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Entry into a dual language program is a multi-year commitment involving the family as well as the student. Students learn to become multi-cultural, bilingual and bi-literate. Most children who enter the program in Kindergarten continue in the program through fifth grade.
There are many types of bilingual programs, but our DLP is a 50/50 model, sometimes called a two-way immersion model or partial-immersion program. Instructional time is divided 50/50 between English and French for all grades. Each DLP class is made up of about 50% French-fluent speakers (“francophones”) and 50% English-dominant speakers (“anglophones”).
Francophone students enter the program as French-fluent speakers, usually acquiring their French language skills from either living with French-speaking family members and/or living in a French-speaking environment. Students coming from French immersion programs, if highly proficient in French, may be considered francophone candidates. Some francophones qualify as “ENL” students, meaning that they are not yet English-fluent speakers. Other francophones may enter the program as bilingual English- and French-speakers.
Anglophone students are typically English-dominant students who enter the DLP speaking little or no French, but they have the opportunity to learn French through immersion in the DLP. The point of entry for Anglophone students is in Kindergarten only.
Students in both language groups may speak one or more other languages. One of their languages may be their “dominant” language: that is, the language that they feel most comfortable using to communicate with others. The 50/50 balance of students in each class allows students to support each other’s language development and to celebrate the diversity of their community.
Instructional time in grades K-5 is equally divided between French and English, but the 50/50 division looks different in some grades.
|Grade(s)||Type of Class||Language Instruction Provided by Teacher(s)||50/50 Time Division of Language Instruction|
|K & 1||self-contained||1 teacher in both French & English (2 teachers/classes per grade)||Half-days: mornings in French and afternoons in English|
|2||self-contained||1 teacher in both French & English (2 teachers/classes per grade)||Alternate full days in French and English|
|3, 4, 5||side-by-side||2 teachers: 1 teacher in French and 1 teacher in English for 2 classes on each grade||Alternate full days in French and English (students switch teachers/classrooms each day)|
Here is an example of an upper-grade “side-by-side” class schedule: Class A would learn in the French teacher’s classroom on Monday, while Class B would learn in the English teacher’s classroom. On Tuesday, Class A would be with the English teacher, and Class B would be with the French teacher. On Wednesday, Class A would be back with the French teacher, and Class B would be back with the English teacher; and so on.
The DLP students learn the same curriculum as students in our all-English classes, but DLP students learn 50% of the lessons in French across all subjects (reading, writing, math, social studies, etc.), and 50% of the lessons in all subjects in English. Some curricular materials are translated into French, and some authentic French resources are used when possible and appropriate. No lessons are repeated in the other language; i.e., a lesson taught in French will not be retaught in English later. However, many concepts first taught in one language will be reviewed and/or reinforced in the other language to support the needs of all learners and develop students’ vocabulary in both languages.
Most specialty classes are taught in English, but some classes, such as Music and Language Workshop, offer some instruction in French and other languages.
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Yes. Currently, students in Kindergarten, 1st Grade and 2nd Grade have Language Workshop about once a week, a specialty class in which students are exposed to French as a foreign language and get the chance to explore other languages throughout the year. Our staff and PTA also organize programs and events for the entire school community throughout the year to celebrate cultural and linguistic diversity.
Our DLP teachers use many strategies to teach anglophones in French through immersion, including gestures, pictures, repetition, and modeling, among others. In general during French instructional time, teachers speak only in French to students using the above strategies to ensure comprehension and engagement. Bilingual students often support their classmates as needed, but translations from teachers or students are only used if absolutely necessary. A transition period in the first few weeks of kindergarten is often implemented, when teachers might use a student’s dominant language more frequently to be sure that all students feel comfortable in their new classroom; after a few weeks, teachers will consistently use the 50/50 model of instruction.
As with all academic subjects, children will progress in their skills at their own pace. In general, grades K & 1 in the DLP focus on building listening and comprehension skills in French. Students may begin saying some of the most commonly used words in French in these grades (e.g., colors, numbers, simple greetings), and they will join in with the choral reading of songs, poems, and other shared texts. Many students begin saying simple, short, spontaneous sentences in French in grade 2.
Our DLP follows a sequential biliteracy model: that is, in grades K & 1, students begin to read and write in one language first — for anglophones, in English. Research has shown that building literacy skills in one language first will allow a student to successfully transfer those skills to a second language later. In those early grades, although students focus on reading and writing independently in one language, they are being exposed to literacy in both languages through “balanced literacy,” meaning, for example: read-alouds, shared reading, shared writing, interactive writing, word study, labels around the room, etc. This exposure supports the transition to literacy in the second language. In grade 2, when teachers see that their students have built a strong foundation in their first-language literacy, anglophone students begin to read and write in both English and French.
