In the Elementary School, we offer French to all our students, of all levels, through two programs: the French Language Program and the Dual Language Program.
French Language Program
St. John’s offers a multi-leveled program for learning French, from Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 5, taught by a team of qualified, native speaking teachers. The program differentiates class instruction according to the student's language knowledge, which ranges from absolute beginner to native speaker. French lessons are designed to enable our students to develop their oral skills through a range of media which integrate with the Units of Inquiry of our International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP). In the Lower Elementary (Grades 1-2), reading is also introduced to students who demonstrate language-knowledge readiness. In the Upper Elementary (Grades 3-5), students are instructed in all aspects of Language Arts.
Dual Language Program
St. John’s Dual Language Program (DLP) aims for the participating learners to achieve fluency in both languages of instruction: English and French. The DLP model in the Elementary School follows a typical dual immersion approach, whereby both English and French language learning takes place in the mainstream classroom through the intervention of two teachers, one representing the English voice and the other represents the French voice to the students. The weekly schedule is planned to provide an equal amount of instruction in both languages across all curriculum areas.
The PYP Units of Inquiry form an excellent base for the acquisition of both languages of instruction. The four strands of language (listening, speaking, reading and writing) are taught as an integrated whole and not in isolation. The DLP will be extended to Grade 4 for school year 2016-17 and Grade 5 the following school year.
Research agrees that it takes a child up to three years to develop basic interpersonal communication skills, but from five to seven years to acquire cognitive academic language proficiency.
Extending the DLP into Grade 5 will provide seven years of learning for students starting in Pre- Kindergarten and five years for those who join the school in Grade 1 to attain proficiency.
The French Language Program is available for all our students, regardless of the length of stay at St. John’s.
The DLP is suitable for students who: are fluent in one of the languages; fit the additional criteria for the program; intend to be at St. John’s for at least five years.
In order to support your child's progress in French, we strongly advise that they participate in an extra-curricular activity in French.
How you can help your child learn French:
- Be very positive or ask your child about what he/she is learning. Check his/her work regularly.
- Make sure he/she does his/her homework and learn their lessons.
- Check the French books available in the school library.
- Use the Internet sites list provided (binder and Study wiz).
- Try to expose him/her, as often as possible, to the language outside school (activities, reading books, TV, Internet).
- Encourage him/her to practice (with French speaking friends, in restaurants, shops).
- Enroll him/her in an after-school French activity or holiday workshop. (Consult your commune. Consult www.inforjeuneswaterloo.info or www.inforjeunes.be or www.espacebernier.be). A French activity outside the school like scouts or sports is a good opportunity for your child to practice what he/she studied in class.
- Hire a French-speaking babysitter.
- Have a look in newspapers and at the tourist offices for plays, book readings and conferences for children at museums.
- Get the "Guide des Attractions Touristiques et Musées de Belgique" and visit Belgium.
- Some important points about learning a foreign language:
- It takes time and effort to learn a language. Be patient!
- Regular practice is essential in order to boost the long term memory.
- It is more efficient to revise a small amount regularly than a lot once a week.