, but also in Africa, Asia, Oceania, the Caribbean, the Pacific and even one country in South America! Additionally, we feel that the global awareness and window on other cultures that the study of another language affords the children is invaluable.