Providing children with a sound start gives them the skills they need to grow academically and socially and prepares them for secondary education. The Lycée Français de New York offers the fundamental building blocks children need through our Lower School which includes Cycle I, II and III programs.

Early Childhood Program

Early learners have great energy, enthusiasm and ability. The Lycée’s goal is to channel these attributes into skills that will serve children throughout their learning career and beyond. Accordingly, in the Early Childhood Program (‘l’école maternelle’), which includes Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten levels, a team of French and American teachers do more than prepare the students for the work they will do in Elementary school—they also help them with socialization skills, learning to express themselves in a manner appropriate to the time and place, and learning to understand the consequences of their actions. Half of all instruction is in English, half in French, starting children on the bilingual path that will become a hallmark of their education at the Lycée.

The Pre-K Immersion Program

The Lycée Français de New York offers a French Immersion Program for pre-kindergarten candidates. The program is designed for children with very little or no knowledge of the French language. The goal of the program is to prepare non-French speaking students to integrate the following year into the regular program.


In the full immersion program, 80% of instruction is conducted in French with progressive immersion based on systematic exercises. 20% of class is conducted in English to reinforce native language skills.
Immersion teachers are aware that in their first year, the students will not understand everything they hear. They use body language, visual cues, manipulatives, exaggerated facial expressions, and expressive intonation to communicate meaning.
It is common for immersion students to speak English with their peers and when responding to the teacher. As the year progresses, students naturally use more of the French language. To draw students into using the language, teachers often use songs, useful phrases, and rhymes. They also carefully structure the day with familiar routines.
Each class is led by a certified French teacher and a certified English teacher, and supported by an assistant.
The program has a limited enrollment of 15 students per class to promote individualized instruction for each student.


Every child applying to the Lycée Français pre-kindergarten French Immersion Program is evaluated. The process includes an initial linguistic evaluation and skills assessment.


The long-range goals of our French Immersion Program include:

  • Developing a high level of proficiency in French while gaining skills and knowledge in the content areas of the curriculum
  • Developing positive attitudes toward those who speak the French language and toward diverse cultures
  • Developing English language skills commensurate with the expectations for the student’s age and abilities
Cycle I Preschool Learning

Preschool is part of Cycle I, the cycle of first learning. It is called this not because it happens first chronologically but rather because it helps to demonstrate to children that learning is a life-long process. Through a variety of fun and academic activities, the child who goes to Preschool progressively becomes a student. The main objective of this division is the acquisition of a thoughtful, organized and understandable language.  Native French and English speaking teachers work cooperatively to provide a language-rich environment and experiences in both cultures in preparation for the Elementary grades. Once your child has been admitted to the school, the Lycée expects the families to support their child’s language learning. A respectful partnership with the school is essential to a child’s success as a student. 

Social growth is also an important aspect of Cycle I. In the Preschool, we extend the child’s world beyond the home and offer opportunities to interact with peers through discovery, free or guided activities, play, and rich and varied exercises that contribute to developing their personality and their discovery of the world around them.

At the Lycée, your child establishes relationships with other children as well as with adults – and benefits from a class size limited to 23 students. They are encouraged to explore their emotions and develop social skills through small and whole group interactions. Students gain motor and sensory skills by participating in music and movement classes, in addition to classroom activities such as cooking, painting, modeling, and pre-writing. The Preschool supports each child’s individual development by responding to their needs and nurturing success. Our goal is to work with Preschool families to help children become autonomous and respectful as well as to facilitate the learning of the academic subjects.

For further information on our Preschool curriculum, click here.   

Pre-Kindergarten Immersion Program

Additionally, for non-French speaking students, the Lycée offers a Pre-Kindergarten French language immersion program. Children are in a class of 15-17 students, with instruction provided by a native French teacher in French with the exception of one hour a day of English language arts taught by an American teacher. After one year, the children integrate into regular Lycée Kindergarten classes with French and English programs.

Cycle II Primary School

Cycle II continues into 1st Grade (CP), 2nd Grade (CE1) and 3rd Grade (CE2). From 1st Grade onward (‘l’école élémentaire’), students are familiar enough with the language to receive their primary instruction in French. During this cycle of fundamental learning, students are encouraged to become more autonomous – to ask questions and to try to answer them by using the methods they learn in class.

Cycle II Elementary School Learning

The primary objectives of 1st, 2nd and 3rd Grades are the learning of reading, writing and speaking of French, and the knowledge and understanding of numbers, including how to write numbers and how to calculate small quantities. At the end of 2nd Grade, students have acquired a basic mastery of these skills as well as addition and subtraction techniques.

The ongoing learning of methods and processes in French and mathematics is included in all activities. Additionally, a student’s Lycée education is rounded-out with introductions to a variety of core subject areas. The first historical and civic reflections guarantee a much-needed openness to the world and grounds for a culture that is common to all students. Artistic education fosters student expression and direct contact with art works in the perspective of a first insight into art history. Workshops in science and other disciplines are organized both within and between the Primary and Secondary levels to facilitate interaction between students, considered key to the process of receiving knowledge.

Collectively, these subjects contribute to the acquisition of a common base of knowledge and competencies, while teachers constantly support and shape the experience by evaluating the quality of work, the capacity for self control, and the overall ability with educational tools.

Cycle III Primary School

Cycle III, the second of the two phases of Primary School, carries through 4th Grade (CM1) and 5th Grade (CM2). During this Cycle, students are taught to complete the base of knowledge and competencies gained in Cycle II. This is catalyzed by the addition of new subject areas to the core of language and mathematics. 

Cycle III Elementary School Learning

4th Grades’ primary objectives are the command of French and the main elements of mathematics, which continue the goals of Cycles I and II. In addition, literature, geography, history, experimental sciences and technology are taught in all Cycle III grades, expanding the students’ knowledge base and extending their aptitude. The use of IT tools in various school activities increases as part of the certificate in Internet and Information Systems.

Autonomy, reflection, observation, and creative imagination, universally considered conditions for success at school, are encouraged in all domains. These skills allow each student to gain self-confidence and increase learning proficiency – tools that will serve them well at the Lycée, particularly as they prepare themselves to make the transition to Middle School successfully.

Department of English – Primary

Though the French tradition is integral to the overall curriculum at the Lycée, English is by no means forgotten. The English curriculum at the Primary School is driven by the challenge of teaching students who are acquiring reading, writing, speaking and listening skills in two languages, and its goal is to create an environment that is both nurturing and inspiring in which to explore the English language. In addition to reading fiction in English, students study American history, read about and discuss current events, and develop research skills. They become effective creative and expository writers and careful and analytical readers; they are well prepared for the rigorous curriculum they will follow at the Secondary Level.


Academics - Curriculum - Primary