Our students learn in two languages and acquire the different thought processes unique to each language. As a result, they develop different ways to think, to process concepts, and to approach problems.
Our immersion model builds a very strong foundation in both languages. From preschool to fifth grade our students spend on average 70% of their time learning in French. This allows them to become very proficient and profound thinkers in both languages and to develop a large range of vocabulary.
A dynamic & innovative curriculum
Our French and American curricula are fully integrated. They complement each other and are tailored to meet the academic and emotional needs of the children.
Preschool lays the foundations of early learning and language development.
Elementary School builds on these foundations, allowing students to become independent lifelong learners.
Preschool and Kindergarten (Cycle 1):
Foundation of Language and Early Learning
Foundation of Language
At FISW, the bilingual journey begins in Preschool. Each week, Preschool students spend 75% of their time in French and 25% of their time in English. There is a consistent developmental sequence for children acquiring a second language, and our teachers take advantage of this sequence to facilitate learning.
First, our teachers establish routines and activities that build upon each other so that children can become familiar with the second language. Students are trying to make sense of the second language: they observe and listen closely to their teachers and peers. Students gradually begin to repeat the sounds that they hear. They start naming objects in the classroom, using vocabulary from their daily activities. Finally, they begin to develop an understanding of the grammatical system of the second language. They build on this understanding and begin speaking more and more.
Foundation of Learning
Experiential learning, discovery, artistic expression, and imagination are key elements that empower students to become independent, observant, and creative. Through guided and independent activities, the children develop fine and gross motor skills. Through artistic projects, children improve their concentration and develop their abilities to express themselves. They learn how to be engaged students and active members of our school community by listening, expressing their feelings, sharing, and cooperating.
These foundations ensure the future success of our students in these six areas:
Becoming a student and learning to work together.
Observing and understanding the world.
Developing precise oral and written language skills.
Establishing skills to structure thoughts.
Acting, speaking and understanding through physical activities.
Perceiving, feeling, imagining, and creating.
Becoming a student and learning to work together
Respecting self and others and understanding the rules of everyday life:
Developing self-confidence and control of emotions.
Developing routines and autonomy in daily classroom tasks.
Participating actively in their own learning.
Understanding and respecting the rules of the class:
Listening, helping, cooperating, asking for help, and asking questions.
Using language to communicate with others.
Participating in a conversation (e.g. listening to others and staying on topic).
Our Elementary School develops independent students who are lifelong learners.
Our elementary school is founded on a student-centered approach to learning and provides a rich and rigorous bilingual curriculum that meets the highest standards of French and American schools. Upon graduation our students communicate clearly and effectively in both languages and matriculate to French, American, or international public or private middle schools.
Our educational focus is on “learning how to learn,” helping students discover how they learn best so that they become independent, lifelong learners and inquirers.
Students observe, manipulate, draw conclusions, and understand the underlying principles behind concepts and skills. They also understand the importance of clear presentation as a prerequisite for clear thought processes and future academic success.
Grades 1, 2 and 3 (Cycle 2):
Acquisition of Fundamental Skills
Cycle 2 is designed to build on the bilingual foundation that was laid during the early years program. Students “learn to read” in the largest sense of the term.
Students begin to read and write in both languages. They develop strong phonics, reading, and comprehension skills, while developing the habit of reading for pleasure. Reading skills transfer from one language to the other.
Reading and writing are two inseparable activities in the curriculum. Students produce neat, well-written, short texts. They develop vocabulary and sentence structure and start to apply simple grammatical rules. There is a strong emphasis on language skills and oral expression through poetry, creative writing, formal composition, speech, and spelling.
Mathematics is taught in French and in English. FISW follows both the French National and the Common Core curricula. Our mathematics program lays an excellent foundation, as concepts are revisited year after year at a deeper level. Using a hands-on approach, teacher-led lessons, student-centered explorative activities, and individual practice, students learn numeration, geometry, and how to solve word problems. Teachers put a strong emphasis on logic and the ability to articulate a proof.
Students’ knowledge of the world around them expands through science. Through hands-on activities they develop a scientific method as they observe, predict, and measure their familiar environment.
History, geography, and social studies
Students develop their knowledge of space, time, and the environment. They learn to manipulate, build, observe, and classify. With time, they learn about remote places in geography.
Our teachers use technology when it adds educational value to a lesson. Our students become computer literate, good cyber citizens, and learn how to use the library to conduct research.
Art and Music
Art and music develop students’ sensitivity and creative capacities.
Physical activities aim to reinforce the importance of physical fitness.
Important concepts are taught in-depth, giving students a good sense of the methods, vocabulary, and procedures of each discipline. Students’ learning is contextualized to show them why what they learn is relevant to them and to the society in which they live.
Students take an active role in their own learning. Their teachers insist on the processes of acquisition of knowledge, skills, and attitudes. They are developing in their students a growth mindset, instead of a fixed mindset, so they know first-hand that intelligence is not fixed, but rather is developed through learning, work, and attitudes.
Students become aware of an individual's responsibility in society. They reflect on human values. They strengthen their communication and interpersonal skills as they learn to collaborate effectively with others by listening to, understanding, and respecting different perspectives, and clearly communicating their thoughts.
Grades 4 and 5 (Cycle 3): In-Depth Learning
Students are fully bilingual and master both languages. They read, study, and write about diverse genres of literature. They study narration, argumentation, and explanation, and they develop their use of descriptive language. Students expand their critical and analytical thinking skills and develop their creative expression. They learn to be both creative and structured in their thoughts and work.
In 4th grade an emphasis is placed on precise calculation, computation techniques, and problem-solving skills. In 5th grade, the mathematics curriculum involves more sophisticated operations with fractions and decimals. Both precision and comprehension continue to be emphasized in all mathematical contexts.
The science program in the 4th and 5th grades introduces students to the scientific process, allowing them to identify a problem, formulate hypotheses, and compare hypotheses to experimental findings. It is based on questioning, research, and solutions. Scientific experimentation and formulation of questions prepare them to propose rational solutions.
History and Geography
Through their study of world history and geography, students learn to understand today’s world. They reflect on current events and see how they are influenced by the past and by their environment.
The art curriculum encourages students to express themselves, affirm their artistic choices, explore their creativity, and learn about different artistic approaches.
The students develop an appreciation and love of French and American music by singing in a choir. They also write, produce, and perform in original plays.