A full-time elementary program through grade 5, our curriculum offers a multicultural education taught through the immersion approach. At this level of our program, students learn to read and write in French and are encouraged to speak French exclusively in the classroom. The immersion experience leads children to a more flexible way of thinking, and gives them an appreciation for nuances of meaning. As a result, our students experience success in all subject areas.
The areas of concentration below outline the subjects that our Elementary Students will study. A complete curriculum schedule is available through the school.
English Language Arts
English Language Arts studies begin in second grade. Because the same concepts are taught at an earlier age in the French curriculum than they are in English-speaking schools, English class then becomes a means of confirming concepts and usage, drawing parallels and identifying contrasts. As a result, concepts in language formation are reinforced from both the French and English curriculum and studies, providing children with a steady foundation for language creation.
Our English teacher coordinates in detail with the Classroom teacher to ensure that all content is covered, without duplication. English Language Arts content includes: spelling, math terminology, American money, Measurements (British system), long divisions, U.S. History.
Multimedia, Math Sciences and Technology
We believe it is vital to expose our children to technological resources where they are age-appropriate. We endeavor to provide a laptop and an iPad for each student’s, however, computer use is limited to specific projects and acquisition of skills. At the French American School of Tampa Bay, while we appreciate the increasing importance of technology in today’s world, our primary focus is always on personal interaction amongst teachers and students.
Preparing students for a rapidly changing world is an important part of our mission, and technology is an important part of how we relate to the world around us. Therefore, we incorporate technology into everyday teaching and learning. iPads and laptops function like textbooks and notebooks combined, allowing teachers to make full use of the pedagogical possibilities of electronic textbooks and the internet (especially French-language sites). The one-to-one laptop program also empowers different learning styles (for example, a beginner writer may be a fine filmmaker), fosters active involvement in learning, and allows children to learn digital ethics at an early age. Technology is fully integrated into the curriculum at the elementary, middle and high school levels. Teachers frequently integrate online educational resources (images, film shorts, music, etc.) into their presentations. From Kindergarten on, students spend time gradually becoming familiar with a computer, learning guidelines for appropriate use, and how to evaluate the information they find.
Our sciences program educates students to be critical thinkers who are well-versed in technology and aware of responsible practices.
Music Arts and Suzuki
At its inception, the school’s vision centered upon the relationship between music education and the immersion process of learning a second language. They are partners in a full education. Though the national trend is to reduce this component of education, we believe that a strong music art curriculum lays the foundation for strong mathematical and scientific intelligence. All grade levels at The French American School of Tampa Bay are immersed in our Music Arts Program, which includes Music Mind Games, the Choral Program and an opportunity for private Suzuki lessons.
Music Mind Games: This is a method of teaching music theory and appreciation through non-competitive, imaginative games. Starting in Pre-K, weekly instruction teaches beginning to advanced music theory concepts, including the musical alphabet, intervals, reading rhythms, rhythm math, dictation, the grand staff, musical symbols, tempos, scales, key signatures and chords. Innate in the Music Mind Games method is a duel respect for student’s intelligence and the logical organization of music theory.
Suzuki Program: The immersion method is Listen and Learn. The Suzuki method is the same. We’re proud to work in collaboration with the Maine Suzuki Association to offer our students private, on-site Suzuki lessons in piano, guitar, violin and cello. Parent involvement is required for private lessons.
Choral Program: Our school “Chorale,” comprised of all students, practices weekly with our Chorus leaders and accompanist. The “Chorale” often performs during our monthly school community events, which are a key component of the music program. These community performances may also include musical pieces from Suzuki students, and general songs, dances and skits.
The French American School of Tampa Bay incorporates the benefits of our natural setting into the fabric of our students’ education. The playground and outdoor campus is as much a part of the learning environment as are the indoor classrooms. We put a high value on the play experience and the multiple benefits of daily exercise, and we recognize that the socialization of recess and shared activity teaches important life lessons about respecting and supporting one another.
Throughout the school year, all students participate in physical education/gross motor development, and of course, recess. Best of all, the nearby beaches and seashore provide opportunities for impromptu explorations.
Our school views the arts as a fundamental part of cultural and language education. Integrated with the curriculum, visual arts projects and techniques are discovered in concert with what are typically seen as academic subjects.
In the elementary years, our goals are for the children to be capable of expression through a variety of techniques in drawing, as well as in other two- and three-dimensional media. They learn the experience of creating, reflecting upon others’ images, exploring the differences and similarities between works, and discussing their personal point of view.
We teach skills such as choosing and mixing materials, mediums and subjects, utilizing the tools available, and synthesizing instructions with personal methods. To put techniques in a historical context, we investigate great works through trips to museums, visiting artists and events in the arts world. We teach the children to look for commonalities and differences between the practical experiences of the classroom and the varied approaches of artists.