à petits pas Excellence (Pre-K / Ages 2½-5)

Location: In Person at FIAF Montclair
Level: All Levels
Fall Sep 6–Dec 16 • Winter Jan 2–Mar 31 • Spring Apr 3–Jun 23

Pick two or more days to save!
Mon / Tue / Wed / Thu / Fri
Half-Day: 8:30am-11:30am [Two Spots Available, Full Time Only (5 days)]
Full-Day: 9:30am-2:30pm [Full]

Choose any combination of days.
Extended childcare available 7:30-8:30am and 2:30pm-6:30pm.

Toddlers learn, explore, and play en français in an immersive program that meets multiple days a week with choice of half-day or full-day schedule!

Classes are held in person at FIAF Montclair’s spacious new location. FIAF is implementing a comprehensive plan that will strictly follow government recommendations and rules for COVID-19. View the safety plan below after the program description.

à petits pas Excellence, specially crafted for children ages 2½-5 with or without previous exposure to French, provides your child with all the proven benefits of bilingualism, while preparing her/him with skills and tools for Kindergarten.

Classes are built around a structured curriculum consisting of a variety of age-appropriate and themed individual projects and group activities. This provides flexibility to match each child’s pace and style of learning, and free movement in the classroom. Curriculum focus includes: Language learning; Broadening knowledge of the world through exploration, experimentation, and conversation; Exposure to art; Motor skills development through movement, games, crafts, and more; and Social/emotional development, and strengthening socialization skills.

This joyful introduction to French language and culture is a great addition to a part-time preschool program or an alternative to a regular preschool program.

  • Step 1 — Pre-registration

    Pre-register by July 1 with a $150* fee to secure your child’s spot in the fall session.

    Classes are set up per day of week. Discount is automatically applied when you pick two or more days per week and create a preferred schedule for your child.

    *Includes a non-refundable $50 annual registration fee and a $100 deposit deductible from the fall tuition. If you withdraw from the program after the withdrawal deadline of August 1, or if you fail to pay the first month tuition for fall by August 1, then the full deposit will be forfeited.

  • Step 2 — Enrollment Contract

    The Enrollment Contract allows you to choose your tuition payment plan and provide additional information about your schedule preferences.

    The program is full for the 2022-2023 school year. You will be added on the waiting list.

    Complete Enrollment Contract (pdf)

  • Step 3 — Tuition Payments

    Tuition for the first month of the fall session is due by August 1.

    Subsequent tuition payments are due per the payment plan you select on the Enrollment Contract.

    Amounts below include special savings for multi-day registration.
    Save 5% when you pay the full three-term fee in one payment.
    Save an additional 5% when you enroll siblings.

    Half-day program
    1 day per week: $275 per month
    2 days per week: $505 per month
    3 days per week: $685 per month
    4 days per week: $835 per month
    5 days per week: $945 per month

    Full-day program
    1 day per week: $465 per month
    2 days per week: $840 per month
    3 days per week: $1,150 per month
    4 days per week: $1,405 per month
    5 days per week: $1,575 per month

    Extended childcare:
    $12/hour (3 children minimum)
    $20/hour (less than 3 children)

  • Safety First: COVID-19 Plan

    FIAF will strictly follow government recommendations and rules for COVID-19.

    Our comprehensive safety plan includes:

    • Small in-person classes with maximum 5 to 10 children per group. Children will stay with the same teacher all day and will not mix with other groups.
    • Each child’s belongings are separately kept in individually labeled storage areas.
    • School materials (i.e. scissors, glue sticks, play dough, markers, play dough, markers, etc.) will be disinfected daily. All shared objects will be disinfected between each use.
    • Regular hand-washing will be mandatory.
    • FIAF will follow cleaning and disinfection guidelines throughout the day.
    • Face coverings will be worn by staff and recommended for children over 2 years old.
    • Daily temperature screenings will be conducted.

    In case of closure due to the COVID-19, FIAF will move the program online without interruption.

