My name is Anne McConnon. I moved to the USA from France about 17 years ago. At the time, I had taught French as a foreign language for 4 years in Glasgow University, Scotland, within a T.A.ship, followed by 1 year in Tours, Loire Valley, France, at a private school called 'CLE' for foreign students in immersion.
I have pursued graduate studies at both Glasgow University and Penn State where I taught French respectively for 4 and 6 years. In parallel, I have been giving private French classes to children (age 4 to 14) and adults since 2003. I also was awarded a first prize (Premier Prix de Conservatoire) in piano as I graduated from High School and have been teaching the piano to children and adults since then. I often integrate songs when I teach French.
I have 3 children, age 11, 9 and 7. I support and enjoy their bilingual development with fun activities such as singing French songs, playing vocabulary games, reading French books, watching French movies and spending part of the summer in France to visit our family there every year.
The children and I spent a whole school year (2013-2014) in France. They benefited greatly from their total immersion in the French culture, being enrolled in the French public school.
I always thought I would share all this material one day and create ‘une petite école’.
When my friend Stéphanie told me about her great project of creating the French Academy in State College, back in 2010, it inspired me right away. Stéphanie moved out of town a few years later and my other French friends Sylviane, Sophie and Marie joined the French Academy. Last year, Sophie and Marie both moved out of town too. Therefore, Sylviane and I are sharing the French academy classes this year. We are very happy to teach children about our native language and culture. We also enjoy teaching French to grown-ups with different methods, either didactic books or authentic documents from France, depending on their levels. We have a lot of material and we can easily tailor the class to individual needs, keeping it varied, fun and entertaining for everyone.
My name is Sylviane Allen. I came to the US in 1976 with my American husband who did his doctorate in philosophy at Penn State, and we raised our 3 children in State College, who are all grown ups now and live out west. I have 2 grand-children, a 5year old boy and a 2 year old girl.
I have been a co-owner, co-director and co-teacher at Childspace (a pre-school/day-care center where we teach children from ages 2 to 6) since 1994 but started working there in 1986. Our approach is open-structured and play-based, and a combination of different philosophies that over time have proved most developmentally appropriate, such as Reggio-Emilia (re: The Hundred Languages of Children), some Montessori, and Emergent Curriculum, which functions based on the expressed interests of the children, because we have found out that this is the way they enjoy best any learning experience:
I also developed a language program for the Music Academy of State College in 1991 and taught French to children age 4 to 10 for 5 years, mainly through songs, skits, fingerplays, games and TPR (the Total Physical Response method); I also gave parents the option of bringing in a tape recorder to tape some songs and vocabulary to listen to at home (my recommendation was 5 to 10 minutes every night as much as possible), and those who did it consistently learned faster and displayed maximum vocabulary retention and beautiful authentic accent.
I also worked as a teacher at the JCC (Jewish Community Center Nursery School) back in 1993-1994 in the morning while continuing to teach at Childspace in the afternoons.
I practically have had half a lifetime of experience teaching young children and still continue to enjoy doing so; I have observed over the years that this tender young age is the absolute best time to get them started with learning a new language (among other things), as they are genuinely curious, have no inhibition whatsoever and magically absorb it all like the little sponges that they are! -which never ceases to amaze me, as it is so easy and fun for them to learn at that point!
So come and share a new enriching and fascinating experience with us!
My name is Sophie de Fromont. I was born in Paris and moved to Lyon (south east of France) when I married Francois. We moved to State College, PA in 2002. We have 5 children between 5 years and 21 years of age. We speak French at home. The kids are bilingual.
Starting this Fall 2015, we are spending 2 years in Germany for my husband's career.
I have studied in French business schools in Paris and Lyon.
The family travels once a year either in the US or in France. It is a good way to show our kids their countries.
I love to craft: sawing, decorating, framing… I am really interested in History and French culture. Whenever I have the opportunity I enjoy talking about that with my students.
I have been tutoring in French ever since we moved here. Over those years, I had a great variety of students, from 6 to adult age. I created some games and books that help the children to be initiated to the language, it is very fun.
For older students: 10-17, I have been working with the Middle school and High school program. It is very useful for them, I can help right away with any problem they might
have at school. I helped several of them to prepare the AP French test.
For adults, I translate lectures and help them being comfortable whenever they travel in France. Some of them just want to have a French conversation, starting from an
article or a book; we have a nice and fun conversation.
I have known Anne and Sylviane for a long time now. We are good friends and we like to share our love for France and French culture. I met Marie a few months ago as she
joined our French circle and I had the pleasure to taste her delicious cuisine.
We feel we make a good, complementary team thanks to our individual skills: the French Academy can taylor classes for a wide range of students at different levels with a variety of goals in the French language.