Cycle 1: Preschool and Kindergarten
(Petite Section, Moyenne Section, Grande Section)
Primary Developmental Areas
Our preschool and kindergarten programs correspond with French maternelle programs. In the French system, the kindergarten year (grande section) is grouped as part of the maternelle cycle, solidifying key skills and competencies from these early childhood education years before 1st grade.
The three formative years of maternelle are essential to instill curiosity and love of learning in children. Through a variety of play-based and challenging activities, students blossom and develop lifelong skills. They become more autonomous and learn to be independent thinkers. Teachers place a strong focus on play, songs, and artistic activities throughout these years, fostering development of gross and fine motor skills along with language.
In addition, teachers greatly emphasize social skills. These are the crucial years in which children start learning to negotiate the classroom community together and discover what school is all about.
English in Kindergarten
At NSFS, preschool is full French immersion. In kindergarten, for an hour each day, we introduce English to the school day as well. Our students work on English pre-literacy activities, including different centers and story time, and also social-emotional learning (SEL).
At this age, instead of a class meeting (a key feature of SEL in the older grades), we begin with show and share, emphasizing learning to listen to peers, to ask questions, express our own feelings, and participate in the group circle. We conduct SEL in English to better fit the language capabilities of the majority of our students at this age, but the French-speaking primary classroom teacher participates as well.
No prior French language experience is needed for preschool or kindergarten.