Fun With French in Boulder County

IMG_4346Interactive French Classes for Children

with Carol Callicotte-Belmon (moi), French Instructor at Bixby Preschool, and Sarah Dodson-Knight (of Bringing up Baby Bilingual) former lecturer in French at CSU and founder of French story time at the Lafayette library, both mothers of bilingual children.


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Current Schedule:

French Immersion Classes for children 0-5 at Grandrabbits Play! Mondays at 9:30 Feb 9- March 16. Find more information and sign up here!

Storytime in French (L’heure du conte) geared towards ages 2-6 at the Lafayette public library on the second Friday of each month at 4:00. Come join us at 775 W. Baseline Rd., we’re on the upper level at the north end! Next classes: Friday February 13, Friday March 13, Friday April 10, and Friday May 8. (FREE!)

Playdate en Français Bring your kids ages 5-10 and join us for games, crafts, and activities in a French immersion environment. We’ll supply some materials but feel free to bring your favorites to share!


About our Classes

  • Interactive: lessons use the rich context provided by stories, activities, and games to explore vocabulary, grammar, and culture
  • Immersive: 95% taught in French, using context, props, images, gestures, movement, tone of voice, cognates, and repetition to make the meaning clear (in other words, the way that children acquire their first language!)
  • Engaging: songs, games, crafts, books, storytelling, dancing, puppets….
  • Real-Life Communication: not memorizing lists of words
  • No previous exposure to French required


What to expect for your child:

  • First off, expect to have fun! Our interactive classes feel more like playing than like a traditional classroom.
  • For children ages 0-3, second language learning will be primarily receptive. Many children this age listen and watch intently as their brains assimilate the new sounds and make sense of the new language.
  • Children ages 4-5 will often repeat the words and phrases they are hearing, experimenting with the new language, and after a few lessons will likely sing along with us and even throw French words into their vocabulary outside of the classroom!
  • With repeated exposure, all children will begin to understand much of what is said to them. As their language immersion experience continues, they will be able to actively use the language at a basic entry level.
  • And of course, all the extra synapses provided by second language exposure are now established, activating new areas of the brain, giving your child a cognitive boost, and laying the groundwork for a bilingual or even multilingual future!


Why Learn French?

  • French is a melodious and romantic language with a relatively quick learning curve.
  • French provides the base for more than 35% of modern English vocabulary.
  • Discover a new appreciation for cultures in countries that speak French such as: France, Canada, Belgium, Switzerland, Monaco, areas of the Caribbean, South Pacific, and many African nations.
  • Students who have studied French earn higher scores on standardized tests (SAT/ACT/GRE/LSAT).
  • French is the third most common language on the Internet.
  • According to a national survey conducted in 2007-2008 by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), French was listed as the favorite language by high school students nationwide, followed by Italian and then Spanish.
  • French is the official language of 32 countries.
  • With French, students will be understood in more than 56 countries by more than 200 million people who use French in their daily lives.
  • In a listing of international jobs distributed by the U.S. State Department on August 25, 2008: 78 required or preferred French, 27 a UN language (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish), 17 Spanish, 10 Arabic, 5 Russian, 3 German, and 1 Chinese
  • French, along with English, is an official working language of the United Nations, UNESCO, NATO, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the International Labor Bureau, the International Olympic Committee, the 31-member Council of Europe, the European Community, the Universal Postal Union, the International Red Cross, and the Union of International Associations (UIA).
  • Click this link for source and even more great reasons!

Why Immersion?

  • To learn French in the same way that your child is learning the first language – by living in it, not by using flashcards and verb charts and lessons
  • To learn common, useful words and phrases in a natural, everyday context
  • To train your child’s ear and brain to decipher meaning, rather than waiting for someone to provide a translation
  • To increase your child’s ability to develop native-like pronunciation and fluency (the earlier, the better)
  • To maximize your child’s exposure to French and provide lots of input to absorb and respond to
  • To allow your child to play and explore in a fun, low-stress environment (kids tend to have lower inhibitions than adults and less fear of making mistakes when speaking)
  • To take advantage of your child’s evolving, growing brain, which boasts twice as many synapses as adult brains–use them or lose them!

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