In order to increase students’ ﬂuency and allow for more time to practice and internalize new vocabulary, we are offering an extended French program. Following this model, students in grades 1-8 will have 5 French classes per week starting in September 2016. In addition to their core classes, the grades 1-6 students will have a combination of art, drama and P.E. with our French teacher as their instructor. They will spent 25% of their week learning or practicing French.
The focus of the French program in the primary grades is mainly oral production and understanding. Students learn high-frequency vocabulary and common phrases relating to their everyday lives. In the junior and intermediate grades, students work around themes related to themselves and the larger cultural contexts in which french is used. They will participate in oral and written activities, reading and comprehension, songs, games, projects and presentations.
Students will be following AIM’s Histoires en Action! curriculum during their drama time. This program seeks to develop strong communication skills through kinaesthetic activities using an integrated, drama-based approach. Each unit introduces a play with songs and dances, and centres heavily on oral communication, with appropriate exposure to reading and writing. Students will be working through the following plays:
1-3: Où est mon chien?
4-6: Boucles Violettes et les trois ours
7-8: Salut, mon ami!
Please note: Some students are unable to participate in French classes due to Individual Education Plans (IEPs) or because more time is required for them to learn in other subjects. Other students are interested in enrichment in other areas. At HCCS we make accommodations like this for individual students (or groups of students) regularly so that each child is learning in a program that is best suited to his or her needs. Adjusting the program to the needs of students is simply part of what we do.
Mastering the reading and writing of English is still our first priority. From grades 1-3 we focus solely on the reading and writing of English. French classes will involve the spoken language, but we don't want to confuse emergent readers with diverse spelling patterns, sounds, and grammatical rules. That's why students won't be writing or reading French until grade 4. They will become familiar with the French language, but it won't be at the expense of the English language.
We have purposely designed this program so that it is not an immersion program across other academic disciplines. Subjects like math, history, and science have a "language" and terminology that is unique to each discipline and we approach them with an academic rigour that is not found in most elementary schools.
The school day at HCCS is longer than at other elementary schools. We have an additional 100 hours of school per year compared to the publicly funded school systems. These extra hours give us time for the additional programs we offer including Bible, robotics, and French.