Looking to take advantage of the growing interest in French dual-language programs (DLP), the first Bilingual Education Fair of New York is set to be held October 11 at New York City’s Hunter College.
Organized by Emmanuel Saint-Martin of French Morning, a magazine geared towards French speakers, the fair has the dual goals of showing off French books to New Yorkers as well as providing a venue where parents can get more information about DLP programs in the New York area. Of the more than 60 exhibitors planning to participate, 20 will be children’s book publishers from Quebec who will be displaying 250 French-language titles under the Québec Édition banner. Also on hand will be the newly opened L’Albertine, the new French bookstore that opened its doors on 5th Avenue last month.
The fair was inspired by the increased number of children who are now enrolled in French DLP schools in New York. Begun in 2007 which one teacher and 24 students in Brooklyn, approximately 1,300 students enrolled in DLP programs for this school year. According to the originator of the project and its main advocate, Fabrice Jaumont, the French embassy educational attaché, the demand for a bilingual education is outstripping the supply. He has set his sights on raising $2.8 million in order to offer a DLP education to 7,000 students in the next five years.
Saint Martin hopes to attract this network of DLP parents, teachers and school administrators to the fair. “In the past, parents could only choose from a classic French education or an All-American monolingual school”, Saint-Martin notes. “The offer is much broader now. In the New York area there are now more than 40 schools offering some kind of French education, and other languages have followed the same trend.”