Homework expectations vary by grade. In grades K & 1, anglophones will typically work on the French “song/poem of the week” to accompany the English weekly song/poem, possibly along with other short activities to support class work (e.g., reviewing French high-frequency words such as le, la, les, etc.). In grades 2 through 5, anglophones will begin bringing French books home to read, and they might have other writing or grammar-related activities to complete as well. Your child’s teacher will provide you with information about homework expectations at the beginning of the school year.
Typically any homework, be it in English or in French, should be an activity that a child can complete either completely independently (in the upper elementary grades) or with minimal support from a caregiver (in the lower grades). This helps the teacher to evaluate what the child is able to do either independently or with minimal assistance; it also allows parents to see what their children have been learning in school, and possibly support them with those concepts as they see fit. Thus, you do not need to speak French fluently to support your anglophone child with French homework, though knowing some French might be helpful to give some minimal support in the lower grades.
Teachers provide students and families with resources throughout the year to support learning outside of the classroom. Our after-school program offers homework help with some bilingual support available; please get in touch with them if you are interested. Many DLP families also use one another as a resource for support with homework, school communication, and other activities; you may ask your child’s teacher or class parent to help you get in touch with French speakers in the school community.
We hope that families in the DLP will make an effort to celebrate and encourage the language learning happening in your child’s classroom throughout his or her time in the PS 58 DLP. This effort may look different for each family. If you do speak some French, engaging your child in activities in the language at home may be beneficial. If you do not speak much French, there are some easy ways to support your child’s language learning outside the school environment, including, but not limited to: listening to songs in French, watching movies in French with English subtitles, attending French cultural activities around the city, and talking with French-speakers in the community whenever possible.
Every child is unique, and multilingualism is very much a part of our DLP and our community; many students and families in our program speak two or more languages. If multiple languages are clearly separated (e.g., one parent – one language, or one language at home – one language outside the home), most children will be able to learn and discriminate between two or more languages. Students who speak more than one language sometimes find connections between languages that help them to quickly build vocabulary in a new one (e.g., French and Spanish both being romance languages means that there are some similar words and grammatical concepts). There are many books and online resources available about bilingual and multilingual families; we would encourage you to consult them if you have a concern or questions about your own child’s language abilities.
Here is one such resource to consult for general questions about bilingualism:
Most DLP students progress at the same pace as students in all-English classes in most subjects; all students are taught the same curriculum and held to the same standards in English. Your child’s teacher will keep you informed of his or her progress through report cards, parent-teacher conferences, and other communication as needed. If you have a particular concern about your child’s progress, please speak to your child’s teacher.
Any child can enroll in the DLP, regardless of language background or academic ability. However, we find that certain personalities thrive in immersion programs: specifically, children who are curious, like taking risks and meeting new people, and quickly adapt to new activities or groups. Children who are hesitant to try new things can also be very successful in our program, but they may show progress in their second language more slowly than others do.
Does the DLP follow the French curriculum? Is the DLP accredited by the French Ministry of Education?
No. We follow the New York State curriculum and aim to meet New York State Learning Standards. We translate and adapt the curriculum to the needs of our language learners, and we do teach some French grammar. We use some resources from France, Canada, and other French-speaking countries to supplement our curriculum in French.
We are not accredited by the French Ministry of Education, but we were the recipient of Le Label FrancEducation in 2011, a prestigious award given by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a formal recognition and accreditation to schools providing a French bilingual program.
Our DLP follows a sequential biliteracy model: that is, in grades K & 1, students begin to read and write in one language first — for francophones, in French. Research has shown that building literacy skills in one language first will allow a student to successfully transfer those skills to a second language later. In those early grades, students are being exposed to literacy in both languages through “balanced literacy,” meaning, for example: read-alouds, shared reading, shared writing, interactive writing, word study, labels around the room, etc. This exposure supports the transition to literacy in the second language. In grade 2, when teachers see that their students have built a strong foundation in their first-language literacy, francophone students begin to read and write in both French and English.
Most DLP students progress at the same pace as students in all-English classes in most subjects; all students are taught the same curriculum and held to the same standards in English. For some francophone students who are balanced bilinguals, the transition to literacy in both languages is often smooth. For other francophone students who are still learning English as a second language, this transition may take more time, and we provide those students with more support as needed to reach grade-level benchmarks. Your child’s teacher will keep you informed of his or her progress through report cards, parent-teacher conferences, and other communication as needed. If you have a particular concern about your child’s progress, please speak to your child’s teacher.
Some French grammar concepts are introduced in our DLP to support students’ speaking, reading, and writing skills in French. We do not follow the grammar sequence of the curriculum of the French Ministry of Education. The frequency of grammar lessons depends on the grade; your child’s teacher will provide you with expectations for grammar throughout the year.
