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French Immersion Preschool, PreK, & Kindergarten

La Maternelle

At The French Académie of Minnetonka, La Maternelle classroom includes preschool, prek, and kindergarten students ages 3-6 years old. La Maternelle is broken out into two classrooms: one classroom for preschool students and one classroom for prek and kindergarten students. Our classrooms often combine for group projects and activities.


In France, public school begins at 2 1/2 years old, with a structured curriculum providing the foundations to prepare students for elementary school.

The French School System & The Concept of Cycles:

The French Académie follows the educational structure of the French Ministry of Education, which divides each class from preschool to grade 5 into 3 cycles.


La Maternelle is Cycle 1 and includes the following ages:




Petite Section




Moyenne Section




Grande Section


How do the French cycles benefit students? We do not enclose the students in one class level with specific objectives to reach at the end of their grade level, but rather gather all the objectives of each Maternelle level and expect the skills to be mastered by the end of the Grande Section (Kindergarten).

In other words, this cycle system allows us to respect the different rhythms of each child, giving them the time needed to learn and also challenging them to the next steps when they are ready. Children are challenged based on their needs rather than on the grade level they belong. This means that we could tackle Kindergarten level with some students through the school year, or even higher grades!

The 5 Domains of Competencies in Cycle 1:

Accredited French Curriculum
Preschool, Pre-K, & Kindergarten

Accredited by the French Ministry of Education, our Maternelle classroom adheres to the world-renowned French curriculum. The French curriculum is recognized by schools world-wide. France is the only country to maintain a national teaching system abroad maintained by a school network, Agence pour l'Enseignement Francais a l'Etranger (AEFE). The following are the five domains covered in the Cycle 1 French international curriculum.



Awakening to linguistic diversity

Begin to reflect on language and gain

Phonological Awareness

Sharing and reflecting with others

Dare to communicate


Listening to the written word and understanding

Discover the functions of the written world

Starting to write

Discover the alphabetical principle

Start writing on your own



Stabilize time cues

Consolidating the notion of chronology

Experiencing space

Representing Space


Working with digital objects

Using, making manipulating objects

Discover the world of life


Discover numbers and their uses

Direct immediate global recognition of small quantities

Knowledge of the oral and written sequence of numbers systematically related to quantity

Composition and decomposition of number (first steps in addition, subtraction, division)

Use of number to designate a rank, a position

Using numbers to solve problems

Explore shapes and sizes through manipulation, carry out sorting, categorization, reproduce an assemply from a model (puzzle, paving, assembly of solids)

Identify a regular organization and continue its application




Practice Decorative Graphics

Achieve flat and volume compositions

Observe, understand and transform images


Play with your voice and acquire a repertoire of nursery rhymes and songs

Exploring instruments, using the sounds of the body

Fine-tune your listening skills


Acting in space, in time and on objects

Adapt your balance and movements to a variety of environments or constraints

Communicate with others through expressive or artistic actions

Collaborate, cooperate, oppose

Your child deserves the very best early education.

Discover our AEFE accredited French immersion school! New building, learning kitchen, Montessori & Reggio inspired, lead by native French speakers. No French experience required!

Project 1: Welcome to Spring | Bienvenue au Printemps


This project was inspired by a piece of art exhibited at the Walker Center for the Arts.


Full color pictures of these four different representations of nature and Spring and their black and white version were first presented to the students.


Focusing on the overall images and also on the details, students gained the understanding of the different components of a picture: the shapes, the colors, the emotions brought up by the images.


Instructions given:

Choisis des gommettes de 2 couleurs différentes, et de 2 tailles différentes. Colle les gommettes sur les bourgeons, les branches, les fleurs et les tiges.

Choose dots of two different colors and two different sizes. Place the dots onto the buds, the branches, the flowers and the stems.


The students were very quiet during this activity, giving their full attention to their artwork, following the directions given and using their fine motor skills to place the tiny dots in the places of their liking.

