The earlier the better when it comes to learning a second language. And that's exactly why the launch of the Lycée's bilingual Nursery Threes Program in September 2019 is really big news for "mamans" and "papas" who are hoping to raise young French-speakers—and anyone hoping to raise bilinguals in today's interconnected world.
Established way back in 1935, the Lycée Français de New York has been considered one of the most renowned bilingual schools in the city for years, providing students with an authentic, immersive French educational experience that features aspects of a classical European education, while incorporating the creativity, ingenuity, and optimism associated with American programs. The school offers an engaging project-based curriculum and rigorous academics across high school, middle school, elementary school, and now preschool. In fact, with the addition of the new Threes Program, the Lycée actually offers the complete "cycle one" of the French primary school system, also known as "the early learning cycle" or "maternelle.
The goal of "maternelle," which includes Nursery, Pre-K, and Kindergarten, is to provide preschoolers with a foundation that sets them up for success in their new role as students. At the Lycée, free play and structured activities encourage little ones to develop their fine and gross motor, sensory, and academic skills. Meanwhile, expression, language, and communication in both French and English are emphasized to help students develop self-awareness and social skills. And according to Veronica McGivney Park, Assistant Director in Charge of Early Childhood, "Children who start early in our program reap more benefits of being bilingual."
In order to help kids get a grasp on both languages, each preschool classroom is staffed by two childhood-development experts: one native-English speaker and one native-French speaker. Students alternate one day in English and the next day in French, and non-French speakers are seamlessly integrated into classes with French-speaking students of all levels to create a truly authentic environment that fosters bilingualism for all. Both French and English are incorporated into activities like art, music, and physical education, while an engaging hands-on curriculum simultaneously supports social and emotional development, and abstract thinking.
The Lycée's Preschool Program welcomes anyone interested in supporting their child's language development at an early age, and is in no way limited to native French-speakers (plus, financial aid is available for eligible students). In fact, with a community of over 68 nationalities, families of all backgrounds can enjoy a truly international experience that prepares students to feel at home in this oh-so-diverse city and world.
If you'd like to learn more about the Threes Program, or any other program offered at the Lycée Français de New York, consider attending an upcoming open house, or visit the school's website for more details regarding admissions and academics.