When my husband and I started our family 14 years ago, we knew we wanted our kids to be bilingual. Being from Haiti originally, it is very important to us, as Francophones, for our children to be able to communicate with us and their grandparents in French.
Storytime en Français!
Gather is a charming whimsical, artsy play space that offers a variety of classes such as cooking, yoga, art and story times. A few times a year they partner with Language Stars and Pâtisserie Coralie for a morning of French culture.
Join my son and I this Saturday, May 21 at 10:30 a.m. for Storytime en Français. Regular rates apply. A event ticket includes an art project and a yummy treat.
Additionally, experts say children who begin learning language at a very early age will have better linguistics, better cultural enrichment, higher academic achievement and multiple cognitive benefits.
Alliance Française de Chicago helps to fulfill our language needs! From the minute you walk into the quaint courtyard, you immediately feel as if you are transported to France.
Anyone can speak French
Alliance Française offers classes for everyone, from toddlers to teenagers and even adults (both beginners and those that need to brush up).
My son, Olivier, attends the toddler class, which awakens kids’ senses through music, games, songs, dancing and storytelling. Oli loves to walk around singing “Frère Jacques” and “Sur le Pont d’Avignon,” which is music to my ears!
Alliance Française has a wonderful preschool program all year round. When you walk in, you feel like you’ve stepped into the pages of a Babar the Elephant book. The preschool walls are painted in bright red, green and blue and every space you enter, from the main classroom to the mini stage area, captures the imagination of a child.
I always use the summer as a time to immerse my kids en Français. During the school year, they are busy with all kinds of activities, all in English. I constantly find myself saying, “en Français” to force them to respond to us in French. Alliance Française has a great summer camp for kids ages 6-12. The program will help develop your child’s French language skills through art, music, field trips, group games, sports and cultural experiences.
My girls and I love to cook and bake. Alliance Française offers several cooking classes throughout the year. You can learn how to make a French classic crêpe (a household winner), galette and saumon et fondant au chocolat. Bon appétit!
Read to me
One of my favorite rooms in Alliance Française is The Library/La Médiathèque de L’Alliance Française. The children’s area isn’t big, but it is very charming. The books are arranged in a very thoughtful manner. Les petits livres are at eye level for my son to look at and they have a wide variety of classic French books such as Babar the Elephant and T’choupi, my son’s favorite.
Having French as a second language has helped my girls tremendously. They’ve always done well in spelling because many words in the English language have roots in French and they also have an advantage in ballet because all of the positions they learn are in French. My son is also beginning to understand both English and French equally.
L’ Alliance Française de Chicago is a gem that anyone who is interested in introducing their children to the French language and culture should visit.