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Early childhood

From our youngest students, all the way through to graduation, 
our focus is on developing the whole student.

The Calgary French & International School’s Early Childhood Division spans preschool, junior kindergarten and kindergarten. Classes are inviting, caring, happy environments filled with enthusiastic learners and dedicated, passionate educators.

During these important years, our focus is on developing the whole child in the context of a full French immersion experience. Intellectual, social, emotional, physical, ethical and attitudinal capabilities are nurtured, with an emphasis on internationalism and character development for each student. 

During daily routines and lessons full of exploration, stories, songs, play, art and dramatics, young children quickly learn to understand and express themselves in French. 

After just a few months of immersion,
a preschool-aged child’s comprehension soars.

By the end of their first year in our community, even our most timid students have begun to respond to their teachers in French using simple phrases and songs. 

All of our early childhood classrooms are warm, inviting, child-centred spaces, providing a welcoming entry-point into our school community. 

Age-appropriate pre-academic skills are embedded in play-based learning experiences that honour each child's unique skills, interests, and choices. Children learn through tasks, experiences, games, toys, and interactions that are meaningful to them.

As the year progresses, even our very youngest students take on leadership roles within their classroom community: leading routines, welcoming visitors, and helping one another with classroom tasks.

To plant the seeds of active global citizenship, classrooms frequently welcome guests of diverse cultural backgrounds; collect greeting cards from around the globe; celebrate holidays and traditions from all parts of the world, and correspond with peers in other regions and countries. 

Please click on the drop down menus below to read more about our responsive, emergent curriculum and our before- and after-school care program. 

A responsive, enriched curriculum

In alignment with best practices in early education, and current research about brain development and learning, our preschool and junior kindergarten programs follow a play-based emergent curriculum model. Students' interests are at the heart of our programs and second language acquisition is nurtured through play to create authentic learning situations. This allows students to develop their passions, work on French vocabulary that is relevant to them, and undertake projects that fuel their excitement about learning.

In kindergarten, teachers follow a semi-emergent model, where students' interests and passions are connected to the Alberta Education Kindergarten Program Statement. The kindergarten program is enriched with field trips, guest speakers, specialist teachers in art, music, and physical education. Offering a full-day program allows time and flexibility to dive deeply into projects and units of inquiry that are compelling and meaningful to our young students.

Daily schedule

The rhythm of the school day balances the physical, intellectual, and emotional needs of young children. 

Full- and half-day options are available in preschool and junior kindergarten. A typical day includes opportunities for:

  • French language development
  • Early literacy and numeracy experiences
  • Music instruction
  • Physical education
  • Outdoor play
  • Songs
  • Stories
  • Artistic exploration
  • Dramatic play

Daily schedules include times for snacks and lunch. Students in full-day programs rest or nap in the early afternoons.

Our kindergarten program is a full-day, which allows teachers to meet children's developmental needs for socialization and play while also providing an academically challenging French immersion experience.

Before and after school care

For those families requiring support before and after school, the Calgary French & International School offers care for students in preschool to Grade 6. Programming includes outdoor play and developmentally appropriate activities driven by students' needs and interests. 

Advance registration is required, and programming is available on school days from 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., and from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. No programming is available during school holidays or professional development days.

Note that before and after-school programs are not included in regular tuition; there is an additional fee for these programs.

Please contact Mme. Susan Ammeter at sammeter@cfis.com for further information.

Kindergarten curriculum outline

Academic and core experience program overview for kindergarten

At Calgary French & International School (CFIS) each student’s unique potential is nurtured in a robust, full French immersion, dynamic and diverse learning environment. We balance academic achievement and purposeful enrichment across a wide variety of curricular activities, inline with Alberta Education’s cross-curricular competencies.

The aim of our French immersion kindergarten program at CFIS is to instil a love of learning in our students and provide the building blocks for French language acquisition, while concurrently preparing students for our Grade 1 program.

Core experiences

In addition to a strong academic program, all CFIS kindergarten students will be provided with the following core experiences, which help ensure consistency across all CFIS kindergarten classrooms, while still allowing a curriculum centred on children’s individual needs, interests and strengths:

Every day, each CFIS kindergarten student will:

  • Play indoors
  • Play outdoors (weather permitting)
  • Read and/or be read to
  • Write
  • Draw
  • Count
  • Sing
  • Dance/move
  • Create
  • Rest

Approximately once per week (or per 6-day schedule rotation), each CFIS kindergarten student will:

  • Write and/or draw a personal journal entry; and
  • Explore a new artistic medium, material or tool.

Every month, each CFIS kindergarten student will:

  • Learn two new songs or rhymes in French; and
  • Complete a lesson or project linked to a piece of children’s literature.

