La Petite École - French language preschool

General Philosophy

Our general philosophy applies to both morning and afternoon programs.

   Children holding musical instruments are engaged in an activityOur philosophy is based on modern pedagogical theories derived from such sources as Maria Montessori, Célestin Freinet, and Ovide Decroly. Our curriculum combines the directives of the French National Education and Ontario Early Learning for Every Child Today (ELECT) programs. Our programs are designed to foster children’s self-esteem, independence and ability to socialize with peers. We aim to facilitate each child’s cognitive, fine motor and gross motor development at his or her natural pace.


   Learning French is at the heart of the LPE curriculum. At our school, language is not taught through grammar rules and vocabulary lists. We employ a para-verbal methodology where the child acquires new words, the meanings of which are clarified through use in familiar contexts. The child progressively absorbs the syntax of French. The communication between a child and staff is constant through free play, circle time and organized activities. Oral expression clearly enjoys a very important place in our school. This approach allows us to engage children at any level of French language proficiency.


   Two girls paintingWe recognize that children enter LPE at different stages in their development, and that they have different interests, abilities and learning styles. Our programs consist of many types of  activities, including "free play", dramatic play, arts and crafts, physical exercises, singing and reading. This variety allows us to keep children engaged as well as to satisfy different needs of individual students. Play is the defining aspect of the relationship between the child and the staff. We share the belief that "the child exists through play.  He or she does not play in order to learn, but learns through play"  (Jean Epstein, L'explorateur Nu).


   We believe that a good relationship between the school and the parents always lies at the base of a strong education. We keep a close personal contact with the parents of each child to maintain understanding and trust. Parents of prospective students are encouraged to make an appointment for a school visit, where they can learn about our facilities, talk about our pedagogy, meet the staff, ask questions and observe the atmosphere in the classroom. This visit will also give us an opportunity to learn about the child’s individual needs.


   Once the child joins our school, this conversation continues on a daily basis during our extended drop-off and pick-up times. Staff are always available to talk to parents about the progress of their children in the school. Once a month, parents are invited into the classroom for a goûter (snack) to experience the program and discuss student performance. Parents are also encouraged to make private appointments with the school’s director, to discuss the child’s progress and future steps. Through this dialogue we can identify the individual needs of each child and come up with a personalized approach.

Essential Information

The aim of our afternoon program is to provide children with French Immersion education at pre-JK and JK levels. It is designed to help children discover fundamental living skills and to foster their cognitive, emotional and social development. Our educational program is aimed towards building a strong base in early language skills, literacy, mathematics and aesthetics.



  • For ages 3 to 5
  • Runs from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
  • Drop-off time from 1:00 PM to 1:30 PM
  • Pick-up time from 3:45 PM to 4:00 PM
  • Available Monday through Friday
  • Available year-round
  • Children of all language backgrounds are welcome
  • Enrollment options from 2 to 5 days per week
Soulek is reading a book to a group of children

Specific Goals


   La Petite École provides the child with a firm foundation in French, and a very enjoyable first-school experience. In addition to providing children with a strong base in French language, we ensure that our students are well prepared for their subsequent education. Our curriculum facilitates development of skills in cognition, literacy, mathematics and aesthetics.

   A group of children engaged in an exerciseLa Petite École’s teaching methods are adapted to children's interests, abilities and language level. We deliver new skills through a variety of activities, including reading, writing, group discussion, singing, arts and crafts, physical exercise, and games. We maintain each child’s curiosity by observing their interests and reflecting them in our activities. To make the process of assimilating new information more efficient, every school activity is always incorporated into a larger theme that changes every two to three weeks (example). This makes it easier for children to make associations between a given activity and the new skill they learn. Most importantly, this ensures that things never get repetitive and boring.  

   La Petite École’s curriculum spans the period between September to June (with a separate summer program), during which new skills are introduced progressively. The goals of our educational program include development of the following abilities:


Early Language and Literacy:

La Petite École provides children with fundamental literacy skills, through three types of activities: work in  the sounds of spoken language, learning of the alphabet and basic notions of writing.  

Little boy playing ping pong

  • Ability to converse with teachers and peers
  • Knowledge of the alphabet
  • Understanding of phonemes
  • Ability to make connections between sound and print
  • Ability to write their own name and simple words
  • Ability to listen to and comprehend a story



  • Ability to count and have a sense of numbers
  • Ability to identify various shapes and patterns
  • Ability to estimate and compare quantities
  • Knowledge of times of the day, days of the week and seasons


Social and Emotional Development:

  • Ability to work independently and within a group
  • Ability to take initiative and gain self-confidence
  • Ability to interact with peers in a positive manner
  • Ability to follow and respect the routines and rules of the classroom


   In addition to developing the academic skills listed above, children participate in activities that develop their imagination, aesthetics and general understanding of the world.
During our daily arts and crafts projects children collaborate to create pieces and illustrations that reflect the current theme. Children create large art pieces that later decorate the school or create smaller pieces that they can use during our "show-and-tell" and take home afterwards.


   Our activities are designed to reflect each child’s stage of development. For example, a three-and-half-year old who is learning to cut, paste and color needs an art activity that allows him or her to concentrate on just one of those skills at a time. A five-year-old needs an art activity that challenges him or her to organize cutting, pasting and coloring all at once. A large portion of activities at LPE help children discover fundamental knowledge of the workings of the world through hands-on experiences. For example, children learn about living versus non-living matter, days versus nights, color-mixing, human senses and world geography.

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