MPA is proud of our long-running French program. We currently introduce French in the preschool and continue French exploratory classes through 4th grade. In 5th grade, students can choose to take French full-time and study the language through the rest of their education at Morgan Park Academy. Our teachers, Mandala and Madame Haskins, love sharing their expertise and enthusiasm for French and Francophone culture with their students. In the early years, Madame teaches basic skills and vocabulary through dance, song, rhyme and movement. In our full-year program, Madame and Mandala add reading and writing skills, conversation and cultural competency. Additionally, our teachers plan both local field trips and Project Week trips abroad (in the Middle and Upper School) to give students an opportunity to use the language outside of the classroom.  

DSC_0029xIt’s easy to understand why French has enjoyed such long-time popularity in World Language departments all over the country: it is one of the most-spoken languages in the world, with 220 speakers on 5 continents. It is one of the official languages of the United Nations, the European Union, NATO, and the Olympic Games, as well as many multinational companies. In addition to being one of the most spoken languages in the world, it is also the third most used language on the internet – ahead of Spanish!

This may surprise you, but students don’t necessarily need to leave the United States to put their French skills to work. Did you know that French is the 4th most common language spoken at home by Americans, after English, Spanish and Mandarin? Nearly 1.6 million people in the United States speak French as a first or second language, and the number of immigrants coming from French and French Creole-speaking countries is on the rise.

However, the reasons that students choose to study a language often have little to do with these statistics. Our students are attracted to French for a variety of personal reasons as well. Some are interested in the language’s connection to their cultural heritage. Others love the way it sounds.  Some are also drawn to French because of their interest in fashion, art, cuisine or travel.

We know that we are unique for a school of our size in that we are able to offer a choice of three languages to our students. We believe that by teaching French, along with Spanish and Mandarin, we are fulfilling our commitment to educating the global leaders of the future.

Sources and further reading:

  1. 10 good reasons for learning French
  2. A Big Advocate of French in New York’s Schools: France
  3. La Francophonie Official Website
  4. Why French Matters


By Lisa Camastro

Ms. Camastro teaches Spanish II, III, and IV in the Upper School and is our curriculum leader for World Languages. Read more in her Q&A.