Two languages, one community

Deux langues, une communauté

Below you will find an important pedagogical publication relating to our school’s elementary school academics and environment.

Elementary school is a pivotal time in a child’s life. It is the child’s first contact with structured learning. This experience will be a deciding factor as to whether or not a child enjoys school and finds the learning process rewarding. The International School of Los Angeles challenges students and puts them on firm footing for the rest of their educational careers. The curriculum of the elementary school relies on the traditional essentials of reading, writing, and mathematics. Because our children come from many nations, we stress social studies and the concept that we are all citizens of one world. We also emphasize traditional preparation for further education such as work and study habits, neatness, intellectual discipline and respect for the environment in general.

The Cycle System

This system was inaugurated in France in 1991 and allows elementary students to develop at their own pace. These first years are a time of intellectual curiosity, but young students do not learn at the same rate in all subject areas. The cycle system allows children to acquire knowledge according to their ability. By the time students finish our elementary curriculum, they have been prepared for a demanding secondary curriculum and given solid study habits and learning skills which will enable them to excel through college and beyond. At the Pre-Kindergarten level, children are placed in a typical French classroom situation whether they speak French fluently or not. In Kindergarten, English is added as part of the reading curriculum. From this grade on, the percentage of English in the curriculum will increase from 20% to 40% in 5th grade. This dual language approach has specific objectives: by the end of Cycle 1 (Kindergarten), students begin to read in English. By the end of Cycle 2 (2nd grade), students read in both English and French. By the end of Cycle 3 (6th grade), students are capable of reading and writing in both languages.

Subjects Taught

Our English program begins in Kindergarten with reading readiness. A student who becomes a good reader at an early age is equipped to master any subject throughout his/her academic career. As the child develops, skills in composition are added. We stress phonics, grammar, and spelling. Appreciation of poetry, novels and other written works follows. Literacy and creative projects complete a child’s ability to understand classical and modern literature.

French is not simply a subject but also the language of instruction. Emphasis is placed on both oral and written communication and the building of creative writing skills. Our classes are based on the official program of the French Ministry of Education with French classes complementing our English language coursework. At the end of 2nd and 5th grades, students take the DELF examination (Diplôme d’études en langue française), which certifies their proficiency in the French language.

Our Mathematics program centers on basic skills and problem-solving abilities. Mathematics is taught using both French and American materials and methodologies. The two blend well: the French system emphasizes concepts and the American system focuses on practice. The required program of the French Ministry begins with concrete manipulation and ends with a blend of pre-algebra and beginning geometry. To this we add American components to ensure that our students remain competitive in both systems.

The Sciences are taught in French in Cycle 2 (1st-2nd grade), and starting in 2015-2016 in English in Cycle 3 (3rd-5th grade) with a focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). From an early age, environmental issues are stressed to create individual awareness of the world and its creatures. Students plan and create a variety of science projects and are placed in modified laboratory settings to ensure their knowledge of the tools of the science curriculum.

History and Geography are a combination of both French and American programs. We begin with French and world history combined with the rudiments of geography. In third grade, teachers begin to integrate American programs.

Art and Music are an essential part of a well-rounded, humanities-centered curriculum. These classes are also designed to be creative and allow students to develop their own identities in a comfortable setting. Both classes provide a good opportunity for students to use their French and English skills.

Physical Education is taught mostly in French. These classes are truly skill oriented, with an emphasis on safety, teamwork, sportsmanship and building knowledge of techniques. Sports include soccer, softball, basketball, volleyball, tennis and gymnastics.

Exams

DELF Examination

Students at the International School of Los Angeles take the DELF examination (Diplôme d’études en langue française). These certificates are awarded by the French Ministry of Education for proficiency in French as a Foreign Language.

The DELF examination assesses the four language skills: listening comprehension, reading comprehension, speaking skills, and writing skills. DELF Prim is intended for children who are undertaking studies corresponding to the French elementary level. DELF Junior is designed for secondary-level students.

DELF A1
The A1 level recognizes basic knowledge. At this level, the learner can interact in a simple way: he/she can speak about him/herself and his/her immediate environment.

DELF A2
The A2 level recognizes the linguistic competency of a basic user. The candidate can complete simple tasks of everyday life using the most common polite phrases and exchanges of information.

DELF B1
At this level, the user becomes independent. He/she can maintain interaction: he/she can understand and maintain a discussion and give his/her opinion. He/she is capable of dealing with situations likely to arise in daily life.