Throughout the course of the year, each CFIS kindergarten student will:

  • Observe and document the life cycle of two different living things;
  • Collaboratively prepare and enjoy four different healthy snacks;
  • Hear three to five parents talk about their careers or hobbies;
  • Learn about the lives and work of three different artists or illustrators;
  • Enjoy at least one live theatre, music, or dance performance;
  • Try at least one new physical activity or sport;
  • Celebrate at least three cultural holidays from around the world;
  • Communicate with a group of children their own age, in another country or region, to learn about life in that area;
  • Perform in front of an audience;
  • Complete a guided, age-appropriate research project on a topic of his or her choosing;
  • Write and send a card or letter to a loved one far away;
  • Perform an act of kindness or charity to support someone less fortunate;
  • Visit and explore at least one natural area;
  • Plan, create, and present a gift for a family member or other loved one;
  • Compare and contrast different versions of a familiar story or fable;
  • Participate in at least three different off-campus learning opportunities;
  • Make a friend in another grade or classroom;
  • Discover and share at least three things that make him or her unique and special;
  • Collaborate with an older student to complete a project or activity;
  • Formally express gratitude and appreciation for someone who has helped him or her; and
  • Act in a leadership role with a younger student.

Academic outline

Alberta Education’s Kindergarten Program Statement provides learner expectations in eight learning areas: early literacy, early numeracy, social studies, environment and community awareness, personal skills and social responsibility, physical education, health and well-being, and artistic expression and appreciation. Since young children learn in an integrated way, many of the curriculum objectives identified in Alberta Education’s Kindergarten Program Statement will be accomplished simultaneously through learning activities that are developmentally appropriate for young children. Thus, although each of these eight areas is given its own section in this document, the areas are often mingled together in the course of the kindergarten day.

Evaluation

In the kindergarten classroom, assessment is an ongoing part of each child’s daily learning. Children demonstrate their understanding in a variety of ways, both formal and informal. Although direct observation of children’s work and behaviour is the primary means of assessing children’s progress and development, teachers also perform individual evaluations of each child, several times a year. As formal, standardized testing is not a developmentally appropriate practice with very young children, these evaluations are performed using play-based tasks, and administered in such a way as to minimize stress on the child. In addition to providing feedback to the child and parents, assessment also helps teachers plan meaningful learning experiences to meet the needs of the group and of individual children. Self-assessment and feedback from peers, teachers, and parents, further facilitate and guide children’s reflections. Progress is documented, and is reported to parents via three report cards, at student-led conferences and Open House events, and in the interim as needed.  

Technology

Technology is used in a developmentally, age appropriate manner in all classrooms. Our philosophy is that technology is integrated within all core subjects in various ways and that its purpose is to leverage learning.

Early Literacy (French Language Arts)

French language instruction forms the core of our kindergarten program. Vocabulary, sentence structures, comprehension techniques, and listening skills, are taught implicitly and explicitly, formally and informally, throughout all of our activities and routines.

Following Alberta Education's Kindergarten Program of Studies for French immersion, children in our program will learn to:

  • Make meaning of the French they hear spoken in the classroom, learning to follow basic instructions, comprehend simple stories, and understand daily conversations;
  • Develop an enthusiasm and appreciation for the French language through songs and rhymes;
  • Direct their attention to the person speaking and/or the task at hand.
  • Use non-verbal cues such as gesture, facial expression, and illustrations to assist in general comprehension;
  • Draw meaning from pictures and symbols;
  • Show an interest in books and recognition of relationship between text and illustration;
  • Use simple French vocabulary to express their individual needs.
  • Repeat routine French phrases and questions in the course of dramatic play and casual conversation;
  • Share ideas using drawing and “pretend” writing;
  • Copy simple French words and phrases in writing; and
  • Explore French letter names and letter sounds.

Early Numeracy (Mathematics)

Kindergarten mathematics are embedded in everyday activities, such as playing, reading, beading, baking, storytelling and helping around the classroom, as well as being taught explicitly in math lessons.

Following Alberta Education's Kindergarten Program of Studies for French immersion, children in our program will learn to:

  • Recognize and name all numbers from 1 to 10.
  • Count from 1 to 10 and 10 to 1 in French, beginning at any number.
  • Identify quantities of up to five objects, by sight.
  • Link numerals from 1 to 10 to the matching quantity of objects.
  • Concretely represent quantities of up to 10, using manipulatives.
  • Concretely represent quantities of up to 10 using 2 smaller groups of objects
  • Compare two groups of up to 10 objects, using the French structures for “more than,” “less than,” “the same as” and “equal to.”
  • Understand the concept of repeating two or three item patterns, by continuing, copying, and creating patterns using objects, sounds, and gestures.
  • Sort a group of objects by a single attribute (size, colour, shape, etc.)
  • Compare two similar objects based on length, weight, or volume.
  • Construct, describe, and compare three-dimensional objects based on their shape and size.

Social studies

Following Alberta Education's Kindergarten Program of Studies for French immersion, children in our program will learn to:

  • Recognize and identify the things that make them unique individuals (culture, family traditions, physical appearance, talents, etc.)
  • Recognize and identify the factors that link members of different groups and communities (family, school, classroom, neighbourhood, etc.)
  • Develop critical and creative thinking skills
  • Become oriented in time and aware of past, present, future events.
  • Develop general geographic awareness, related to the location of familiar places (home, school, park, etc.)
  • Develop decision-making and conflict-resolution abilities
  • Demonstrate good citizenship (e.g. helping in classroom cleanup.)
  • Practice basic research skills: asking questions and evaluating answers received from different sources.
  • Interact appropriately in conversation with peers and adults.