Classwork and homework in all subjects and languages are often differentiated to challenge students of different academic abilities and language backgrounds. Some tasks may be more or less challenging for certain students, and there are often opportunities for students to expand their thinking if they complete a task relatively easily and quickly. Your child’s teacher will provide you with information about homework expectations and guidelines at the beginning of the school year.
Are the DLP teachers native speakers of French?
Some of our teachers are native French speakers, and others speak French fluently as a second language. All of our teachers are trained to meet the needs of both French-fluent students and French language learners.
How can I support my child’s bilingualism at home?
Every child is unique, and multilingualism is very much a part of our DLP and our community; many students and families in our program speak two or more languages. If multiple languages are clearly separated (e.g., one parent – one language, or one language at home – one language outside the home), most children will be able to learn and discriminate between two or more languages. Students who speak more than one language sometimes find connections between languages that help them to quickly build vocabulary in a new one (e.g., French and Spanish both being romance languages means that there are some similar words and grammatical concepts).
We encourage families to support their children in their native language, whatever that may be. There are many types of bilingual families and many different ways to structure that support. If you have a concern or question about your own child, we would encourage you to consult one or more of the many books and online resources available about bilingual and multilingual families.
Here is one such resource to consult for general questions about bilingualism:
List of French Resources
Below is a list containing resources for French language learners. This list, created by the PS 58 DLP Liaison Committee of parents, might be helpful for anglophones in the DLP as well as for francophones who would like to research additional French resources in our community, and students outside the DLP who are interested in learning more French.
RESOURCES FOR FRENCH LEARNERS
This list has been created by parents of the DLP Liaison Committee for the convenience of other parents and should not be construed as an endorsement of each program. This list is not exhaustive and you are encouraged to find what works for your family in terms of location, cost, method, etc. If you know of other resources that might be useful to other families, please contact the DLP Liaison Committee.
*Starred resources are free!
PS 58 Resources
*Mlle Patterson’s Language Workshop Blog: Posts about what the students are learning in Language Workshop and shares fun videos and audio tracks your kids love in class!
Carroll Kids Enrichment class with EFNY: Weekly afterschool classes for French native speakers or beginners, help with homework. Visit the Carroll Kids Enrichment page for more information.
Magazines and Subscriptions
Bayard: Magazines for every age and interest. Kids love getting their own magazine in the mail, with content designed just for them. Consult the brochure distributed in backpack mail, explore the options online, or speak directly with parent liaison Carmen Alvarado.
L’école des loisirs: Subscribe to receive a new French book every month! Contact Marie Barguirdjian.
If you need help figuring out what magazines would be appropriate for your French learner, Carmen can help!
Bookstores and Libraries
Amazon.ca: Shipping from our neighbors to the north is usually cheaper than from France, but you can certainly buy books at Amazon.fr too. Also don’t forget to check regular old Amazon.com for (usually used) French books!
Librairie Albertine: Independent bookstore located in the Cultural Services of the French Embassy offering French books for children and adults.
La Librairie des Enfants: This Upper East Side bookshop offers a great selection of children’s books in French along with classes, children’s activities and a book-lending program. Staff is very knowledgeable and can help you find just the right books for your needs.
FIAF: The French Institute / Alliance Française also has a vast library that members can consult and borrow from.
*Brooklyn Public Library – All Branches: All Brooklyn Public Libraries have foreign language books for children and adults!
Websites and Apps
Bayam.tv: The Bayam.tv Website and app with ad-free video content organized by age. Monthly subscription of 5 euros, with an app for your iPad.
*YouTube: You know there’s a ton of stuff on YouTube, but how do you know where to start? Here are a few jumping-off points:
1 Rue Sésame and 5 Rue Sésame for kids who like Sesame Street
Also look back at the Language Workshop blog for reliable video sources!
Netflix: A number of series can be viewed in French on Netflix! This article has a list of shows available in French and instructions on how to switch the language.
If you need help navigating any websites that are only available in French, contact parent Theresa Shepherd.
Language Immersion Camps
FIAF: French-immersion camps and workshops in Manhattan.
Bonjour NY: French-immersion summer camp offering free pick-up and drop off at PS58.
SLA: French-immersion summer camp based near BAM.
ISB: play-based French & Spanish summer immersion camps in Carroll Gardens
Additional options listed here.
Language Tutoring and Classes
Smith Street Workshop: Classes, one-on-one tutoring, small group tutoring and more run by a former PS 58 DLP founding teacher.
FIAF: Classes right here in Carroll Gardens at ISB.
Blogs and Communities
*François Grosjean: Scholarly articles and blog posts on bilingualism and bilingual parenting.
*Raising bilingual children: Konstella discussion group open to all PS 58 families.
*DLP-PS58 Google Group: Google group for all parents in the French-English dual language program at PS58.
Document updated March 14, 2018. For the latest version click here.