Madame Séverine Nigey
French Teacher, Grades K-8 and Mandarin Teacher, Grades K-1
Education: B.A., Business with a focus on International Business and Marketing, and B.A., French, with a Minor in Coaching, Baker University; Masters of Education, University of Bridgeport; Certified in Elementary Education, French, and Business.
What brought you to Greenwich Catholic School?
I was born in France and lived there until my family moved to Colorado when I was 12. I attended college in Kansas, and then lived in France for two years. I always knew I would come back to the US to teach elementary school, and when I was given the opportunity to teach French at GCS three years ago, I knew it was a perfect fit. As the only French teacher at GCS, I enjoy seeing the progress of my students from year-to-year.
How do your younger students benefit from learning French?
In PK-3 through 1st Grade, the children are given exposure to French, Mandarin and Spanish throughout the year. In Grades 2-5, students are taught both French and Spanish, with a half-year of each language. My French lessons focus on basic language skills and vocabulary, including greetings, songs, colors, parts of the body, foods, prayers, and numbers. As they prepare for the Upper School, our 5th Graders learn more vocabulary in each subject and recently wrote and performed their own skits. We are getting them ready for the Middle School language program.
How does French class change once students are in the Upper School?
At the end of 5th Grade, students are asked to choose what language they’d like to study in the Upper School - French or Spanish. All of the Upper School language courses start with the basics and build to prepare them for continuing their language studies in high school. In French, we start with greetings, vocabulary, and word recognition, and progress to writing and grammar. While some students have been exposed to French in their homes or elsewhere, the French curriculum includes study of culture, regions, dialects in addition to basic skills, so there are opportunities for students at every level to be engaged and to learn.
What are some interesting projects in your Upper School classes?
In 6th Grade, we focus on the various regions of France, and students complete a research project to present to the class, and we sample some cuisine from the different regions. In the 7th Grade, students learn about “French Around the World,” and students work on a project about fashion throughout French-speaking countries. My 8th Graders focus on architecture, art, and music from French-speaking countries. We also have a field trip to a local French restaurant in 8th grade. This year, my students and I had a typical French lunch at Bistro Versailles in Greenwich. All students also learn grammar, reading, listening, and writing skills as they prepare for the rigors of high school French classes. Recently, nine of my students in 7th and 8th Grade ranked in the top 10 nationally in their division they competed in Le Grand Concours, a national competition sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of French. This year, we also inducted 7 new members to the French Junior Honor Society.
What are your interests outside of school?
My family keeps me very busy! My husband is a proud member of the FDNY, and my two children are students at GCS. My children both play soccer, swim, and study Taekwondo: Hunter is a 2nd degree Black Belt and is working toward her next level, and James is about to graduate into his next belt program. When I have free time, I like to read (in both English and French!), listen to music, visit museums, and this summer we plan to travel to Colorado to visit family.