Speaking a foreign language is part of the Academy experience – but unlike at some schools, it starts the first time your child enters the school. Whether a child enrolls in the Early School or in the Lower School, every student attends French class. By the time they reach fifth grade, they can switch to, or add, another language. The advantages of starting a language early are numerous and include many improved cognitive abilities, including memory, creativity and critical thinking.
The language has a history at GPA dating to its origins as the Academy of the Sacred Heart. The founder of the order, Madeleine-Sophie Barat, was born in France in 1779.
Many French traditions become part of the Academy, vernacular, including “très bien” citations received for good behavior and good work, the “goûter” daily snack, and of course, French instruction starting in first grade and continuing all the way through graduation.
French is Detroit
French explorers led by Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac founded Detroit in 1701. Students learn about the French ribbon farms along Lake St. Clair in modern day Grosse Pointe, and today’s residents still travel and live on streets dotted with French names including Charlevoix, Cadieux, Beaufait and Vernier.
French the World Over
French is one of the very few languages spoken all over the world, ranked the sixth most widely spoken language with approximately 220 million speakers worldwide – and that number is expected to grow to over 700 million by 2050. French, along with English, is taught as a foreign language in the education systems of most countries around the world.
Set your Sights on the City of Lights
Starting in the earliest years students at the Academy see photos of upperclassmen in France. Every other year, seventh and eighth graders have the opportunity to visit France and other European cities guided by French teachers Amal El-Hosni and Claudia Leslie, who was raised in French-speaking Switzerland. A group is preparing to leave in March 2018!