At Rowntree Montessori Schools, we realize that exposing students to a second language in their early years, when the brain is like a “super-sponge”, is guaranteed to produce successful results, and in light of that important fact, helping students to build a foundation in French as early as Kindergarten Montessori (Junior Kindergarten) becomes one of our primary goals. By the time our students reach Grade 4, they are well equipped with a sound knowledge of the basic elements of French, making it easier for our students to achieve and exceed the expectations of the Ontario Curriculum.
In Kindergarten Montessori (Junior Kindergarten) and Prep-ONE (Senior Kindergarten), students are encouraged to build basic vocabulary and they are provided with many opportunities to practice their vocabulary both in and outside of the classroom. For example, after having learned the names of fruits and vegetables, the students of Kindergarten Montessori and Prep-ONE were asked to use their knowledge of French, to name the fruits and vegetables in their lunch bags. The objective of this activity was two-fold, as it also paved the way to a discussion in “Healthy Eating”.
In Grade 1, students have fun pretending to be the “Teacher of the Day.” Students are given the chance to prepare a dialogue in French using pre-written questions and answers which are practiced at school and at home, possibly even with an older sibling who may have an advanced knowledge of French.
Evidently, children become more sensitive and fond of the language, when they learn it at a young age. They begin to absorb the words at a rapid pace even when they see or hear it on TV shows, in songs, in commercials, on the road, or in a mall. It is always refreshing to see students attempting to use their oral and listening skills in their daily conversations with family and friends, and to have them share those experiences with us in the classroom! Needless to say, that is simply rewarding to any teacher!
By the end of Grade 2, students present their family tree in French. They also learn simple commands and questions in French. Once the students are fluent in speaking the words which they have learned, French becomes the more favoured language to use in the French classroom, until of course they have exhausted the vocabulary they learned!
In Grade 3, students take pride in presenting their French Autobiography to the class. They also have the opportunity to construct a project of their homes using pictures of their own homes and French labels. This project has become a popular favourite amongst the students as it also serves as a treasured memory of their cozy dwelling.
Our mission to develop well rounded, confident and eloquent FSL students is certainly accomplished through these fun and stimulating activities in the classroom!