March 18th, 2021

Bonjour,

Last year, many schools in Maine, including L'Ecole Française du Maine, closed for in-person learning during this week. Facing this strange and somber anniversary and having made it through an entire year together, we gratefully reflect on all of the hard work, sacrifices, and dutiful commitment of our school community put forth to keep one another safe while providing a place for our students to learn and play. As we continue on the road ahead, we are happy to report that most of our staff have received partial vaccination. We look forward to continued care and consideration for one another being the key to another successful and safe year to come. Merci beaucoup!!

Updates, including new effective exemptions to our travel and gathering policy are detailed below. Please be sure to familiarize yourself with these new policies and reach out with any questions or clarifications if necessary.

We hope you enjoyed the chance to check-in virtually with your students' teachers last week during Parent-Teacher Conferences. If you were unable to attend your meeting due to technical difficulties, please check-in with Emily, who will schedule a time for you to meet with your student's teacher for a brief conversation.

Also included below, a quick glimpse for those who like a plan ahead-- a change for 2021-2022 in how you may enroll and pay for garderie (regular before & aftercare services!)

Enrollment for Summer Camp 2021 is open at this time. As you plan your summer vacations, be sure to keep L'Ecole in mind! Camp days have French activities in the morning, with crafts and games throughout the afternoon. The camp will take place outdoors as much as possible on our expansive playground, shady forest, and beneath the learning tent behind La Maison. For more info and to enroll for a week (or two or ten!), be sure to check out the newly updated website.

As always, please reach out to Emily in the office with any questions: office@frenchschool.me
Planning Ahead? A look to garderie in 2021-2022...
If you have already enrolled for the 2021-2022 school year and intend to be a frequent user of our garderie program (before and aftercare) take a look at the following form for prepayment options.

Recognizing that working families require consistent aftercare, L'Ecole Française du Maine will begin offering a 25% discounted rate for full-time prepaid garderie enrollment starting in the 2021-2022 school year. We intend to help families who depend on their child's regular attendance in extended day hours all through the school year. This discounted rate does not replace the "a la carte" hourly option, which is still available if preferred. The $10/hr "a la carte" option for aftercare is billed monthly and does not require prepayment. We do appreciate advance notice if possible if your child requires extended day services, but we understand sometimes the need arises unexpectedly. Follow this link to read more details and see the various options that may cover any need!
UPDATED Travel / Gathering Policy
We are pleased to report that most of the staff at school are now partially vaccinated! Although it may feel like we are turning a corner when it comes to the pandemic, we want to urge all community members to remain cautious and perform their due diligence to maintain the safety of our school at large. As we sadly observe the first anniversary of the pandemic in Maine, we would like all families to be reminded of our Community Pledge.

The current protocols will remain for anyone traveling/gathering outside of their household (traveling/gathering is strongly discouraged).

  • Families and staff who avoid travel and stay within pods using safety measures such as distancing/masking may continue to attend school without quarantine or testing.

  • Families and staff who choose to travel and/or mix with those outside their household (visiting or hosting) must do one of the following to return to school:
  1. Get a PCR test on the 5th day following your return from travel or your last day of mixing and return with a negative result.
  2. Quarantine 10 days following your return from travel or your last day of mixing. (This has been revised from the original 14-day quarantine recommendation to be per the most recent CDC and Maine CDC guidelines)

Although current state policy deems a few select states as being exempt, our school policy will now be that any family who travels to meet with or hosts anyone from outside their immediate household/pod will be required to perform a 5-day quarantine post-travel/exposure, followed by a negative PCR test to return to school. Given the degree of community spread of coronavirus in Maine, we can no longer travel outside the state as the determining factor.

If opting to travel, it is recommended you schedule travel-related testing as soon as possible to ensure a safe and timely return to school. If you have any questions regarding how your family plans match these protocols, please do not hesitate to ask us - preferably before you travel/gather.

NEW EXEMPTIONS effective immediately:
  • Families that travel to Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, or Vermont AND DO NOT mix with other households.
  • Interactions with family members that recently had COVID-19 (within 3 months) or have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (2 weeks after the final vaccine), regardless of their state of origin from the test or quarantine requirement. 

Distancing and masking:
As a Maine Licensed Childcare Center, we follow the directives of the CDC and Maine CDC. Current rules recommend mask wearing for all children ages 2 to 4 and mandate masks for children ages 5 and over. These are the current rules, but we do expect they will evolve. As soon as the CDC/Maine CDC and/or our Medical Advisors' recommendations relax the guidelines, we will update our mask policy.

Maine Adopts Age-Based Approach to COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility 
The State of Maine has updated its vaccination plan to reflect emerging science, progress in vaccinating its oldest residents, and increasing vaccine supply. The planned schedule, which is subject to change depending on fluctuations in vaccine supply, including an acceleration if supply increases, is as follows:

  • March: Eligibility to all school and childcare staff
  • April: Eligibility expands to age 50 and older 
  • May: Eligibility expands to age 40 and older 
  • June: Eligibility expands to age 30 and older 
  • July and beyond: Eligibility expands to ages 29 and under, including youth and children pending authorization of age-appropriate vaccines 

These protocols were developed and revised by Dr. Gaetane Michaud, MD, Pulmonary Critical Care, USF Tampa, and parent at the French American School of Tampa Bay and by parents at l'Ecole Française du Maine: Dr. James Gallea, MD, Emergency Medicine Specialist, and Dr. Lisa Lucas, DO Primary Care Physician.
March is Francophonie Month!
Join the Cultural Services of the French Consulate in Boston throughout March for a series of local French professors' talks on their research related to the French language and Francophone cultures.

