Frequently Asked Questions

  • An immersion program reconstructs the initial language learning process that develops between a parent and a young child. The language is spoken, not taught. Children learn French in the classroom, the same way they have learned their native tongue at home, by immersion. For more on FASRI's immersion program, please visit the Immersion page.

  • As of now, there are more non-French-speaking children than French-speaking children in our immersion program; about two-thirds enter the school with no French at all.

  • It is highly advised to accustom children ahead of time to French language through songs on CD, or DVDs of popular movies. They are easy to find online (www.amazon.fr; www.renaud-bray.com; www.fnac.com; www.ecoledesloisirs.fr).

  • Children who start at three years old have more time to benefit from the immersion, more time to adjust to school life and more time to experience the rich French Maternelle curriculum. Non-French speaking children may enter the immersion program as late as kindergarten and still pick up the language quickly. Children are ready to start our dual language program by the age of six.

  • The French Maternelle is known worldwide for its specificity. Already in pre-school the children begin the curriculum that will guide them through Elementary and secondary school and beyond. The curriculum is oriented to prepare the children for language, art, and mathematics, as well as for socialization and motor skills. The French Maternelle consists of three years: pre-school (Petite Section, 3 years old), pre-kindergarten (Moyenne Section, four years old) and kindergarten (Grande Section, 5 years old). Please visit FASRI's Maternelle Program for more information.

  • Young children rapidly develop a relationship with teachers, peers, the classroom space, the toys, the workshops. The classroom becomes a familiar space that they enjoy very much. There are many words in English that a young child does not understand and it is not unusual for him or her to guess the meaning of words. Children are extremely sensitive and rely as much on tone of voice, facial expression and context as on actual meaning. The frustration that some children may experience at an early stage is usually rapidly alleviated by parents and teachers. After the initial challenge, students become very proud of speaking another language and teachers reinforce and encourage their progress daily.

  • Not necessarily. Most students speak English or a third language at home, and few of the students are exposed to French outside the school. Support, interest and family involvement are essential in the child's progress, regardless of what language is spoken at home.

    During the after school program, French speaking staff or teachers supervise homework and activities. Parents with no French (or no English) skills are definitely challenged by at least one part of the curriculum and often decide to take a French (or English) class themselves to keep up with their children. Fortunately, the dual language aspect of the curriculum allows all parents to follow their child's performance. Both English and French teachers work as a team and communicate regularly about students' progress.

  • Not in the long run. Learning a second language is a long term prospect that can take up to 6 to 9 years. Children are expected to master both languages by grades 4 or 5. It is not uncommon to see immersion students reading English fluently even though there has been little formal classroom English instruction up to that point. In an immersion program, children will learn a skill in one language, such as reading, and naturally transfer the skill to the other language.

    Reading is taught in grade 1 in French and children attain reading proficiency in English in grade 2. By the end of grade 3, children are expected to have reached the level of literacy expected in traditional American schools.

    The FASRI curriculum follows the guidelines of the French Ministry of Education and of the Rhode Island Board of Education. It brings together the best of the two cultures: the rigor and structure of the French, and the flexibility and openness of the American. The FASRI curriculum is partly taught in French, partly in English.

    FASRI is fully accredited by the French Ministry of Education, which means that the French authorities are satisfied that the school follows the curriculum to the required standards. The French national curriculum is designed and administered at the Ministry level by experts in education, university professors, psychologists, commissioners and teachers. Its high quality is recognized worldwide. We have carefully selected the best text and support materials in both languages to implement and reinforce best practices and strategies for our bilingual program.

    In Pre-school through Kindergarten, students are in our immersion program. The dual language program runs from grade 1 through grade 8.