The PYP French Team at ISL

There are eight teachers, from Early Years to Year 6, in the Primary French Team.
Early Years learners (R3, R4) have four hours and forty minutes of French time every week. From Y1 to Y6, students benefit from three hours and twenty minutes of French every week. French levels range from beginners to proficient speakers. French in the Early Years has an immersive approach: the French teachers join the students’ homeroom every day. There are four levels of French in Year 2, 3, 4 and five levels in Year 5 and Year 6.

In line with the school’s Missions and Aims

The teaching of French at ISL is tied to the school’s Missions and Aims. The French Primary teachers strive to recognise the unique potential of each student, and to equip them to play an active and responsible role in a complex, multicultural world.
For instance, in Year 4, students organise a garage sale for the Swiss NGO “Terre des Hommes.” Through such service and action projects, the children exercise agency in their own learning.

A tie with the local community

The French department provides a link between the school and local life. The teaching of French equips the students for everyday situations and during extra-curricular activities. The curriculum enables them to develop their comprehension of the French language during field trips organised as part of the units of inquiry. For instance in Year 2 students went to visit a puppet theatre (Le théâtre des lutins) as part of their unit of inquiry on story-telling.

Moreover, the French team strives to develop links with the local schools. A local school recently joined ISL for activities around Art Week (Article: Aux 4 coins du Mont)

Close collaboration with the homeroom teachers

The French team and the homeroom teachers collaborate to promote the school’s approach to global citizenship with the students.
The French teachers align their curriculum with the units of inquiry and integrate part of the taught content in their French classes. The French teachers align with some of the homeroom language goals. For example, students write a personal narrative both in French and in English classes.
Also, homeroom and French teachers co-teach in partnership lessons. For instance in Y5, homeroom and French teachers co-teach the line of inquiry “What forces affect us” and students explore possible natural disasters in Switzerland.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Primary French Department

Where can I find what my child is learning in French and how can I support my child’s learning?
All the information and resources required to support the students are centralised on our French website (see homeroom’s Monday Update email). You will also find extra French activities in Math, Science, Social Studies… Encourage your child to take French books out of the library. Do not hesitate to contact your child’s French teacher if you need more information.
How many French books can my child take out of the library?
Your child can borrow a French book every time they have Library borrowing with their homeroom teacher, or they go to the library with their French teacher. This book is not counted in the total number of other books they can borrow.
How many minutes of French does my child have each week?
R3 and R4 students have 280 minutes a week.
From Y1 to Y6, students have 200 minutes of French a week, in 40, 60 or 80 minute blocks.
How many French levels are there in each cohort?
French levels are from beginners to proficient learners
In Early Childhood (R3, R4, Year 1), French is taught in the homerooms every day by a French teacher, aiming to have an immersion approach to the acquisition of language. Moving up, there are 3 levelled groups in Year 2, Year 3, Year 4 and Year 5 and 4 groups in Year 6.
How are students streamed? How are the Placement Assistant Booklets (PABs) determined?
Two aspects are considered to place students in a French group at ISL.

The first is a year-long teacher observation of the students’ work in class, both in their fluency, oral comprehension and writing skills.

The second is the completion of a booklet in the Spring. This booklet is what we call the PAB: Placement Assistant Booklet. The PAB enables the child to demonstrate competencies in all strands of language acquisition, which is both written and oral comprehension and expression.

Those four strands are assessed in a progressive way from a beginner to proficient, to place each student in the best group.
How is a French lesson structured, what is taught?
The teaching method is global and the teacher uses an array of teaching methods, from collaborative work with the Homeroom teachers, PYP integration and partnerships aligned with the Unit of Inquiry.
Who can I contact to discuss my child’s progress?
You can contact your child’s French teacher.
How is the French curriculum created?
The Primary French Team creates the curriculum from a variety of resources. On the one hand, the team ensures the curriculum follows the homeroom units of inquiry, by integrating some of the language objectives and taking into account the other subjects taught. On the other hand, to determine the curriculum for the most advanced groups, the teachers focus on what is taught in the mainstream francophone schools with the support of francophone textbooks (Switzerland, Belgium, Canada, France …). Furthermore, depending on the level taught, teachers might opt for French as a Foreign Language textbooks to support their curriculum. Finally, the teachers create their own resources to support the level taught.
Where can I find local activities for my child?
Local activities can be found on the site: Do not hesitate to contact your child’s French teacher or your Administration Communale if you need more information.
How is the Primary to Secondary transition organised.
The primary and secondary teachers designed placement booklets (PABs: Placement Assistant Booklets) that Year 6 students take in the Spring.

Those PABs give the teachers an indication as to which French MYP phase the Y6 students will join. The primary and secondary departments collaborate at the end of the school year and re-adjust French groups so as to ensure the best possible transitions for each student.
Are there French ASAs?
There is a selection of ASA in French. Those are led by internal and external ASA leaders. Here are a few examples: cooking, knitting, film club and art activities. ISL is proactive and wishes to develop these francophone activities.
Can my child benefit from extra French lessons at ISL?
If your child is a native French speaker and speaks French with at least one parent at home, they would be eligible to take home language lessons. You can find more information about this on the Parent Portal in the Home Language section.
Can my child benefit from French tutoring at home?
ISL provides educational support that is sufficient for the vast majority of students, however the School recognises that in a small number of cases individual help from a tutor may be helpful.
Are there French tests and grades in the primary?
Following the IB PYP framework, there is no official testing in the primary. The teachers rely on their own data and observation, and also the PABs.
Are there external tests (such as MAP and ISA) conducted for French in the primary?
Those types of tests are not conducted at ISL for French.
What are the results at ISL for francophone students who take the bilingual Diploma?
In 2021, 38% IB DP graduates obtained a bilingual diploma. The vast majority (over 90%) of these bilingual diplomas are French-English bilingual diplomas. Additionally, on average 12% of graduates attend local universities such as UNIL or EPFL in Swiss Romande.
What are the possibilities for my child to join a French-speaking Swiss university with an IB diploma?
On the Swissuniversity website you will find the necessary information regarding the number of points required to join a French-speaking local course.