We offer a highly successful Introductory French program for students entering the school from Junior Kindergarten through Grade 7 who have little or no knowledge of French. The program allows students who enter an introductory class to move into the regular, bilingual stream the following school year.
Underpinning the French and Ontario curricula is the Primary Years Program (PYP) of the IB, a highly respected international education program. Undertaken from Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 5, the PYP is a framework; it is not what is taught, but how it is taught. It takes an inquiry and concept-based approach to learning, through which the curricula are delivered. This means that learning is a highly active and interactive exploration that engages students in the world in which they live.
Students in these grades learn about science, history, geography, reading and writing, the arts and much more through transdisciplinary units of study. They also grow and develop their gross and fine motor skills, learn to live in community together, and start to understand the world around them in all its fascinating aspects.
Formal instruction in the English language begins in Grade 2. People often wonder if this approach hinders the acquisition of English. The answer is no! The language skills students acquire learning French give them an advanced linguistic foundation for learning, exploring and appreciating English.
Our English program is based on the Ontario curriculum, but goes far beyond its scope. The purpose is to immerse students in the language in many ways and forms. Children create journals and storyboards, and use mind mapping and other techniques to engage with the language, fostering acquisition, creativity and critical thinking skills.
Thanks to the language skills they already possess from learning French, students in each grade, from Grade 2 through Grade 5, are taught at one grade above, e.g., Grade 4 English is taught at the Grade 5 level. And the results are in: TFS students consistently perform in the 98th or 99th percentile for English on the Canadian Test of Basic Skills.
As students mature, aspects of the curriculum lend themselves to a wider approach to learning. For instance, introducing studies on children’s rights provides opportunities to further develop leadership skills; students address the issue with their younger or older peers at a school assembly using a multi-media presentation they produce themselves.
Similarly, students embark on more specific field trips, and beginning in Grade 3, on overnight trips. This link to the real world is a key aspect of the PYP and cements knowledge and understanding of subject matter in a way that cannot be achieved by classroom learning alone.