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Local Mom Opening French Language Afterschool Program in Long Island City

By Jeanmarie Evelly | September 14, 2015 1:41pm | Updated on September 14, 2015 6:06pm
 A local mom and language teacher is launching French afterschool classes this month in Long Island City.
A local mom and language teacher is launching French afterschool classes this month in Long Island City.
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LONG ISLAND CITY — Good news for the neighborhood's young Francophiles. 

A local mom and language teacher is launching French afterschool classes this month, answering calls from other parents in the area who've been campaigning to get a French dual language program opened in their district schools in recent years.

Madelia Bergeroo-Igoshin, a certified language teacher and mother to a 3-year-old son, will be hosting weekly afterschool classes at the Queens Paideia School, an independent K-12 school in Court Square, starting Sept. 28. The program will be open to any children ages 5 through 10, not just students of the school, she said.

She and another teacher and mom started a French "Mommy and Me" class in Astoria last year called La Caravane FrancoFun, and decided to expand with an afterschool program in Long Island City this fall after getting requests from local parents.

"I have many friends who are raising their kids multilingual and I am always amazed by their capability to easily switch from one language to another," Bergeroo-Igoshin, who lives in Astoria and also speaks Russian and Spanish, said an email.

"Because we [live] in a global and interconnected world, learning languages helps children to value and respect people from other cultures and countries," she continued. "I think multilingualism is a wonderful gift to pass on to our children."

Bergeroo-Igoshin is one of a group of parents in western Queens who have been trying, so far unsuccessfully, to get the Department of Education to open a French dual language program in District 30.

Of the nine French language programs that the DOE is offering this school year, none are located in Queens, according to the agency's website.

Seven of the schools are in Brooklyn — where such programs have been drawing more French-speaking families to neighborhoods like Greenpoint and Carroll Gardens — and another two are in Manhattan.

According to the DOE, dual language programs are created based on demand from parents, the English Language Learner population and feedback from the community and school administrators.

A spokeswoman said the city opened 40 new and expanded dual language programs this school year, and said the agency "will continue to increase opportunities for schools to open dual language programs."

"As a former English Language Learner, Chancellor Fariña understands the many benefits of being multilingual," the spokeswoman said.

Bergeroo-Igoshin's new afterschool program will offer one class on Mondays for those who already speak French and a second that will take place on Thursdays for children who are just learning the language.

Classes will run 90 minutes long, and will help children learn and practice French through games, songs, stories, arts and crafts and other activities, according to the program's website.

The program runs for 11 weeks, and costs $275. La Caravane FrancoFun is also planning to introduce alternative pre-school classes in October.