Language Immersion

Hello! Bonjour! Hallo! 你好 iHola!

Language immersion is more than learning another language. FAIS uses language as a lens to help students understand other cultures, think with a global perspective, and navigate the broader world around us.

As the longest-established language immersion school in Portland, FAIS builds this foundation early in the Lower School and expands upon it in the Middle School… developing global citizens with core values to help create a better and more peaceful world.


Long-term Benefits of Language Immersion

Beyond the academic benefits, language immersion also enhances a number of cognitive, creative, and social abilities… from focus, critical thinking, and problem solving to open-mindedness, empathy, and interpersonal skills.

Cognitive and intellectual development

Students enrolled in immersion programs have enhanced listening and study skills, and demonstrate academic achievement with higher scores in reading and verbal tests as well as in other subjects such as math and science.


Students in immersion environments speak their second language as naturally as their first. Results from research show that these children not only learn the second language, but also their own language with clarity, and that they excel on both foreign-language and native-language standardized tests.

Cultural growth

Students in immersion programs establish a keen understanding of the world around them. They are exposed to a global world view in which they develop an expanded vision of other cultures, insights into their own, and new and different ways of thinking.

Enhanced personal opportunities

Bilingualism helps children build self-esteem, creativity, problem-solving skills and math ability, and gives them a head start for professional and economic opportunities.


How Language Immersion Works at FAIS

Lower School (TPS - 5th Grade)

  • French immersion
  • Fully accredited by the French Ministry of Education
  • Certified, native-speaking teachers
  • English integrated from preschool, and gradually expanded from 2nd-5th grade following English Language Arts Standards for the State of Oregon

Middle School (6th - 8th Grade)

  • Four immersion tracks for students with high-level second language experience:
    • French
    • German
    • Mandarin Chinese
    • Spanish
  • English-focused track for students without prior second-language experience (International Track)
  • All students begin a new language (immersion track students begin a third language)
  • Certified, native-speaking teachers
  • English instruction for all students in:
    • English language arts
    • Science
    • Art
    • Music
    • Physical education

What the Research Says

Immersion programs maximize a child’s natural curiosity, ability to learn another language, and appreciation of other cultures and points of view. Research on child development shows this window of opportunity is highest between birth and age 6, so the earlier the better! Want to know more? Please see below for a collection of articles on the benefits of language immersion and bilingualism.


Questions? Want to learn more?

Finding the right school for your child is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make.

Whether you’re beginning your journey with preschool, prekindergarten, or kindergarten…or weighing your options for middle school… let’s explore how your child would flourish in our community.