Project 2: Discovering Bees | Les Abeilles


As part of our theme about spring, the children learned about bees. Together, we looked at books and discovered that bees collect nectar from flowers and make honey inside their beehive. We also learned lots of new words to talk about bees and the work of beekeepers. As we were all very interested, we got to look at real pollen during circle time, and we were so impressed to see some real pollen! We all took a turn to smell it and look at it. We shared our impressions about what it looked and smelled like. The children said that it looked like little yellow and orange pebbles. They also said that it smelled like pumpkin, popcorn, mango, butter and even ice cream!


As the interest about bees did not fade, the children joined together to print bubble wrap onto the outline of a beehive. Then, they painted the background such as some flowers and some trees. And finally, they drew some bees with felt tips. As they were participating to this project, the children were commenting and were saying things such as: “look, I made a carrot, now I’m going to made some blueberries!”, “ I made two suns”, “I made a tree”, “ça, c’est la reine”, “ça, c’est le miel”. The children were very engaged and showed that they really understood what the bees needed to be happy! 


Finally, after having spent a few weeks talking about bees, we decided to create a beehive for our wooden bees. First of all, we painted all the loo rolls with yellow paint, then, once they were dry we stuck them together and finally we stuck the honeycomb inside a large box. When the beehive was ready, the children were eager to decorate it so the bees would enjoy it! The children said: “moi fait une abeille”, “un arc-en-ciel”, “ un bouquet de tulipes”, “des fruits”, “ pour Les Abeilles, du pollen”. The children really thought about what the bees would enjoy and use! They also used the real pollen to feed the bees!



  • Develop understanding of bees: what they are, what they do and why they are important

  • Develop language

  • Name body parts of the bees

  • Develop fine motor skills

  • Work as part of a group

  • Develop artistic skills

  • Develop understanding of the world

  • Develop hand-eye coordination

  • Develop spatial awareness

  • Develop one to one correspondence

Project 3: Snails | Les Escargot


After a few group discussions with the children about a class mascot, we decided that getting a couple of snails would be a great idea! Together, we discussed what our future snails might need to be happy and stay healthy. After writing a list together, we asked Madame Liebmann to place an order for us. We were so excited for our snails to arrive through the post! Everyday, we were looking out the window to see whether the postman would bring us our little friends. Every morning, we counted the days until we would finally get them!


After 29 days, they arrived, at last! Before meeting our snails, we got their home ready but putting some soil and some moss inside the tank. Then, we all gathered up and opened our precious parcel….

What did we discovered inside? Three escargots!! They were hibernating so we had to wake them up gently with warm water. Then, we put them in their new home and gave them some banana to eat (after their long journey, they were hungry!) We spent the day observing them and learning how to handle them. Of course, we made sure to thoroughly wash our hands afterwards. We had a wonderful day discovering them, looking at their shells and reading stories about snails!


After a week of having fun with our snails, we cleaned our snails' house and it made us realize that our snails depend on us for their health and well-being, so we have to take care of them properly! We took time to empty the old soil to replace it with clean soil. Then, we added some fresh moss and finally we sprayed our snails with water to make them happy. After all this, we decided to take the game “Snail race” out to work on our math skills and the game took on a whole new meaning! Two of our snails started climbing up the windows of their house and seemed to be racing up! We had lots of fun looking at them and debating who would be first to arrive to the top!



  • Develop language

  • Caring for a being other than ourselves

  • Develop awareness of different types of lives

  • Name body parts of the snail

  • Understand the physiology of the snail

  • Develop counting skills

  • Become responsible

  • Understand different types of habitat

  • Understand the concept of hibernation and seasons

As part of our school's Reggio Emilia inspiration, our teachers keep documentation of the different classrooms explorations they discover with their students. This documentation, which is shared daily with our parent community on our private school "Bloomz" app, allows our students, parents, and teachers alike to see the beauty in the children's learning, through natural exploration and discovery. Below are just a few examples of how our students learn and explore.

Preschool, PreK, & Kindergarten Project Gallery

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