As a basis for the French curriculum, Maple Street uses the Accelerative Integrated Methodology (AIM). AIM employs a combination of pared-down vocabulary, gestures to represent words, and lively plays and songs in order to engage students and foster their enthusiastic partnership in the language-learning process. Classes are conducted primarily in French, and students are expected to participate actively.
Grammar is embedded in the lessons, but it is not explicitly taught until the upper levels. For example, in the earliest years, students learn that some words sound differently when used for girls versus boys, but students will not hear or use the explicit grammatical term “adjective agreement according to gender” until much later. Similarly, younger students do not learn the conventional verb conjugation charts you may remember from your own high school language classes.
In the seventh and eighth grades, students are introduced to conjugation charts and other more traditional forms of organizing grammar in preparation for high school. Commonly, our older students find this approach to grammar easy to learn, since in essence they know it already, having been exposed to it implicitly since the early years.