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 activityDrawing from the Ministry of Education's guiding document, "How Does Learning Happen?", our pedagogy is based on four foundations: belonging, engagement, expression and well-being. A child who belongs, feels engaged, can express oneself and feels good, is a child who can learn and develop optimally. We view children as competent, capable of complex thinking, curious, and rich in potential, and, therefore, take our cue from the children in forming our curriculum. This "emergent curriculum" is play-based, but includes set learning objectives, such as target French vocabulary, and carefully chosen books, songs, and activities, that specifically reinforce these linguistic goals all the while developing knowledge of the topic at hand. At the heart of our programming is the child's global development: the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional aspects of learning. Through this guided curriculum, our preschoolers discover the essential skills for life-long learning. 


   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

A group of children engaged in an exerciseThe morning and afternoon programs share the same curriculum, but differ in approach. Our activities are designed to reflect each child’s stage of development. For example, a two-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 activity would allow the child to organize cutting, pasting and coloring all at once. One can expect greater attentiveness from afternoon students during circle time, and therefore longer spans of conversation and presentation from teachers. The program in general presents greater breadth and depth.  


The afternoon program, like the morning program, does not presuppose an understanding of French. Our curriculum spans a period from September to June, during which new skills are introduced progressively. Students may also enroll in the afternoon program just for the summer; indeed, we have had many students attend the school for a preliminary introduction to a French learning environment before starting French Immersion JK or SK.  


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.


   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.  Our program goal is to orient the  child in the world while providing a firm foundation in French and much play.

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