St. John Valley

French pre-K reopens after three-year pandemic hiatus

FRENCHVILLE, Maine — Smiling faces, anxious faces, excited faces and even a few leery faces greeted teacher Aline Dupont and teacher assistant Priscilla Cannan on Oct. 12, the first day of Ma Petite Ecole at the St. John Valley Tech Center in Frenchville.

After a forced hiatus of three years due to the pandemic and a fire that destroyed the Dr. Levesque School, Le Club Français’s French-language pre-Kindergarten was back in session.

French Programs Director Sharon Boucher said she is excited about the resumption of classes. 

“I’ve only been the director for a few months but they have been very hectic months. But thanks to the interim director Nancy Dionne-Lavertu, our combined efforts are very well rewarded by the looks on the faces of the children,” Boucher said.

A project of Le Club Français’s Education Committee, the French pre-K had been in operation at the Levesque School in Frenchville for about a decade. When the fire struck, followed by the pandemic, it forced the education committee to find another location for the class.

A temporary location was found at the Frenchville Tech Center. However, a search is already on to find a location for the 2023-2024 school year. The classroom at the Tech Center will be occupied by an English-language kindergarten next September.

Le Club Français President Jim Lavertu said the group was fortunate to find a home for this school year and he is confident a location will be found for next year. 

“The goal is to find a permanent home for pre-K and, hopefully, even a French kindergarten in a few years,” he said.

Don Levesque, chairman of the education committee, said a more modest goal is to have a French pre-K group in the morning and another in the afternoon. 

“We have found that 10 to 12 students in each session is pretty much the maximum. Of course, if there is a greater demand, then we’ll move heaven and earth to make room for more children,” Levesque said.

For information, contact Boucher at mapetiteecoleacadie@gmail.com or leave a message at 299-4551.

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