Canadian International School French-Language Bilingual Education

2 minute read

What makes learning a language, especially French, successful? Canadian International School (CIS) Deputy Principal of Primary, DR XIOMARA CRUZ, shares her expert perspective on the school’s French-English bilingual education program.

What sets your bilingual French-English program apart?

Speaking a language without understanding its cultural context has very little value in the real world. CIS integrates cultural aspects into learning, so students can communicate from a place of understanding, not just saying or repeating words.

Just recently, our Grade 6 students celebrated International Point Day by learning about the spirit of kindness and French art history, including the technique of pointillism, before describing the composition and colors of a related artwork in French.

Students also celebrate and learn from all French-speaking countries, so that they understand how French unites many cultures around the world and develops a global mindset. During the Semaine de la Francophonie, for example, the students create exhibitions to share about the arts, music and dance of various French-speaking countries such as Senegal and Belgium.

The bilingual education program involves inquiry-based learning; what does it look like in the classroom?

Teachers at Canadian international schools create meaningful learning experiences to help students connect and understand the French language. Our inquiry-based courses take place in authentic settings, where they can use language in a real-life context, such as immersive hands-on activities like quizzes, plays and cooking.

For example, one lesson at our learning kitchen saw students read recipe instructions in French, while communicating in the language. When we celebrated Candlemas (February 2), they discovered French culture through cooking by making French crêpes.

What should parents look for when choosing a bilingual education program?

Think about how the program will holistically develop your child and what experiences the school can provide. At CIS, our fantastic group of educators work together to create an academically rigorous program that makes language learning easy. Using research-based best practices, our highly qualified teachers and language experts plan and deliver a well-rounded program that is both engaging and academically rigorous.

CIS students during French class

Why do you think parents should consider CIS Bilingual Education Program for their child?

Learning a second language benefits a child in many ways, from cognitive to academic. As an IB school, bilingual students at the Canadian International School experience a true international education that develops their French and English language skills, and also promotes their emotional academic and social development.

What inspired your passion for bilingual education?

I’m from Puerto Rico and grew up speaking Spanish while learning English at the same time. From there, I became interested in how children learn languages.

To date, I have 15 years of teaching experience. During this time, I have consulted for bilingual schools in South America and Hong Kong, and run bilingual programs in Spanish, Chinese and now French.

You are invited to the French Carnival of the Canadian International School on November 23!

The CIS French-English bilingual program is the only one in Singapore fully aligned with the IB primary curriculum. It is designed to help students become bilingual, biliterate and bicultural citizens of the world. At the French Carnival, experts will share the school’s unique approach which sees children become fluent communicators in both languages. There will be French-inspired activities such as cheese tastings, meals in a French cafe run by CIS students, and the chance to build your own miniature Eiffel Tower. From 9am. Register at

Canadian International School

  • 7 Jurong West Street 41 | 6467 1732
  • 371 Tanjong Katong Road | 6345 1573

This article first appeared in the November 2022 edition of Expat Living. You can buy the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy! Also discover our expatriates guide to Singapore neighborhoods and guide to international schools reviewed by parents.

Patricea Chow

Having lived 10 years abroad, Patricea rediscovered Singapore through fun events, street photography and museum visits. She also enjoys reading, education, spending time with her family and children, and wheelchair travel.