The American Section Lower School is comprised of classes from Pre-Kindergarten through Fifth Grade. Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten are taught exclusively on the Lycée International campus. Starting in First Grade, classes are also held at the Ecole Schnapper, a local elementary school. Class size ranges from 16 students in Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten to 18 in First Grade and never more than 20 students per class after that. Classes meet for two half days per week – one morning and one afternoon. During the rest of the week, students are in their French class and study in French.
There are three options for instruction in our First through Fifth grade classes: interne at the Lycée campus, full-time at the Ecole Schnapper, or externé. Kindergarten students are either interne or externé, and all Pre-Kindergarten students are externé. These options are explained further in the section Campus Assignment.
Speaking English is a prerequisite for students entering the American Section, however, levels of fluency vary. Some students arrive speaking only English with the goal to learn French, while others might already be multilingual and developing English as one of their languages.
The Language Arts Plus Program is a two-year course developed to address the needs of First and Second Grade students who are not yet fluent in English. Students have the opportunity to focus on and improve their vocabulary and fluency in English while learning to read in French in their French class. Reading instruction in English begins in the third term of First Grade Plus, when students are able to transfer what they have learned about reading in French and apply it to English. Second Grade Plus continues the work begun in First Grade Plus. By the end of the year, students should be ready to enter a Third Grade mainstream class.
Beyond developing language, becoming an effective communicator, and having an American classroom experience, each grade has age-appropriate content and skills goals. The program builds on students’ natural curiosity and desire to learn while they grow familiar with the rhythms and responsibilities of school life. Beginning in Kindergarten, a balanced approach to reading encourages students to enjoy a variety of genres while also receiving explicit phonics instruction. In the same way, students are given many opportunities to express themselves in writing while learning grammar, mechanics, and spelling.
The Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten students have a dedicated in-class library from which to choose books on a weekly basis. Formal library and art instruction start in First Grade. Beginning in Second Grade, content area studies, such as science, geography, or history are added to the curriculum. Character Education permeates the entire Lower School experience. Finally, American culture is introduced and celebrated through Halloween parties, Thanksgiving celebrations, a holiday gift exchange, and Valentine’s Day cards. American children’s games, songs, and poems are other fun ways that “Americana” is practiced in the program.
Lower School Principal