French immersion school gives student unique insight

Courtney Woodworth

Courtney Woodworth, Staff Photographer

You board the bus to go on a field trip without knowing what to expect.
Speaking French is required.
You arrive at your destination–a rather large brick building–and walk through the door.
Bienvenue à Académie Lafayette.
Welcome to Academy Lafayette–a French immersion school in the Kansas City area.
French teach Carol Bar said Académie Lafayette provides an authentic experience for students because they must utilize their knowledge of the language in public.
The French 3 & 3.5 class went to Académie Lafayette to read younger children fables that they wrote and designed in a three-week period during class.
I was part of the group that went and I was so impressed by everyone at that school.
The first graders spoke French better than me– I’m pretty sure even the kindergartners spoke more fluently than me.
It was incredible to converse with the kids and teachers in French — even more so that I was actually using French outside the classroom.
We presented our stories to students from kindergarten to fifth grade, and were able to observe some of the classes learning as well.
I witnessed first graders do math, sing and ask questions all in French.
The kindergartners listened to our stories and asked engaging questions.
Some sixth graders hung out with us while we ate lunch and gave us insight about going to an immersion school; you can only enter in kindergarten, so you end up becoming really close with the people around you.
They were all so amazing.
Granted, it was not easy.
I spent the day translating French to English in my head.
There were times I stumbled through conversations because I didn’t know what to say.
However, the teachers were very helpful and made sure we felt welcome.
One even joked around with us as we watched her teach her class.
This field trip to Académie Lafayette was simply incredible. It’s very difficult to describe it because I was thinking in French the whole day.
This whole experience makes me wish my parents put me in an immersion school.
I know I will never forget it.