Following the success of the pilot French program “Le Soleil” in two schools of Augusta in early 2011, the French Heritage Language Program has allied its forces with the University of Maine at Augusta, the Franco American Heritage Center in Lewiston and the Quebec-based Centre de la Francophonie des Amériques to launch an innovative French heritage program in three schools of Augusta and Auburn. The program opened last January in two elementary schools in Augusta and one elementary school in Auburn (Lewiston area). A fourth school will join the program in Fall 2012.
The “Maine French Heritage Language Program” is based on a curriculum specifically designed to meet the needs of the Franco-American community in the state of Maine, where an estimated 30% of the population is of Franco-American heritage. The program strives to bridge the gap between generations, offering the younger age group the possibility to access, maintain and transmit their cultural and linguistic heritage. It is open to every child and also aims to promote the diversity of French and francophone cultures. At a time when the demand for French instruction is high, the program hopes that its efforts will serve as a model for other cities in Maine and New England.