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Early Childhood

Fostering all aspects of your child's development 

Our early childhood education fosters students’ growth across all areas of early development and learning, keeping French language acquisition at the core of all we do. Carefully planned learning experiences target children’s individual needs and interests, in the areas of language development, social-emotional competence, early literacy, early numeracy, scientific exploration, gross and fine motor skills, health and well-being, and artistic appreciation and expression.

Early Learning and Child Care Grant Eligibility

CFIS preschool and junior kindergarten programs are licensed under the Childcare Licensing Act in Alberta and allow all families with little ones to benefit from the current childcare grants and subsidies. The Canada–Alberta Early Learning and Child Care Agreement, announced in November 2021, applies to CFIS junior preschool, preschool and junior kindergarten students. This means that families are eligible for grant funding, and can be part of CFIS' play-based, emergent curriculum while they learn French.

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Grade-levels 

NEW Junior Preschool (Toddler Program)

Beginning in September 2023, toddlers aged 19-35 months, can now be part of Calgary French & International School’s French immersion learning environment. Like all the programs in CFIS's Early Childhood Division, Junior Preschool will be in a developmentally-appropriate program, aligned with current research on early learning, particularly language acquisition. For children in this youngest age group, this includes:

  • Lots of child-led play, with room for children's own voices and choices; developing critical social-emotional competencies and self-efficacy.

  • Daily outdoor time, to build the sensory and motor skills that are essential to healthy development and later academic competency;

  • A classroom environment that includes opportunities for artistic, sensorial, social, and cognitive exploration;

  • Rich experiences with the French language, including songs, rhymes, and fingerplays;

  • Weekly visits from our early childhood music specialist, for music and movement activities;

  • Weekly storytime in our elementary learning commons, with our library team;

  • Access to our indoor gross motor space, for games, obstacle courses, and exploration;

  • A "pedagogy of care" approach, where learning is embedded in daily interactions with warm, caring, responsive educators.

Preschool

Preschool at CFIS is a play-based program where students begin to acquire French-language skills, in either full-day or half-day morning classes. It is an educationally-based program that is licensed under the Alberta Childcare Licensing Act. To attend preschool at CFIS, students must be 3 years old by December 31 of that school year and fully toilet trained. Please note that while a placement may be secured for the entire year, a student may only begin attending after their 3rd birthday.

Junior Kindergarten

To attend Junior Kindergarten at CFIS, students must be four years old by December 31 of that school year and need not have any French language skills. Similar to CFIS Preschool programming, our Junior Kindergarten classes are offered for full days and half-day mornings, and are licensed under the Alberta Childcare Licensing Act. Junior Kindergarten at CFIS is an enriched and well-rounded program that prepares students for success in our full French immersion Kindergarten classes.

Kindergarten

To attend Kindergarten at CFIS, students must be five years old by December 31 of that school year and need not have any French language skills. The program is full-day only, offering our students opportunities for academic instruction balanced with exploration and play. This French immersion experience enables students to build their language and confidence to move into our full French immersion Elementary classes. 

In our Early Childhood Education Division (ECE) we:

  • Offer an integrated, multi-disciplinary approach to early French immersion education

  • Emphasize internationalism and character development

  • Provide meaningful interactions with people and objects

  • Encourage leadership development

  • Create an environment full of happiness and joy

  • Employ research-based pedagogy 

  • Follow a play-based, emergent-curriculum model

  • Strive to balance physical, intellectual and emotional learning

  • Observe and document each child’s progress during authentic play-based tasks

  • Offer music, visual arts, and physical education classes with dedicated specialist teachers

  • Communicate intentionally and regularly with parents

  • Include hands-on learning through field trips and invited classroom guests

Our ECE programming includes a variety of program options:

  • Preschool: half-day (morning 8:30-11:30AM) and full-day (8:30AM-3:30PM) programs

  • Junior Kindergarten: half-day (morning 8:30-11:30AM) and full-day (8:30AM-3:30PM) programs.

  • Multi-age full-day program for three and four year olds

  • Kindergarten: full-day program

  • Before- and after-school care (additional fees)

International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme

The Primary Years Programme (PYP) of the International Baccalaureate (IB) is an exciting approach to student learning that encourages children to develop their critical thinking through inspired curiosity and wonder. The PYP is an authentic, inquiry-based learning and teaching programme that is engaging, challenging, and relevant. It promotes students’ learning by inquiry and reflecting on their own learning. PYP students develop knowledge, conceptual understandings, and skills to make a difference in their own lives and their communities, and beyond.

Calgary French & International School is a candidate school for the Primary Years Programme*. CFIS is pursuing authorization as an IB World School to be part of a network of schools that share a common philosophy — a commitment to high-quality, challenging, international education that CFIS believes is important for our students. *Only schools authorized by the IB Organization can offer any of its four academic programmes: the Primary Years Programme (PYP), the Middle Years Programme (MYP), the Diploma Programme, or the Career-related Programme (CP). Candidate status gives no guarantee that authorization will be granted. For further information about the IB and its programmes, visit www.ibo.org.

Learn more about our Early Childhood emergent curriculum learning environment here