We recommend the webinar: The Francophonie in the world today.
March 22nd at 6 pm

Join professor Hanétha Vété-Congolo of Bowdoin College to explore the diverse Francophone world, with its challenges and promises for the 21st century.


AEFE: témoignages d'anciens élèves
Les élèves, anciens élèves, personnels et parents d’élèves du réseau AEFE ont la parole ! À travers leurs expériences et leurs regards, des témoins partagent ce que sont pour eux les forces du réseau AEFE, fort de 540 établissements dans 138 pays et rassemblant plus de 365 000 élèves, et les atouts du système éducatif français, qui participent au rayonnement de la France à l’étranger.
Students, alumni, staff, and parents of students of the AEFE network have their say! Through their experiences and views, witnesses share the AEFE network's strengths, with 540 schools in 138 countries and more than 365,000 students. The French education system's assets, which contribute to France's influence abroad, are for them. Video has English subtitles.
School Calendar 2021-2022- UPDATED
We previously included an error in the schedule of February Vacation 2022 in the shared planned calendar for the next school year. Please download the corrected version here and our apologies for any confusion! February Vacation will be on February 21-25th, 2022.
Bilingual Summer Camp
Some forward-thinking parents have recently inquired about this summer's camp plans at L'Ecole. We are so excited to say that we are planning on hosting summer camp again this year!

Starting up on June 7th (one full week off after this year's last day of school) and going through until August 13th (with one week before next year's first day), families are welcome to enroll by the weeks of their choosing.

Please read more via the school's webpage for details and enrollment forms while planning your 2021 summer.
Updates from the Classrooms
It's been the week of the "chenille" in the PS room! Caterpillar art, stories, games, and more. And although it's cold outside, we can still have fun physical activity with obstacle courses inside too!
MS and GS students continue to build their alphabet readiness for GS and CP next year.
Le Printemps may not yet be in the air, but it certainly is on our artwork! Check out artsonia for some hopeful creations of warmer days ahead.
Elodie's CE1 class has been hard at work practicing their multiplication lately.
CE2, CM1, and CM2 students have done lots of experiments this past semester. This was a fun test of how far a structure could fly in the wind. Bravo les Grands!
7 Hidden Benefits of Being Bilingual
Unless you were raised to be bilingual, speaking two languages can require years of study and hard work. Even once you’ve acquired a second language, it’s a case of use it or lose it. If you don’t regularly speak, read in, or listen to that second language, you’ll start to lose your fluency. However, all that hard work does pay off and there are many advantages to speaking a second language.
Read on to discover eight benefits of being bilingual.
 
1. The cognitive benefits are enormous
Research has shown that speaking a second language increases the activity in the frontal lobes of your brain, starting from a very early age. A study from the University of Washington measured the brain activity of toddlers exposed to two languages from birth.
The researchers found more activity in bilingual toddlers than their monolingual peers. However, if you weren’t taught two languages as a child, don’t worry! As adults, learning a second language improves your memory and multitasking abilities as well as your attention span and focus.
 
2. You adapt easily to different situations
As a bilingual person, you’ll be used to switching between different languages depending on context. Maybe you speak one language at work and another at home, or one language with your family and another with your friends. This linguistic flexibility helps your brain to adapt easily to change, meaning that new or unfamiliar situations – even ones that have nothing to do with language – don’t feel as challenging as they otherwise might.
 
3. You’ll be in the majority
Around the world, more than half of the world’s population – some estimates say 60% – 70% – speak more than one language. Moreover, there are many countries that have more than one official language, such as Canada, Ireland, Belgium, Switzerland, and South Africa. Even countries that are officially monolingual – like Spain – have more than one official language in regions of the country.
 
4. You’re protecting your brain against ageing
Studies of people with Alzheimers have confirmed that speaking a second language slows the onset of age-related brain disease. The extra work of learning a second language makes your brain stronger, for longer. The onset of Alzheimers in bilingual people was delayed by an average of five years. And good news – this cognitive protection works at any age, meaning that even if you don’t speak a second language, you can start language classes tomorrow and still reap the benefits!
 
5. Travelling will be easier for you
If your first or second language is one of the big world languages – especially English – then no matter where you go in the world, it is likely that you’ll be able to communicate.This will make travelling a lot easier for you! When you can communicate through a common language with the people around you, you’ll have a much more authentic experience than someone who is unable to speak to the local people.
 
6. You’ll learn another language more quickly
Once you’ve mastered the grammatical complexities of not one but two languages, learning a third language is easier for you. A study from 2011 found that when it came to learning English, bilingual students outperformed monolingual students by 13% on their test results. It seems that speaking a second language improves the learning process of a third language.
 
7.You’ll gain a new perspective on the world
Ludwig Witterstein, an Austrian philosopher who himself spoke three languages, once said, “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.” Speaking a second language gives you access to cultures, experiences and traditions that you wouldn’t have without speaking that language. Bilingualism definitely broadens your horizons and gives you a new perspective on other cultures.

2019 Article published by the Oxford House Language School in Barcelona, Spain.
Window to the past ... just for fun
October 2013, L'Ecole Française du Maine students are ready for a bike trip at Wolfe Neck's Farm!