École Bilingue de Berkeley Starts a New Accelerated Program, Tailored to 6- and 7-Year-Olds

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[Sponsored article] If you want your children to learn both English and French at school, it’s important that you start thinking about it and planning for their education as early as possible.

École Bilingue de Berkeley, a school outside of San Francisco, offers several programs specifically designed to adapt to different levels and ages of children as they matriculate.

Learning French in Preschool and Kindergarten

Most schools usually start their bilingual programs at a very young age so that children can really benefit from learning a new language early in their childhood, when they are also learning their maternal tongue. École Bilingue in Berkeley welcomes children as young as 2 years old into their bilingual program. This is an amazing opportunity to allow children to become quickly fluent in both French and English, learning both as they grow. By the time the students are in the first grade, they have a strong fluency and are starting to read, write, learn about all subjects… in both languages.

However, life sometimes makes it impossible for parents to plan ahead and enroll their children in a French preschool program. Does this mean that it’s too late? Not anymore. In order to welcome older children into their bilingual program, École Bilingue de Berkeley has now put into place the Accelerated French Program (AFP).

The Accelerated French Program

Formerly, it was nearly impossible for new students older than six with no previous experience in French to enter the bilingual program. It was too difficult for them to catch up and thrive. However, École Bilingue de Berkeley wanted to find a way to welcome these students into their community to learn both in English and in French.

This is why, in 2022, the school created the Accelerated French Program (AFP). Children can now join as first and second graders with custom designed curricula that will allow them to return to the traditional bilingual classes with their peers after just two years of immersion instruction.

Using Immersion to Learn French

The concept of the Accelerated French Program (AFP) is immersion.  The students are immersed in bilingual classrooms but also have intensive French classes for 2 hours a day (to catch up) in a very small group with a specialized teacher.

French time might be a bit hard at first, and that is why the AFP specialized teacher is very present in the bilingual classroom, shadowing the AFP student, making sure that they understand and connect to their peers, teacher and subjects so that they can keep growing and learning.

There is a lot of great collaboration between the French teachers and the AFP teachers to prepare the children ahead of time, support them in the bilingual classroom and to make sure the students have grasped the concepts presented during the French learning. This dialogue between teachers and students is very important to the students’ success.

A Promising First Experience

This fall, École Bilingue de Berkeley enrolled their first small group of first and second grade students and all reports are that the students are having a great time and adjusting flawlessly to the program. The teachers and school professionals are impressed with the progress the students already have made! Every day, they learn to speak, write, and think in two languages, becoming open-minded, adaptable learners who discover their best selves while respecting the differences of others.

More Information About the École Bilingue de Berkeley

If you want to learn more about École Bilingue de Berkeley’s bilingual programs and Accelerated French Program schedule a tour on campus or attend one of the virtual information sessions.

You can also email the admissions office: [email protected].

Sponsored articles do not belong to the editorial team at Frenchly. They are provided or written at the request of the advertiser, who determines the content. 

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