A new French-immersion preschool is opening in downtown Sonoma, under the direction of Boyes Hot Springs resident Amber Smith-Lopata.
Smith-Lopata recently received her final licensing approval and the preschool is accepting applications now.
Le Petit Jardin French Immersion Preschool will welcome students ages 2 to 5 years old. The preschool will operate out of the southernmost building of the First Baptist Church campus at 542 First St. E. Its hours will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 11 months of the year.
Smith-Lopata will offer a traditional play-based preschool environment in French.
“This is a school experience for all backgrounds of children. No previous exposure to French is necessary as children at this age are effortless language learners,” says Smith-Lopata.
Smith-Lopata already operates a Le Petit Jardin Preschool in Marin.
Outside of being a mother of three young boys, her experiences include many years as an au pair, chaperone and board member for the French American Cultural Exchange Program (F.A.C.E.), and primary-grade teacher’s assistant. She holds a bachelor’s degree in French and Francophone Studies from San Diego State University and an Early Childhood Education Administrative Certificate from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Mill Valley. She has her California Early Childhood Education teaching credential, and spends time each year in France with her native French husband and three sons.
“Not only is French one of the most beautiful romantic languages in the world, but the culture surrounding the language, people and traditions of France is something to truly fall in love with,” says Smith-Lopata. “I’m honored to help inspire this love for another culture and language in the little hearts and minds of our students and their families.”
Le Petit Jardin Preschool Easter Open House is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 24 at 542 First Street East. There will be crafts, a photo booth, face painting, and ice cream cart and crepes.