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Notes for Prospective Students

  • La Maternelle is the preschool/kindergarten program of L’Ecole Française du Maine. Instruction occurs completely in French, and the curriculum follows the model of the world-renowned Ecoles Maternelles of France. Because we believe the blossoming of each child happens by developing his/her strengths and creativity, La Maternelle combines song, play, art, and movement with structured learning in the classroom.
  • A full-time elementary program through grade 6, our curriculum offers a multicultural education taught through the immersion approach.
At this level of our program, students learn to read and write in French and are encouraged to speak French exclusively in the classroom.
The immersion experience leads children to a more flexible way of thinking, and gives them an appreciation for nuances of meaning.
As a result, our students experience success in all subject areas.
  • English Language Arts studies begin in second grade, three hours per week.
  • Because the same concepts are taught at an earlier age in the French curriculum than they are in English-speaking schools, English class then becomes a means of confirming concepts and usage, drawing parallels and identifying contrasts.
    As a result, concepts in language formation are reinforced from both the French and English curriculum and studies, providing children with a steady foundation for language creation. 
  • Multimedia: We believe it is vital to expose our children to technological resources where they are age-appropriate.
  • Because we are a French school amidst a predominantly English resource area, online educational resources become invaluable tools for our older elementary students.
    We endeavor to provide a laptop for each student’s use in the upper elementary years.
  • Music Arts and Suzuki Program: At its inception, the school’s vision centered upon the relationship between music education and the immersion process of learning a second language.
  • They are partners in a full education.
    All grade levels at L’Ecole Française du Maine are immersed in our Music Arts Program, which includes Music Mind Games, the Choral Program and an opportunity for private Suzuki lessons.
    Starting in Pre-K, weekly music instruction teaches beginning to advanced music theory concepts, including the musical alphabet, intervals, reading rhythms, rhythm math, dictation, the grand staff, musical symbols, tempos, scales, key signatures and chords.
    Innate in the Music Mind Games method is a duel respect for student’s intelligence and the logical organization of music theory.
    Suzuki Program: The immersion method is Listen and Learn.
    The Suzuki method is the same.
    We’re proud to work in collaboration with the Maine Suzuki Association to offer our students private, on-site Suzuki lessons in piano, guitar, violin and cello.
    Parent involvement is encouraged for private lessons.
  • Choral Program: Our school “Chorale,” comprised of all students, practices weekly with our Chorus leaders and accompanist.
  • The “Chorale” often performs during our school community events, which are a key component of the music program.
    These community performances may also include musical pieces from Suzuki students, and general songs, dances and skits.
  • Physical Education: Throughout the school year, all students participate in many activities such as soccer, cross-country and Alpine skiing, snowshoeing, orienteering, YMCA swim program, and of course, recess.
  • Best of all, the surrounding woods and nearby nature preserves and seashore provide opportunities for impromptu explorations.
  • Visual Arts: Our school views the arts as a fundamental part of cultural and language education.
  • In the elementary years, our goals are for the children to be capable of expression through a variety of techniques in drawing, as well as in other two- and three-dimensional media.
    They learn the experience of creating, reflecting upon others’ images, exploring the differences and similarities between works, and discussing their personal point of view.
    We teach skills such as choosing and mixing materials, mediums and subjects, utilizing the tools available, and synthesizing instructions with personal methods.
    To put techniques into a historical context, we investigate great works through trips to museums, visiting artists and events in the arts world.
    We teach the children to look for commonalities and differences between the practical experiences of the classroom and the varied approaches of artists.
  • Should a child have a prior knowledge of French before entering L'Ecole Française du Maine? Our French immersion program is designed for monolingual and bilingual children.
  • It is not necessary to have had prior exposure to French to enter Preschool –Grade 1.
    At the elementary level, (after grade 1), a child will generally need to have prior knowledge of French to enter the program.
    Exceptions to this rule may be made on a case-to-case basis based on a student evaluation and interview. Although you will find that some children at L’Ecole Française du Maine are already bilingual, most children do not know French when they enter La Maternelle.
    Communication between parents and staff at L’Ecole Française du Maine is conducted in English for non French-speaking parents, although we will try to practice French with parents enrolled in Adult Ed!! Children can always address teachers and staff in English (by their first names) and parents should reassure their children that they will be understood and their needs will be met, no matter what language they use.
  • What happens to the English language skills of children enrolled in the French Immersion program of L'Ecole Française du Maine? Most studies done for the past 30 years suggest that children enrolled in early French immersion programs perform as well if not better than their monolingual peers.
  • Exposure to a large variety of linguistic structures and a wide and diverse vocabulary enriches their own knowledge of English.
    At any rate, children are not going to lose their English! Research in Canada has shown that reading and writing skills are transferred from one language to the next during the primary grades.
    In other words, the progresses made in reading skills in French will be observed in English too.
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