Environment and Community Awareness

Following Alberta Education's Kindergarten Program of Studies for French immersion, children in our program will learn to:

  • Demonstrate curiosity and the desire to better understand themselves and the world.
  • Explore the places and settings that make up their environment.
  • Make use of materials available in the environment.

Personal Skills and Social Responsibility

  • Following Alberta Education's Kindergarten Program of Studies for French immersion, children in our program will learn to:
  • Develop positive attitudes and behaviours towards themselves and their roles as learners.
  • Demonstrate and practice independence and autonomy in the areas of personal care; separation from parents; and navigating the classroom and school environment.
  • Demonstrate and practice a sense of personal responsibility
  • Build and improve fine motor skills by engaging in a variety of activities.
  • Build and improve gross motor skills including hand-eye coordination, laterality (awareness of left/right and handed-ness) and general body awareness/coordination.

Physical education

Following Alberta Education's Kindergarten Program of Studies for French immersion, children in our program will learn to:

  • Develop French vocabulary for a variety of movement-oriented physical activities, in a variety of settings.
  • Understand the benefits of physical activity and express those benefits in French.
  • Interact appropriately with peers in the course of physical activities.
  • Develop a sense of personal responsibility in regards to living a healthy, active lifestyle.

Health and Well-Being

Following Alberta Education's Kindergarten Program of Studies for French immersion, children in our program will learn to:

  • Make responsible, informed choices in regards to their own health and safety, and the health and safety of others.
  • Acquire social skills and habits based on respect, responsibility, and compassion.
  • Use a variety of resources to explore their own roles within their families and across their lifespan.

Artistic expression and appreciation

Our kindergarten program includes exposure to the full spectrum of fine arts, including visual art, music, drama, literature, and creative movement. Children are provided with opportunities to study the artistic endeavours of others, as well as to participate in creative pursuits of their own.

Following Alberta Education's Kindergarten Program of Studies for French immersion, children in our program will learn to:

  • Express their creativity by exploring the vocabulary, techniques, and materials specific to a variety of fine arts.
  • Express their own reactions to fine art forms from a variety of cultures and eras.

Field trips and invited guest presentations

All field trips and invited guests are an addition to our academic studies and have a link with a particular program of study.

The following trips and/or presentations will possibly occur during the school year:

  • Seasonal visits to Fish Creek Provincial Park
  • In-class presentations titled I am Unique and Number Farm
  • TELUS Spark
  • Ski lessons at Canada Olympic Park
  • Swimming lesson series
  • Calgary Zoo
  • Pedalheads bike program
  • Evergreen Theatre’s Big Green Puppet Bus

Themes and topics

The CFIS kindergarten year is broken into three broad themes which link naturally to one another, and reflect the connection between the kindergarten classroom, home life, and the larger world. Using these broad themes to guide instruction helps support young children’s view of their world as an integrated, interconnected place. These broad themes provide students and teachers with an umbrella under which relevant concepts from each curriculum area are explored. These themes are interpreted using an emergent and inquiry-based curriculum model, which allows teachers to follow the interests, questions, strengths, and needs of the students in each classroom. Thus, while all students work to develop the same core skills and knowledge, the exact lessons and activities will vary from one classroom to another. The following of possible explorations is just that – a list of possibilities – and should not be considered a complete or comprehensive list of every topic that may or must be explored in each CFIS kindergarten class.

Our character development program, which is based on our school values as well as on the 7 Habits of Happy Kids, is woven throughout our school year. These principles are integrated into classroom routines and activities on a daily basis.

Theme 1: The World of School and Letters

September to late October

An inquiry into the letters of our alphabet. Possible pathways to explore include:

  • French letter names and sounds
  • The shapes and physical characteristics of letters
  • Alphabetical order
  • The significance and utility of letters in our world
  • The role of symbols
  • The letters of our names
  • An exploration of the meaning and significance of school. May include:
  • What it means to be a student
  • Our school’s layout and important places
  • Significant people in our school community
  • Being a good friend and community member

Theme 2: The World of Stories and Celebrations

Late October to March

An  inquiry into the role of stories and narratives as tools to make sense of the world. Possible pathways to explore include:

  • Similarities and differences between multiple versions of the same story
  • The roles of authors and illustrators
  • Familiar story formats: fairy tales, fables, nursery rhymes, legends
  • Stories that explore a common theme or setting
  • Using pictures, movement, or drama to tell stories
  • Creating stories inspired by art work and/or music
  • An exploration of celebrations. May include:
  • Comparing celebrations from different cultures and regions
  • The meaning of traditions, and their significance to family life
  • The role of special foods, songs, rituals, as part of celebrations
  • The role of shared celebrations in building community
  • The role of gifts and the joy of giving

Theme 3: The Natural World

March to June

  • An inquiry into the natural world. Possible pathways of exploration include:
  • Wild animals and their habitats
  • Family pets and their needs
  • Plants and their life cycles
  • Our bodies and 5 senses
  • Health, fitness, and nutrition
  • The role of nature in visual and performing arts
  • Creating art using natural materials
  • Ecology and caring for the environment