Colorado French for Kids

Want to find opportunities for your children to speak French in the Denver-Boulder area?  Here's what I know of:

NEW!  Fun with French, an interactive immersion class for ages 0-5 taught entirely in French at Grandrabbit's Play! in Boulder, using games, crafts, books, songs, and movement to convey meaning (in other words, the same way you learned your first language); the teachers are moi and my friend Carol from A French American Life

Update, March 2015; Grandrabbit's Play is closing, but there is talk of opening something similar in a different location, so stay tuned

Boulder County Fun with French, my Meetup.com group that disseminates information about playdates and other French events and classes for kids

French playgroup for ages 5-10 once a month at Lafayette Public Library, featuring board games, crafts, and other interactive activities to encourage children to speak French with each other; meets the fourth Sunday of most months (check the library calendar to be sure) from 2:00-4:00

Gwyneth learning to walk in the courtyard at Parenting Place
Parenting Place, a nonprofit parenting resource center in downtown Boulder, offering a drop-in unfacilitated French playgroup on Monday mornings, 10:00-11:30 am, $3 suggested donation (or Parenting Place membership), French fluency recommended (playgroups in other languages also available!)

***update: As of fall 2013, Parenting Place is closed.  No more playgroups.  I'm so disappointed!

Parenting Place French playgroup
Alliance Francaise of Denver, a nonprofit organization for the promotion of French, with classes taught by native speakers for children and adults (designed for those learning French as a second language, not for those who already speak it at home); they also offer occasional parents' night out events for kids and storytimes in French at the Denver Children's Museum

Parenting Place
The Language of Food, French cooking classes for children and summer day camps in Boulder; the owner will also be opening a French immersion preschool in Boulder in Fall 2015

Parenting Place
French with Veronique (classes for ages 0-5, held Wednesday mornings at WOW! Children's Museum in Lafayette, taught by a native French speaker who is not a trained teacher); Griffin attended several sessions of this as a two- and three-year-old; it's better suited to kids who haven't been learning French at home already

Summer French camp at Boulder Country Day School (three hours/day for five days, ages ~5-10, taught by BCDS's French teacher); Griffin attended this in 2013 and I was very impressed with the variety of activities--fun but educational, including reading and writing practice

Griffin, Gwyneth, and Grammy playing pétanque on vacation in France
Summer French culture class through Boulder Valley School District Lifelong Learning program (three hours/day for five days, ages 7-12, taught by a native French speaker who is not a trained teacher); Griffin attended this in 2014 and I was underwhelmed, especially considering the cost of the class; they met at a table in a school hallway, played pétanque every day, learned isolated vocabulary words, and had a lot of unstructured time in English on the playground

Summer Immersion French Camp at Dawson School (a private school in Lafayette), one week in summer 2015, includes lunch and swimming, 8:30-4:00; I don't know anyone who has attended this or how established it is

Summer French Camp at Colorado International School (a private school in Denver), a two-week-long day camp for preK-4th grade (unlike the other camps listed here, which start at around age 6); last year, the program director explained to a friend that the camp isn't actually immersion, because they get so many students who don't know French (don't get me started on this idea--a good teacher can teach a language without needing to speak English to do so)

Mamans and Papas and Me, a meetup.com group based in Lone Tree, offering a weekly playdate with arts and crafts, ages 0-4, French fluency not required

And don't forget about the free library French storytimes in Lafayette, Louisville, and Boulder!

6 comments:

  1. Wow! I'm so impressed by the number of resources available in the Boulder, CO area for French language immersion for children. I'm an expectant single mom of a dual-citizenship baby in Nashville, TN. The father will be involved, but there is only so much that can occur through Skype, phone, etc., that will greatly impact my baby's French acquisition. Your website is a godsend; it definitely helps me to stay focused on my goal when my son will not be by his father's side. I wish that there were resources like these in Nashville. In the meantime, I will follow the advice on here and see how far I get with my soon to arrive little one's bilingual education.


    M

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    1. Welcome to "Baby Bilingual" and congratulations on your pregnancy, M! Have you checked meetup.com to see if there are any Francophone playgroups in your area that you could join? What about classes at the Alliance Francaise (surely there's one somewhere in Tennessee, if not in Nashville itself)?

      Keep in touch, bonne chance, and bon courage!

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  2. Hello my name is Emily Auck. I find your blogs WONDERFUL!! and very informative. Could you provide me information where I can find classes or interactive french groups, for ages 0-5, entirely in French? Unfortunately, Grand Rabbit's Play in Boulder has been closed since March.
    Thanks!

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    1. Thanks, Emily! Unfortunately, I only know of the classes, camps, and storytimes/playdates mentioned above. When my daughter starts kindergarten in the fall, though, I may try offering French immersion classes again. Please join the "Boulder County Fun With French" meetup group in the meantime! http://www.meetup.com/Boulder-County-Fun-with-French/

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  3. I know there are elementary schools in south Denver and Aurora that do French immersion, but do you know of any in the north Metro/Boulder county area?

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    1. Alas, no. I've heard of some private preschools and elementary schools that include some instruction in French (Boulder Country Day School, a couple of Montessoris), but no immersion elementary programs between Denver and Fort Collins (FC has a Global Village Academy charter school campus that offers French immersion preschool and elementary).

      Why don't you join our meetup group, Boulder County Fun With French, for announcements about all the other immersion activities that I can find? It's better than nothing! http://www.meetup.com/Boulder-County-Fun-with-French/

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