Foundation for a Strong Future

At the Lycée Français de Chicago, students engage in bilingual education that challenges, sparks imagination and builds confidence.

Mercure, Vénus, Terre (Lune), Mars, Jupiter, Saturne, Uranus, Neptune…

During a recent free-choice morning at school, kindergartners at the Lycée Français de Chicago, the French International School in Chicago’s Ravenswood neighborhood, challenged themselves to arrange planet magnets in order, working together to successfully complete the task.

Pre-elementary at the Lycée is a busy, colorful world. Students learn language, STEAM and self-expression through play, art, music, cooking and other fun hands-on activities. Self-guidance and positive reinforcement are foundational to the early years at this bilingual immersion school.

“Each day, our pre-kindergarten, junior kindergarten and kindergarten students are encouraged to help direct their own progress,” says Pascal Léon, Director of Primary School at the Lycée, which offers a 15-year educational journey, from the year students turn 3 years old through 12th grade.

“Our first priority during those early years is to empower students. We want to ignite in them the desire to come to school and learn,” Léon says.

The power of dragons

Photo provided by Lycée Français de Chicago

A few years ago, pre-elementary teachers at the Lycée worked together to bring technology into the classroom in a focused way, using an application called Je valide (“I did it!”) to involve students in tracking their own achievements, with huge success.

“We wanted to find a way to make students more active participants in their education, something that builds pride and teaches self-management skills,” says Léon. “With the app Je valide, students get to check off their new skills, which allows them to celebrate their milestones with their teacher.”

And, of course, as extra motivation, they get to grow a dragon.

Each year, students are given more than 60 possible skills to learn. They memorize songs, put together puzzles, work on counting skills, tell stories, write their names in cursive, participate in cooperative games and learn to respect others and follow directions. With each skill the students master and check off their lists, they get to see their digital dragons break out of their eggs and grow.

“It is amazing to witness the students grow their confidence and become active participants in their education,” says Léon.

A unique, bilingual education

The pre-elementary activities center on cultivating language skills and character development to prepare students for the Lycée’s rigorous bilingual curriculum in elementary school and beyond. Because Lycée teachers weave expert language instruction throughout the pre-elementary program in innovative ways, students build language confidence quickly.

Throughout their educational experiences, students at the Lycée obtain outstanding academic results, become bilingual and prepare to attend top universities around the world.

Learn more about the Lycée Français de Chicago by attending its November 6 Open House or reaching out to its admissions team at Find out about the pre-K to grade 12 educational journey and the dual-language curriculum where previous knowledge of the French language is only required for grades four to eight.

Experience the inclusive, multicultural community that makes the Lycée so special, and find out about the English-based International Baccalaureate and the French-based French Baccalaureate curricula. Additional language options include German, Spanish and Mandarin.

Discover why study abroad opportunities and class trips help students gain a global perspective and how athletics, afterschool classes and summer camps build a strong educational community that students and families love. Financial aid opportunities are available, too.

Find out more about the Lycée Français de Chicago at

Chicago Parent Editorial Team
Chicago Parent Editorial Team
Since 1984, the Chicago Parent editorial team is trained to be the go-to source for Chicagoland families, offering a rich blend of expert advice, compelling stories, and the top local activities for kids. Renowned for their award-winning content, the team of editors and writers are dedicated to enriching family life by connecting parents with the finest resources and experiences our community has to offer.


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