FLAM - Français Langue Maternelle

FLAM – Français langue Maternelle, is the marquee for 20 US-based not-for-profits based in 55 towns throughout the USA and dedicated to the after-school teaching of French for 3,500 French-speaking children from pre-k to high school.

Under the aegis of a US-based Fédération created in 2017, these "Saturday schools" are located in or near 16 major urban centers. In addition to French language and other subjects in French, some offer cultural activities, French summercamps, and sports events.

FLAMs are typically organized by a director and a curriculum coordinator, a team of teachers and assistants, and operate on tight budgets to stay affordable.

Acting as a complement to other French or francophile networks in the United States, such as Lycées français, Alliances françaises, bilingual schools, etc., FLAMs play a valuable role in helping French-speaking children of all ages prepare for international exams and, one day, study in a fully francophone program.

In addition to income from classes and activities, FLAMs can apply each year to subsidies from France’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. These subsidies are channeled either through the AEFE, France’s agency for French education abroad (if the focus is on startup costs, network projects, special projects), or through French Consulates in the US (if the focus is on support to local French communities)

The advent of the pandemic has dealt a blow to many FLAMs this year: registration numbers have dropped, while expenses have soared to comply with stringent sanitary protocols and distance-learning demand.

Through the AEFE, and in addition to the regular yearly subsidies’ cycle completed last spring, nearly $100.000 in emergency AEFE subsidies were granted this Fall to help a total of 10 US-based FLAMs serving 1,000 students.

Simultaneously, French consulates opened their 2021 application process for subsidies focusing on support to local French communities, to which three FLAMs have already applied.