Welcome to A La Vanille

"A La Vanille" is a French Immersion preschool that has proudly served the San Francisco Bay Area for the past 22 years. The philosophy is simple: Children acquire French naturally through total immersion in a small preschool setting. The environment is culturally rich, yet balanced with a fun and stimulating curriculum. This is a non-academic approach to absorbing language as it leans on the natural process of learning through osmosis. Children participate in games, music time, art and tactile projects. There is also daily music time and interactive verbal games, all with a "no pressure" atmosphere. Children are not required or demanded to respond in any language. They are surrounded by French naturally, and their brains do the work of laying down the pathway to bi- or multilingualism. Parents are encouraged to ask their enrolled children what they did in preschool today as opposed to asking what they learned in French.

"A La Vanille" enrolls children of any language or cultural background and we are proud of our diverse family. A percentage of our students are French speaking, some are being introduced to the language for the first time and there are many in between. We are happy to serve as a feeder school for the Bay Area private French schools.

Our Teachers

  • Assistant preschool teachers are mother-tongue French speakers.
  • Teachers are educated in ECE and/or Child Psychology/Child Development.
  • All teachers are CPR-trained, FBI background checked, finger-printed and TB cleared.
  • Our curriculum is a result of DAP* training and ten years experience with continual development (* Developmentally Appropriate Practice as described The National Association for the Development of Young Children (birth to age 8)).
  • Our teachers truly enjoy interacting with children and seeing them progress through milestones.
  • We provide official student evaluations to satisfy application requirements for children moving forward.

Our Space

  • Our space has recently expanded so that we have an extra play room and a special "atelier" for working on art and tactile projects in small groups.
  • Indoor areas receive loads of natural sunlight and is freshly painted every year.
  • Play areas are uncluttered and toy bins are clearly identified making clean-up easy for children.
  • Books, board games and posters are brought from France. We buy new books every year.
  • Floors and furnishings are cleaned and disinfected daily.
  • The bathroom has both regular-sized and a toddler-sized toilets and sinks.
  • Each child has a mat and blanket for naptime and children nap in a nicely darkened room. Non-sleepers spend quiet time in a separate room.
  • The outside play area is fully fenced in on all sides.
  • Outdoors children can play on the slide and wooden swing set, drive toy cars and toddler bikes and chase soap bubbles across the lawn.
  • In March of each year, children work the earth and plant a vegetable garden.
  • Children are allowed to play in the dirt, tumble on the grass and explore the outside.
  • On sunny days lunch is often served outdoors on our preschool-sized picnic tables complete with parasols.
  • Smoke-free, pet-free environment.

Our Routine

Things children do regularly at preschool to learn good manners and social development:

  • Stand in a single file line to go outside or back inside.
  • Learn to take turns to wash hands or be served lunch.
  • Wash hands correctly several times throughout the day.
  • Learn to cough into elbow, not in the palm of hand.
  • Take turns handing out the cups for snack and lunch.
  • Bring their own plate and cup back to the table after eating.
  • Stay seated and listen during circle time and story time.
  • Children, not teachers, put away all the toys after play, prompted by our clean-up song.
  • Sing along and participate in music time and class activities.
  • Say "Bon Appétit" before eating. "Merci" and "S'il te plait" when appropriate.
  • French immersion exists so that children acquire it naturally but they are never forced or coerced to speak.