Research demonstrates that early exposure to a foreign language is important to cognitive development in children.
Introduction to French Language and Culture
ACS offers classes in French and Spanish, beginning with French in second grade and Spanish in middle school. ACS is not a language immersion school, so the objective of our elementary French program isn’t to shape fluent French speakers. Rather, our French program is intended to:
- Expand the children’s geographic horizons by introducing them to a new nation and culture.
- Offer them a different vocabulary set and complex, unfamiliar pronunciations. This activates the neurodevelopmental processes in the elementary years’ “window of opportunity” that will help prepare children for advanced language studies in the years ahead.
- Foster an appreciation for the world beyond their immediate experience, and
spark an interest in pursuing a foreign language in middle school, high school, college and beyond.
French is taught by two specialist teachers. Elementary students begin their foreign language studies in second grade, twice per week. Starting in Fourth Grade, the children attend French three times each week. Our French teachers use project- and activity-based lessons that incorporate vocabulary, culture, geography, music, cuisine, art, and history.
Why French in the Elementary Grades?
We begin with French for several reasons:
- English borrows heavily from French for vocabulary and syntax, so studying French has been shown to strengthen English skills. There are four times as many French cognates in English as any other language.
- French is the second most frequently taught language (after English) in the world and is spoken in 29 countries across the globe.
- Hundreds of worldwide organizations hold French and English among their main working languages, including NATO, the United Nations, the European Community and UNESCO.
Middle School: French and Spanish
The majority of our students opt to continue foreign language studies in our middle school elective program, where they can choose to take French or Spanish for all three years.
Our middle school curriculum, taught by language specialist teachers, includes some of the content found in high school “conversational” and introductory French and Spanish classes.
While our goal is to build a foundation for increased success in high school language studies, several ACS graduates qualify annually for advancement into second-year foreign language courses in high school.