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Monday, May 20, 2013

CP1, CE2, C3P0, R2D2...What grade is that?!

Week of May 20-26:  Ideas to help us all promote French language learning this week, including Washington, D.C. area French-language and cultural events for kids and families.  Please share any other ideas by commenting below or posting to Bonjour Mama's Facebook page!  Bonne semaine! (Scroll down to FRENCH THIS WEEK for the list )

I am still waiting to hear back from Montgomery County PS to know if we will have a spot in the French immersion program, which I am even more anxious to get into after this past weekend: 

On Saturday at the Gaithersburg Book Festival I met several families with kids in local immersion schools and I was astounded at the level of French I heard. I met two kids in second grade who spoke so effortlessly and fluently it gave me pause; for all my exertion over the past five years speaking and exposing Zach to French, it seems like my results pale in comparison. Although he is very competent in his French, he is by no means at the level of these kids, most of whom I'm sure had much less, if any, French before they entered Kindergarten!

If we don't get into the immersion program, I'm going to have to seriously think about how I can get his French to the next level without exhausting myself in the process. Whether this happens through immersion summer camps, the Alliance Française, or at least a weekly intensive immersion class like Language Stars, what's clear to me is that it can't be all up to me anymore (and my husband who often happily pitches in to speak/play en français). We need to be institutionalized! (in a good way)

As I mention "institution" and think of schools it occurs to me that for pretty much my entire French-speaking life I have never really understood the French equivalents of the U.S. grade levels. Since Zach was born, I have met many French Moms whose kids attend the Lycée Rochambeau. In the first few minutes of any conversation we ask the ages of our kids, where they go to school, and what "grade" they are in. If the child is at least three or four years old the French Moms' answers usually begin with Ecole Maternelle then petite/moyenne/grande section or if they are older, it's a CE or CP followed by a number. At this point in the conversation I tend to just tune out because I don't know what it means and haven't ever taken the time to figure it out. I make sure I know the age of the child and then think of what grade it equates to but I'm never sure.

Finally, I just googled "French equivalent of first grade" and pulled the below list together based on what I found in various places. I finally have the tools to understand and relate!  

Maternelle - Petite Section
Maternelle – Moyenne Section
Maternelle Grande Section
Kindergarten (U.S. kids begin Elementary school this year)

Ecole Primaire
Elementary School
Cours Preparatoire (C.P.)
1st Grade
Cours Elementaire (C.E). 1
2nd Grade
C.E. 2
3rd Grade
C.M. 1
4th Grade
C.M. 2
5th Grade

Middle School
6th Grade
7th Grade
8th Grade
9th Grade (U.S. kids begin high school this year)

High School
10th Grade
11th Grade
12th Grade

Cher Google, within a few seconds of typing you tell me the hourly weather forecast, how to unclog my "In-sinkerator" disposal, and now have ended my longstanding ignorance of U.S.-French educational equivalents. Je t'aime:-)


Out and About

As there are so few new- at least on a weekly basis -- French-themed events for families (unless I am missing something!) I have decided unless there are at least a few  new and unique items to include here to stop including a daily schedule and instead, provide a link to the calendar and highlight anything else that is unique here.

The main attraction I see this week is the book sale at the Alliance Française which goes through June 15th. The last time I went (before I began selling books myself!) I found a very nice selection from Gallimard Montréal and bought one of my favorites to this day: C'est un Livre by Lane Smith (which as of next week I will have for sale on the bookstore!)

At Home

Play Le jeu des dinosaures with your sofa cushions (or anything that can be piled or layered on the ground). After I vetoed the 100th session of "la bataille en français" (see previous post for details) I told Zach he needed to come up with another game. He said: "on va chercher des os de dinosaures."  Each layer of pillows had to be dug through "creuse, creuse creuse!" in search of buried fossils. "J'ai trouvé un fossile"! Ça c'est la tete du tyrannosaure. Ça c'est son pied!". Très fun.

Watch (and play along!) Boowa et Kwala playing the school version of Jean Dit (Simon Says): La Maitresse a dit.

Plan a playdate with other French-speaking parents and kids!  If you are in the DC Metro area, join or suggest an event on Bonjour Mama’s facebook pageLe Petit Groupe Français, or Les Mamans Autour de DC!

1 comment :

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