French Immersion Preparation at GMS
It is clear why many parents want to ensure their children receive a bilingual education. French is an official language for over 140 million people in 28 different countries, on five continents. As our children move through their academic careers, their experiences will be far different from our own.
The global village has become a reality in the 21st century and education today must be relevant – both technologically and culturally. Kids today are not just bilingual but often multilingual. They are preparing themselves as international thinkers, to develop an appreciation of cultures and opinions other than their own.
Our overall curriculum instills a love of learning that prepares students to achieve high academic standards. The majority of our graduates leave GMS fully bilingual and well prepared to meet French equivalency testing standards that enable them to enter French immersion and French junior high schools.
The Montessori Method for the study of all languages is phonics based, with strong emphasis on grammar, mechanics, composition, communication, and comprehension. The strength of Dr. Montessori’s English language curriculum accelerates the learning of a second language, and vice versa, providing our students with a solid foundation and proficiency in both French and English, as reflected in our senior students’ Canadian Achievement Test language scores each year, and French equivalency test results in past years. Every GMS Grade 6 graduate who has sought entry into a French immersion program has succeeded.
French is totally integrated into the curriculum at GMS — not merely a subject the students take once or twice a week. From the day a three-year-old starts in Casa, they begin with oral French classes, in parallel with establishing the groundwork for reading and writing in English. This is an ideal time for language lessons, to take full advantage of the sensitive period of development of language to the age of six. Casa French classes at GMS engage the children with special techniques that utilize both movement and music. This program is based on AIM, the Accelerated Integrated Model, an exciting approach to learning a second language.
As the Casa students move into the elementary program, Grades 1-6, they receive instruction in small class groups and have an opportunity to work one-on-one with the French staff on a variety of projects. Senior elementary students especially benefit from their French Cultural Studies classes, which cover history of medieval times, Canadian and world history. This interactive class has the students thinking and conversing in French, enabling them to develop and enrich their skills even further, while promoting an appreciation of cultures around the world.
GMS has a minimum of one French-speaking staff member involved with each of our classes, in order to ensure our children are fully immersed in the language and its culture. If you wish to learn more about our comprehensive French program, please contact GMS’s Director, Sylvie Rankin.