The FIAF Preschool Educational Philosophy
The FIAF Preschool immerses children ages 3 and 4 in a uniquely nurturing and creative French environment. The program ensures that all academic requirements are fulfilled for acceptance to Kindergarten in any French, bilingual, international, or American school.
The FIAF Preschool offers a comprehensive program combining French and American teaching methodologies to provide a multicultural environment. While French education programs are built on focused learning objectives achieved through structured work, the American approach stimulates creativity through positive reinforcement and emphasizes the happiness of the child. The mix of these two approaches cultivates intellectual curiosity, encourages free expression, and allows children to blossom and reach their full potential.
To achieve the goals set in our curriculum, our teachers are attentive to the motor-skills of 3 and 4 year olds, as well as to their social, emotional, and cognitive levels of development. Our activities incorporate the most up-to-date educational techniques, which are successful at other renowned institutions:
- Jean Piaget’s constructivist theory explores the link between ideas and experiences
- Celestin Freinet’s theory of free expression emphasizes interactive, cooperative, and inquiry-based learning
- Maria Montessori’s self-directed learning integrates the multi-sensory approach to nurture the children’s creativity and greatly improves audio, visual, and kinesthetic memory
- The multimodal approach recently developed in light of recent research in children’s cognitive development based on the works of Doctor James J. Asher (Total Physical Response, reedited in 2000) and those of Howard Gardner (Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, 1993)
Our programs encourage children to become independent thinkers who excel in an environment where open-mindedness fosters understanding and curiosity about others. This experience is a key step for them toward becoming a global citizen.
Social skills are crucial for 3 and 4 year olds. Our highly diverse student body reflects today’s global society and prepares the children to excel in a multicultural and multilingual community.
Why Should your Toddler Learn French
- Prime age for language acquisition
- Increase math and problem solving skills
- Expand their cultural outlook
Research shows that the earlier a child starts learning another language, the better. A toddler's mental agility enables him or her to easily mimic, learn, and retain new knowledge. Most experts agree that the earlier a child is introduced to a second language, the greater the likelihood of achieving total proficiency in that language. Diving into another language and culture is achieved effortlessly, and with little or no accent (C. Hagège, 1996), when done at a young age.
Recent conclusions in the field of cognitive science and language-learning show that a young child does not build up his or her bilingualism by adding another language to the mother tongue, but by actively building two languages at once. According to the French linguist Gilbert Dalgalian (2000), the structures of a young brain are so flexible that one or more foreign languages can be learned very easily. Before the age of 7, the liaisons between neurons are progressively settling down and gaining stability, but the developing brain still has great plasticity. In this age range, the capacity to acquire a language is an integral part of the cognitive development of the child.
At this age, if exposure to each language is balanced, the child does not learn other languages through his mother tongue (which may be an obstacle), but as naturally as his mother tongue. The reasons are neural-cognitive: before 7, a child builds up pure language, be it English, French, Spanish, etc. all together and not languages. For example, for the young bilingual child, a foot remains a foot and performs the function of a foot, whether it is labeled a foot in English or un pied in French.
Early language instruction has also been shown to improve overall school performance. Research on Canadian bilingual education proves that children exposed early to both French and English developed greater mental suppleness and conceptual mobility as well as a heightened capability for problem solving (Jean Petit, L'immersion, une révolution, 2001). Bilingual children also showed dramatic intellectual superiority in mathematics. According to Jean Petit, a Canadian psycholinguist specializing in bilingualism, this increased capacity comes from the intellectual stimulation of a bilingual education. Phonics, grammar, and mathematics are all governed by the same part of the brain, Broca’s area. As a result, when Broca’s area is stimulated by language education, many more neural connections are created, increasing mathematical abilities.
Broadened Cultural Horizons
Learning another language is a life-long commitment. An early start facilitates a deeper understanding of one's own culture, as well as an appreciation of other cultures. At the cross-cultural level, being educated in French broadens a child’s outlook and introduces new modes of expression. Knowing more than one language enables communication with a wide spectrum of people from diverse backgrounds.
Mastering French is an asset to your child’s education because French is:
- An international language spoken by more than 100 million people on five continents
- A window to the cultural richness of France and other French-speaking countries
- One of the top three most widely-used languages in business (ABC News, August 2011)
- A stepping-stone to learning other widely-spoken international Romance languages such as Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese