à petits pas Excellence (ages 2½-5)

Format: In Person
Level: All Levels
Fall 2020: Tue, Sep 8–Fri, Dec 18

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!

In-person classes will resume this fall. 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.

2020–2021 Calendar
Fall: Tue, Sep 8–Fri, Dec 18
Winter: Mon, Jan 4–Thu, Apr 1
Spring: Mon, Apr 12–Fri, Jun 25

Schedule
Mon / Tue / Wed / Thu / Fri
Half-Day: 8:30am-11:30am
Full-Day: 9:30am-2:30pm

Choice of any combination of days per week. Minimum two days per week required. Special savings when you select three or more days per week!

Extended childcare available before school from 7:30am and after school until 6:30pm.

Calendar is subject to change.

  • 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. View photos here of the online program offered this spring.

  • Step 1 — Pre-register by July 31

    Choose the preferred schedule for your child and reserve a spot for the fall session with a $150* fee.

    Classes are set up per day of week. You must pick a minimum of two days per week. Discount is automatically applied when you pick three or more days per week.

    Pre-register Online Now

    *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 — Submit Enrollment Contract by July 31

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

    Download, complete and return:

    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.

    Half-day program
    2 days per week schedule: $480 per month
    3 days per week schedule: $654 per month
    4 days per week schedule: $795 per month
    5 days per week schedule: $900 per month

    Full-day program
    2 days per week schedule: $800 per month
    3 days per week schedule: $1,095 per month
    4 days per week schedule: $1,340 per month
    5 days per week schedule: $1,500 per month

    Includes special savings for multi-day registration. Additional 5% sibling discount available.

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

  • Program is led by Guitty Roustai

    Ms. Roustai has taught children of diverse ages for more than two decades. She launched FIAF’s à petits pas program for toddlers in 2006 and helped found the FIAF Manhattan Preschool in 2012. She served as the deputy director at the French American Academy of Jersey City. She has worked as a French teacher at several prestigious schools in New York, including the Dalton School, Fleming, Calhoun, and Lyceum Kennedy, and founded a language school for children. Ms. Roustai trained as a teacher in Paris, where she was certified in teaching French as a foreign language to adults and children. She was born in France and grew up in a bilingual home in Iran.

  • 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.

  • List of Holidays

    No class: Mon, Sep 7 (Labor Day); Mon, Sep 28 (Yom Kippur); Tue, Nov 3 (Election Day); Mon-Fri, Nov 23–27 (Thanksgiving Break); Mon, Dec 21–Fri, Jan 1 (Winter Break); Mon, Jan 18 (Martin Luther King Jr. Day); Mon, Feb 15, (President’s Day); Fri, Apr 2–Fri, Apr 9 (Spring Break); Fri, May 28–Mon, May 31 (Memorial Day weekend)

  • Read Safety Guidelines

    FIAF will strictly follow guidelines recommended by the CDC and public health authorities regarding COVID-19. All people over the age of 2 are required to wear a face mask and maintain social distancing at all times. Health checks will be administered upon entering FIAF and a more frequent building-wide cleaning schedule has been implemented.