  • Program is led by Isabelle West

    Prior to joining FIAF Montclair, Isabelle West worked for 11 years in a French immersion school in New Jersey, primarily in pre-school but also tutoring children between the ages of 6 and 16. Nurse by trade, Mrs. West also worked as a pediatric nurse in France and in Switzerland before coming to America where she has worked as a registered nurse and then as a teacher. Her interests include art, travel, cooking, and baking. Her passion is to integrate these activities into the classroom as a vehicle to encourage student creativity and spark a joy of learning. Isabelle was born, raised, and educated in the North of France. She has lived in Manhattan and Northern New Jersey, where she raised one child with her husband.

  • Teacher Assistant: Manon Sancho

    Manon is an Art Teacher with a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts from the National School of Fine Arts of Montpellier, France. She has more than 10 years of experience supervising kids as an Assistant Art Teacher in France and the U.S. She has a passion for vintage objects, exploring nature, baking, and children’s book illustrations. She believes in creating a positive, happy environment for children, one in which they feel protected and can thrive. Manon joined the FIAF Montclair team in September 2020 as Assistant and Art Teacher in our à petits pas Excellence program.

  • Read Testimonials

    We are simply thrilled with our daughter’s experience and development at FIAF. We feel very lucky that we found this program and teacher. The thoughtfulness of the lessons, care for the kids, and professionalism are truly remarkable. Our daughter started when she was 2.5 years old, and has continued this spring with online classes that are very well geared toward young kids. We recommend wholeheartedly.
    Inna B.

    Our son had been attending à petits pas Excellence program for 6 months when lockdown started. The FIAF Montclair team stepped into action very quickly to offer online classes, a true saving grace for parents & children facing so much disruption. Not only did our son keep learning French in a warm environment but the social interactions gave a sense of normality during the lockdown.
    Violette de B.

    Every time my son comes back from FIAF, he’s happy! My son is Franco-American. I always spoke to him exclusively in French at home. At 3 years old, he was doing fine, but he wasn’t quite as comfortable in French as I would have hoped. He started going to FIAF, and within a month his level skyrocketed. A year later, he refuses to speak English with me (the French parent).
    Matthieu S.

    My oldest daughter started attending FIAF since she was 2.5 years old.  She started at this school not knowing how to speak French and now she is speaking fluently, can sing a whole song and her vocabulary is increasing everyday. We are amazed! She also acquired all the skills to be kindergarten ready. Madame Guitty is very nurturing and does a great job of tailoring her teaching to the individual child. All the teachers are attentive, loving and knowledgeable. We also enrolled our second child. My girls absolutely love going to school there and we love how much they are learning. The classes are kept small with each child getting individual attention as well as the right amount of socialization.
    Valerie U.

    We are thrilled with the FIAF preschool program! I particularly enjoyed the online format in the spring. Being able to participate in the activities with my son, Robert, was a great bonding experience. He is now speaking some French at home and showing interest in reading the French books we have. I even notice my French improving! Guitty and Marie-Catherine did an amazing job adapting the school to Zoom, and we look forward to continuing in the fall!
    Stephanie L.

    We joined FIAF Montclair after reading a magazine article about the unique abilities of a child’s brain to learn a foreign language. FIAF was our choice because it is an immersion program – our wonderful teacher and all the staff are native French speakers. After the school moved to Zoom due to the pandemic, we had a chance to observe the program and really appreciate all the effort to produce quality lessons appropriate for the children’s age and individual abilities. One of our favorite parts of their education is French cooking! My husband and I grew up in families where children were told stay out of the kitchen, and only from the French class did we realize how important it is to include children in meal preparation. Every week we were given easy recipes to prepare and share results with classmates. Our teacher encouraged children to try every new vegetable they were learning. I think French people have a very healthy relationship with food, and it starts with exposing children to different kinds of food and cooking at a young age. In FIAF your child does not just learn French language, but also some key aspects of French culture. If living in a French speaking country is not an option – sending your child to FIAF Monclair is as close as you can get!
    Irina and David G.

Note About Class Formats: à petits pas Toddler and French for Benjamins courses are held entirely in person at FIAF or entirely online on Zoom. All other courses for children ages 7 and older are HyFlex with online and in-person students attending the same class via 360° cameras in the classroom.

Classroom Guidelines (as of 9/7/2022): Masks are optional and proof of Covid-19 vaccination is no longer requried to attend a class or event at any FIAF location. Read more.